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PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. BLIZZARD (GAME #06)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS VS. BROOKINGS BLIZZARD

Friday, September 23 at 1:00 P.M. • Schwan Super Rink #2 • Blaine, MN
Game #6 • NAHL Showcase Game #3 • Video: FASTHockey.com • Twitter: @goicerays

Coverage begins at 12:55 p.m. with Countdown To Faceoff

Today’s Game: The IceRays continue their NAHL Showcase on Day 3 against the Brookings Blizzard from Schwan Super Rink 2.

NAHL Showcase: The IceRays own points in both games played at this year’s showcase, leveling to 1-0-0-1 halfway through. The IceRays have now appeared in 26 NAHL Showcase games over the last six seasons, recording a 12-10-4 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: Forward Brad Power’s hat-trick helped the IceRays to a 4-3 overtime win against the Minnesota Magicians on Thursday morning. IceRays forward Mason Krueger (1:51 1st) began the scoring early to give the IceRays a 1-0 lead followed by the first goal of the day from Power (PP, 13:24 1st) to double the lead, 2-0. The Magicians found their legs in the second and came within one, 2-1, thanks to a takeaway by Nathan Nelsen (15:07 2nd). Magicians forward Nikia Kozyrov (6:11 3rd) evened the scoring, 3-3, early in the final period before Power (10:54 3rd) tacked on his second from a rebound to gain back the 3-2 lead. Magicians forward Tanner Tweten (PP, 13:39 3rd) cashed in on a man-advantage to send the game into overtime tied 3-3. In the final frame, a Krueger turnover led to Power (1:51 OT) scoring his third of the night to grab the win. Tomáš Vomáčka (2-2-1) stopped 35 of 38 in the win, while David Fessenden (1-0-1) turned away 32 of 36 in the overtime loss.

Power Player: IceRays forward Brad Power scored his first NAHL hat-trick and the first three-goal game of the season for the IceRays. The St. John’s, N.F., native becomes the 10th player in IceRays junior franchise history to record a hat-trick, following Jon Grebosky (Feb. 11, 2012), Rusy Sulmonte (Sep. 15, 2012); Emil Romig (Feb. 26, 2013), Martin Hojbjerg (Oct. 29, 2014), Jake Durflinger (Feb. 7, 2014), Anthony Cortese (Sep. 17, 2014), Maksim Dzhioshvili (Jan. 30, 2015), Tanner Lomsnes (Feb. 28, 2015), and former teammate Carter Johnson (Feb. 11, 2016) as the lone three-goal scorers. Four of the last five players to record hat-tricks are Canadian with all five coming from outside of the United States.

OT Magic: The IceRays played their second-straight game in at least overtime and three of their first five games of the season, picking up their second overtime decision in as many chances. The IceRays remain perfect at the NAHL Showcase in games finishing in the extra period, improving to 3-0 in that instance despite holding a 4-4 record in all games after regulation. The IceRays have now won their last two overtime decisions in Blaine, following up last season’s 3-2 overtime win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights on Sep. 24, 2015. The IceRays have played 11 back-to-back games in at least overtime and just twice at the NAHL Showcase.

Despite depth on the blue line, the IceRays have conceded 30+ goals in all five games to start out the 2016-17 season, allowing an average of 34.00 shots per game and 35+ shots in each of their two games at the NAHL Showcase. The IceRays have been outshot in each of the first three periods combined, being outpaced on average 11-9 including 11.20-8.40 in the second period. However, the IceRays have dominated overtime periods in three attempts, outshooting their opponents 16-3 while averaging just over five shots per game including eight in Wednesday’s shootout loss.

Holdin’ Out: The Brookings Blizzard nearly slipped but battled to claim a 3-2 overtime win over the Kenai River Brown Bears on Thursday night. The Blizzard opened up the scoring with two early goals coming from Jake Tesarowski (2:53 1st) and Chase Brand (PP, 6:58 1st) to take a 2-0 lead after the first period, but the Brown Bears chipped their way back in thanks to Evan Butcher (PP, 4:34 2nd) and Chad Lopez (9:31 3rd) to force a 2-2 tie and send the game into overtime. With the help of a power play, Cade Bordchardt (PP, 3:48 OT) sealed the game and the full two points with a 3-2 win. Nick Althaus stopped 34 of 36 shots in the win, while Bailey Seagraves halted 45 of 48 shots in the overtime loss.

Winter Winds: The Brookings Blizzard just made the playoffs last season in fourth place, finishing with a 25-29-6 record despite falling in the Divisional Semifinals to the Bismarck Bobcats. The Blizzard have kept the same mascot name since their inception prior to the 2004-05 season but have changed city names two times, going from “Minnesota” to “Alexandria” (despite being based in Alexandria for both instances) and finally to “Brookings” starting in 2012-13. The Blizzard have made the NAHL Playoffs two times in the last four seasons, finishing as high as third in the Central Division since their first season in Brookings.

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

Next Game: The IceRays close the 2016 NAHL Showcase on Saturday, Sep. 24 at 9:30 a.m. against the Brookings Blizzard from Schwan Super Rink 1. Coverage begins all week long just before the opening faceoff exclusively in high definition on FASTHockey.com.