PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. BRAHMAS (GAME #44)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

LONE STAR BRAHMAS

Saturday, February 13 at 7:11 P.M.

Game #44 • NAHL Game #482 • Series: LSB leads 6-2-1
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

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays and Brahmas close out their three-game set at the American Bank Center and five-straight games over the past two weeks.

Head-To-Head: The Brahmas own at least a share of the season series, winning six of nine games with three remaining in the season series. The IceRays are now 3-4-2 this season and 11-10-4 in the franchise series. The IceRays have won nine of 13 games at the American Bank Center despite dropping three of five so far this season.

Last Night: The IceRays and Brahmas went back and forth throughout the game, but the roadside walked away with a 4-3 shootout win. IceRays forward Regen Cavanagh (PP, 7:27 1st) notched the game’s first goal with the man-advantage before Brahmas defenseman Samu Suominen (10:43 1st) tied the game, 1-1, with a shot at the left point. The IceRays opened the scoring in the second with forward Brady Crabtree’s (3:55 2nd) first with his new team, but the Brahmas forced the game even again, 2-2, thanks to defenseman Bud Madej (PP, 14:32 2nd). IceRays defenseman Trevor Heuser (PP, 11:14 3rd) then put the home side up with his first of the year, and Brahmas defenseman Cameron Clarke (15:50 3rd) forced overtime at 3-3. After a scoreless extra period, both sides went back and forth in the shootout, but Brahmas forward Tomas Brejcha sealed the win with a 2-1 shootout decision and 4-3 final score.

Going Late: The IceRays took part in their third extra period with the Brahmas in nine games this year with two at the American Bank Center and only one in a shootout. The Brahmas nudged ahead 2-1 in games finishing after regulation, and the IceRays drop their second-straight shootout dating back to November 14 against Odessa (3-2 SOL). The IceRays have also lost two-straight in games after regulation, both against the Brahmas with the previous on January 16 in North Richland Hills (2-1 OTL). The team’s only shootout win came on October 3 against Amarillo (2-1 SOW).

Stifling & Trifling: Over their recent slip, the IceRays have seen their shot attempts quelled by opponents. Since the start of the 2016 calendar year (14 games), the IceRays have been held south of 30 shots in 10 of 14 games (71.43%) and under 20 shots in six of those contests. The team is averaging just 23.79 shots per game, which rests under the team’s average (27.19 shots) as well as the league-low average set by Kenai River (25.16 shots). In contrast, opponents are averaging 29.64 shots per game in a span the IceRays have gone 6-6-2 as a team.

It’s A Magic Number: Three goals for the IceRays seems to be the lucky number to record wins and points over this season. Despite last night’s shootout loss, the IceRays have earned points in nine of ten games when recording exactly three goals, going 8-1-1 with 17 points earned. Overall, when the IceRays score at least three goals, they are 15-1-1 with the only losses coming with under four goals scored. With that, the IceRays naturally do better holding opponents to two goals or less, going 14-4-3 in those 21 situations. With three goals or more allowed, the IceRays are 4-16-1.

Sweet Relief: With the Brahmas goal in the first period, a 5-on-5 goal was scored for the first time in four games between these two teams. The time span without a full-strength goal lasted 200:50 game minutes, which is the length of just over ten periods. In that time between five-on-five goals, both teams combined for 11 total goals: six on the power play, two shorthanded, one with an empty net, one 4-on-4, and one in overtime (3-on-3). That’s sets an IceRays junior franchise record for minutes without a full-strength goal. In their last six games, both teams have combined for six full-strength goals of the 25 scored (24.00%).

The Big O: With the injury to Corbin Kaczperski, Brahmas netminder Conor O’Brien has been forced to take the reigns in net throughout the entire week in Corpus Christi. The Pinellas Park, FL native has played six games against the IceRays while earning a 3-2-1 record with a 2.39 goals-against average and a .885 save percentage. He’s seen fewer than 25 shots in five of those six games including his abbreviated start on January 15 (5-2 L) with 12 shots through 44:46 minutes. The IceRays are averaging only 20.50 shots per game with the outlier in the team’s first meeting back on November 19 (38 shots). This all comes after two games with the Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) to start the season, going 0-1-1 with a 3.98 goals-against average and a .899 save percentage.

South Division Standings:
Wichita Falls Wildcats (33-9-4, 70 PTS)
Lone Star Brahmas (28-10-7, 63 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (28-17-1, 57 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (18-20-5, 41 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (17-19-4, 38 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (10-29-4, 24 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays begin their final two-game weekend set against at the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Feb. 19 at 7:05 p.m. against the Amarillo Bulls. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) and FASTHockey.com.