PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. BRAHMAS (GAME #42)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

LONE STAR BRAHMAS

Thursday, February 11 at 7:11 P.M.

Game #42 • NAHL Game #465 • Series: LSB leads 5-1-1
American Bank Center • Corpus Christi, TX
Radio: SportsJuice.com • Video: FASTHockey.com 
• In-Arena: 87.7FM
Mobile: TuneIn Radio Twitter: @goicerays

Coverage begins at 6:55 p.m. with Countdown To Faceoff

Today’s Game: The IceRays begin a three-game set against the Lone Star Brahmas at the American Bank Center in the final home series against the Brahmas this season.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays have now dropped three-straight games to the Brahmas, falling to 2-4-1 on the season with five games remaining in the season set. With the losses they drop to 10-10-3 in three seasons, however the IceRays have owned the franchise series at the American Bank Center, winning eight of 11 meetings including a 4-3 overtime thriller on Nov. 21, 2015 to open the season set.

Last Game: The IceRays were edged 1-0 in a defensive battle with the Lone Star Brahmas on Saturday night at the NYTEX Sports Centre. Both teams remained perfect through two periods of play despite numerous chances to score the game’s first goal. The squads combined for 30 shots in the first two frames, and nothing stretched across until the final period. Brahmas forward Alex Berardinelli (PP, 2:40 3rd) tapped in a rebound from an initial save along the right side of the net to give the home side a 1-0 lead. Despite pulling the goaltender for the extra skater late in the game, the IceRays could not find the answer. Brahmas netminder Corbin Kaczperski stopped all 16 shots in the win, and IceRays goalie Dryden McKay turned aside 23 of 24 shots in the loss.

Killing Me Softly: The IceRays penalty kill saw no relief last weekend against the Brahmas and struggle to completely shut down opponents. For the first time this season, the IceRays have conceded power play goals in four-straight games against teams with steer logos, going 7-for-13 (53.85%) including a 5-for-8 clip last weekend against Lone Star. This season, the IceRays have conceded seven goals against the Brahmas on the penalty kill with three coming at home (13-for-16, 81.25%) in three games.

Anything But Even: Last weekend’s games against the Brahmas did not see one five-on-five goal through 120 minutes of play. Four goals came on the power play, one was short handed, and one was with an extra attacker. This is the first time in junior franchise history that the IceRays played a weekend without a five-on-five goal conceded by either side. The closest to this came on Feb. 13-14, 2015 against the Amarillo Bulls when 12 of the 15 goals scored came either on special teams or when an extra attacker was on the ice.

#NoWayMcKay: IceRays goaltender Dryden McKay has been red hot since his return from the USHL at the beginning of January. He has given up two or fewer goals in four of his last five games while going three-straight games with under two goals allowed. In those four other games, the 18-year-old owns a 2-1-0 record with a 1.47 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage with lone game excluded being the 6-2 loss against Wichita Falls on January. 9, saving 32 of 38 shots in the contest.

Battle Tested: The IceRays have been battling injuries and suspensions over the last couple weeks and will slowly return to a more complete lineup over the next few weeks. Brad Power (injury) makes his return to the lineup this evening after missing five of the team’s last six games and the majority of the game on Jan. 30 against Amarillo. Drake Lindsay (suspension) will serve the final game of his three-game suspension tonight and return tomorrow. Jimmy O’Brien (injury) returns to the Coastal Bend and will begin his final rehab process to return in the next few weeks. However, Keenan Spillum (injury) is day-to-day and will not play tonight’s game.

Brahama Mama: The Lone Star Brahmas have been one of the hottest teams in the recent stretch, recording points in 10 of their last 12 games while going 8-2-2 in that span and averaging 3.25 goals per game. Their biggest asset has been early goals to get ahead then late goals to solidify wins. They’ve outscored opponents 50-23 in the opening period and also 45-31 in the final frame, and those two periods make up 71.97 percent of their scoring including almost 40 percent just in the opening period. The Brahmas have scored the first goal in six of seven games against the IceRays with the only exception being the first game of the seasons series on November 19.

South Recap: The South Division forecast looks much different following the results of last weekend’s games. The Odessa Jackalopes found a way to sweep the Wichita Falls Wildcats in three games at the Ector County Coliseum, not only forcing the top-three in to tighter constraints but also the race for the fourth and final playoff spot. The Jackalopes are now tied with the Corpus Christi IceRays for fourth place and hold the current tiebreaker by virtue of win percentage with one game in-hand. The sweeps earned by the Lone Star Brahmas and Topeka RoadRunners keep the two sides separated by four points, but now the Brahmas are within seven points of first place after only one point was earned by Wichita Falls in three games. The Amarillo Bulls have two wins in their last 12 games and remain 16 points out of a playoff spot.

South Division Standings:
Wichita Falls Wildcats (32-9-4, 68 PTS)
Lone Star Brahmas (27-9-7, 61 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (28-16-1, 57 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (17-19-4, 38 PTS)

Corpus Christi IceRays (17-20-4, 38 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (9-29-4, 22 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays continue their five-game series against the Lone Star Brahmas with game four on Friday, Feb. 12 at 7:11 p.m. from the American Bank Center. Tickets are available at www.Ticketmaster.com, the American Bank Center Box Office, or by calling the IceRays Front Office at 361-814-PUCK. Coverage begins at 6:55 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, FASTHockey.com, and 87.7FM in-arena.