PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ TITANS (GAME #7)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS @ NEW JERSEY TITANS

Saturday, September 24 at 9:30 A.M. • Schwan Super Rink #1 • Blaine, MN
Game #7 • NAHL Showcase Game #4 • Video: FASTHockey.com • Twitter: @goicerays

Coverage begins at 9:25 p.m. with Countdown To Faceoff

Today’s Game: The IceRays close out the 2016 NAHL Showcase against the New Jersey Titans at Schwan Super Rink 1.

NAHL Showcase: The IceRays lost their first game in regulation of the 2016 NAHL Showcase, dropping to 1-1-1 heading into the final game of the weekend. The IceRays have now appeared in 27 NAHL Showcase games over the last six seasons, recording a 12-11-4 record. Last season, the IceRays earned a 1-3-0 record including a comeback overtime victory against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. The IceRays have never played any of their four opponents prior to this week.

Last Game: The IceRays were held off in the third period, falling 2-1 to the Brookings Blizzard on Friday afternoon. Blizzard forward Paul Cotter (PP, 13:04 1st) opened the scoring up with a 1-0 lead with a shot from the top of the slot before IceRays forward David Thomson (PP, 17:31 1st) evened the scoring, 1-1, with a jam from inside the crease on a 4-on-3 power play. Brookings took back the lead, 2-1, early in the second period when Zach Mitchell (2:26 2nd) snuck a puck past the waiting netminder. Despite outshooting the Blizzard 13-5 in the third period, the IceRays weren’t able to overcome the deficit. John Boyko (1-0-1) stopped 33 of 34 shots in the win, while Tomáš Vomáčka (2-3-1) halted 30 of 32 shots in the loss.

Going Streaking: IceRays forward Cole Gammer is starting to heat up stretching through the NAHL Showcase, picking up an assist in each of his last three games and setting the mark for the longest streak of the season. All three goals have come as primary assists and his last two led directly to power play goals. He sits second on the team in assists only behind Cody Fleckenstein, who owns all five points (goal, 4 assists) on the power play.

Man On Fire: David Thomson continues his tear through the early stages of the season on the power play, tacking on his fourth man-advantage goal in the opening period. The Vaughan, Ont., native maintains his lead atop the NAHL in power play goals and has five of his six points coming with the extra skater. He also has goals in two of his last three games, and all four games he recorded points came with goals. Thomson shares the team lead in power play points with Cody Fleckenstein (1+4=5) and remains one of two players averaging at least one point per game, joining forward Brad Power (4+3=7) through his first six games.

Killing Struck: Following yesterday’s game, the IceRays still maintain their hold of the Top-8 in the NAHL for penalty kill, but after conceding one power play goal on six chances the IceRays have now conceded power play goals in four-straight games and five of their first six contests including opening weekend in Wichita Falls. The IceRays have also gotten into penalty-marred situations, allowing six or more power plays in half of the games thus far. On the other side, the power play now has goals in four of their first six games and each of their last two contests.

Steely Rebound: The New Jersey Titans overpowered the Springfield Jr. Blues in shots, taking down the home side 4-2 on Friday morning. Titans forward Tate MacDonald (0:16 1st) scored the earliest goal of the season to jump out to a swift 1-0 lead followed by forward Greg Malafronte (15:13 1st) later on to double the lead, 2-0. Jr. Blues forward Luke Picek (15:53 1st) answered back to cut the lea in half, 2-1, before intermission. New Jersey and Springfield traded goals for the rest of the game starting with Titans forward Matt Wiesner (7:57 2nd) followed not too long after by forward Brennan Blaszczak (12:07 2nd) then forward Jordan Kaplan (EN, SH, 18:59 3rd) to seal the 4-2 win. Harrison Feenery stopped 27 of 29 shots in the win, while Evan Fear turned away 38 of 41 shots.

Second Go-Around: The New Jersey Titans enter their second season in the NAHL after a dazzling first year, finishing with a 34-22-4 record and second in the newly-formed East Division, just two points behind the Aston Rebels. The IceRays have played the franchise over the last six seasons but as the Soo Eagles in 2012, taking down the former Eagles 4-3 in overtime on the opening day of the NAHL Showcase thanks to three goals in the third period and a Perry D’Arrisso goal just 40 seconds into the extra period. The Titans made a statement at the NAHL Showcase last year, finishing a perfect 4-0-0 including defeating the Robertson Cup Runner-Up, the Wichita Falls Wildcats, 4-3 in a shootout on the final day.

South Division Standings:
Amarillo Bulls (4-2-0-0, 8 PTS)
Wichita Falls Wildcats (3-2-2-0, 8 PTS)
Lone Star Brahmas (3-0-1-0, 7 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (3-1-0-0, 6 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (2-2-0-1, 5 PTS)
Shreveport Mudbugs (2-1-0-0, 4 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (2-4-0-0, 4 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays head back on the road on Thursday, Oct. 6 to begin a three-game, three-day set against the Topeka RoadRunners at 6:05 p.m. from Landon Arena in Topeka, Kan. Coverage begins at 5:50 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) & FASTHockey.com