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PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. BULLS (GAME #23)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS VS. AMARILLO BULLS

Saturday, November 26 • 7:05 P.M. • American Bank Center • Corpus Christi, TX
NAHL Game #225 • Game #23 • Home Game #11 • Series: COR leads 3-0-0-0
Radio: SportsJuice.com • Video: Hockey TV • Twitter: @goicerays • In-Arena: 87.7FM

Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. with Countdown To Faceoff

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays and Amarillo Bulls end the month of November and their two-game weekend set from the American Bank Center.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays have won all three meetings so far in the season series by a combined 10-2 score and have not conceded more than one goal in a contest while winning by two or more in all three outings. Those wins bring the franchise series to a 24-40-3 record for the IceRays. In the last seven seasons, the home and road record have been about even with the IceRays going 12-18-1 at the American Bank Center and now equal their win total at the Amarillo Civic Center.

Last Night: The IceRays powered ahead with control and possession in their 4-1 win over the Bulls on Friday night at the American Bank Center. IceRays center Cole Filler (12:40 1st; 7:31 2nd) cashed in two different times for the home side to not only get them the lead but double it, 2-0. The second goal started a string of three-straight IceRays goals coming on odd-man rushes followed up by forward Cole Gammer (18:44 2nd) to triple the lead, 3-0, on a 3-on-1 rush. IceRays center David Thomson (9:09 3rd) earned his own 2-on-1 goal to spread to a 4-0 lead before Bulls forward Kosta Likourezos (PP, 10:00 3rd) broke the seal and the shutout bid and move the score to its resting place, 4-1. IceRays netminder Camden Burggrabe (4-1-1) halted 29 of 30 shots in the win, while Bulls goaltender Kyle Madore (1-3-4) stopped 34 of 38 shots in the loss.

Taking Shape: For the seventh time this season, the IceRays have stretched above a .500 record with a game result and move there for the first time in two weeks (November 11: 8-7-1-2 record). The IceRays have moved to two games over a .500 record just once, coming after two-straight wins over the Amarillo Bulls on November 4-5 and have the chance to have the same result after tonight’s game. In addition, last night’s results help the IceRays move to an even or better goal differential for the third time this season with the other two occurrences coming after opening night in Wichita Falls (4-3) and after the sweep of Amarillo on November 5 (49-49).

IceBurg Ahead: IceRays netminder Camden Burggrabe continues to assert himself between the pipes with another one-goal game in net, marking his fourth win of the season in six attempts. The 19-year-old hasn’t conceded more than two goals in a game in six-straight appearances following his NAHL debut on October 8 in Topeka (7-6 OTL). During that span, he owns a 4-1-0 record while conceding just six goals for a 1.12 goals-against average and a .960 save percentage, marking him as one of the league’s top goaltenders in that span. On the season, Burggrabe ranks third in the NAHL in save percentage (.930) and fourth in goals-against average (2.03) while holding a 4-1-1 record in seven games.

The Magic Number: The benchmark so far this season for the IceRays to earn wins has stayed at three or four goals per game thanks to their 4-1 win last night. All 10 wins this season have come when the IceRays have scored exactly three or four goals, earning a 4-0-0-1 record with three goals and a 6-1-0-0 record with four goals. The only losses conceded when scoring in these situations came on September 24 against New Jersey (4-3 SOL) and October 28 against Shreveport (5-4 L). Of those 10 wins, only four have come in one-goal games.

Rock Bottom: The Bulls continued their win drought with last night’s loss and reached a new mark in the franchise. For the first time, the Bulls have lost 12-straight games in their junior franchise’s history, eclipsing the 11-game mark set last season from March 2 to April 1 with the dropping. During their win drought, the Bulls have been outscored by nearly a 2:1 ratio, scoring just 2.17 goals per game while allowing 3.92 goals per contest and scoring more than two goals just three times: October 28 vs. WFS (5-4 OTL), October 29 vs. WFS (5-4 OTL), and November 19 vs. SHR (7-3 L). They’ve also allowed an average of 39.17 shots per game and allowed 35 or more shots in nine-straight as well as 10 of those 12 games. This adds to their winless drought at the Amarillo Civic Center which now stands at 11-straight to start the season and 15-straight dating back to last year, which is also a junior franchise record.

Top of the Crop: The former top unit for the Bulls has been the spotlight in a rough portion of the season as they try to find momentum in their depth. Forwards George Mika, Kosta Likourezos and Hayden Broomhead started the season on the same line and have combined for 64 of the team’s 150 points (42.67%) through 23 games, including 26 of their 56 goals (46.43%) and 38 of their 94 assists (40.43%) though have been split up since then. The other 24 skaters have picked up the other 86 points.

South Division Standings:
Lone Star Brahmas (19-5-1-0, 39 PTS)
Wichita Falls Wildcats (13-6-2-0, 28 PTS)
Shreveport Mudbugs (12-7-0-1, 25 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (10-9-1-2, 23 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (8-12-2-1, 19 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (6-11-6-0, 18 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (8-11-1-0, 17 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays welcome the Wichita Falls Wildcats to the American Bank Center for the first time this season on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7:05 p.m. to open a two-game weekend. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, Hockey TV, and 87.7FM in-arena.