PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. BULLS (GAME #25)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

AMARILLO BULLS

Saturday, December 12 at 7:11 P.M.

Game #25 • NAHL Game #297 • Series: COR leads 3-1-1
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

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays finish off their two-game set and go for their second-straight weekend sweep against the Amarillo Bulls from the American Bank Center on City/County Night, presented by Citgo.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays improved to a 3-1-1 record on the season against Amarillo and have won all three games at the American Bank Center. This is also game two of the four-straight games between these two teams and the first chance the IceRays have to sweep the Bulls in two-straight series at home. The Bulls own the franchise series, putting the IceRays to a 18-36-1 record as well as a 10-16-1 home record. Over the last two seasons, the IceRays have gone 7-4-2 against Amarillo.

Last Night: The IceRays converted on special teams to take a 2-1 win over the Bulls on Friday night. Bulls forward Tyler Hall (PP, 1:30 1st) opened the game with the first goal for either side to give Amarillo a 1-0 lead. IceRays forward Toby Kircher (PP, 3:29 2nd) answered back with a sparkling move to tie the game, 1-1. Late in the game, IceRays forward Regen Cavanagh (PP, 11:06 3rd) put back a rebound chance in front of the net to give the IceRays their first and only lead, 2-1. Despite Amarillo pulling their netminder late, the IceRays held on for the win. Dryden McKay stopped 27 of 28 shots in the win, and Anton Martinsson saved 45 of 47 shots in the loss.

We Come Running: The IceRays have now won three-straight games for the first time this season, eclipsing their season-high two-win stretch on October 2 & 3 against the Bulls. All three wins have come with a one-goal differential with one finishing in overtime, and the IceRays are averaging 37 shots per game, their highest three-game stretch of the season. The IceRays are now perfect in December through three games in an eight-game month playing two of the bottom three teams in the South Division: Odessa and Amarillo.

It Takes Two: For the first time this season, the IceRays converted on multiple power play opportunities, breaking an eight-game spell with only one power play goal registered. In fact, the last time the IceRays scored two goals or more in a game came on Mar. 13, 2015 against the Wichita Falls Wildcats at home, a span of 30 games. In their recent stretch, the IceRays have scored power play goals in now three of their last four games, going 4-for-22 (18.18%) and improving their overall percentage to 11.11%, their best since October 30 (11.86%), which was their last time over 11 percent.

Light My Fire: Last night’s goal-scorers Toby Kircher and Regen Cavanagh have been harnessing the hot hands as of late and helping the IceRays in their recent string of success. Kircher scored for the second-straight game and now has goals in three of his last four contests after starting his IceRays tenure with one assist in nine games. Cavanagh is the team’s biggest producer recently, recording his second-straight game with a goal to improve himself to five points over his last two games (two goals, three assists). The two players combined have factored in to all seven goals the IceRays have produced in consecutive Friday evenings.

Close To You: With last night’s win, the IceRays have now won eight games with a one-goal differential of their 13 attempts (61.54%), going 8-2-3. The IceRays are one of five teams (Aston, Corpus Christi, Johnstown, Minot, Topeka) with at least eight wins when games are separated by one goal with Johnstown (nine) the only team in front of them. Of those five teams, the IceRays have the best points percentage (73.08%) in one-goal situations and only one of two teams with over 70 percent (Topeka, 72.73%).

I’ll Take Sweden: The Amarillo Bulls had a spectacular performance from goaltender Anton Martinsson in last night’s loss, and the Swedish netminder kept the Bulls in the game until the very end of the contest. Despite the IceRays recording a season-high 47 shots, Martinsson stopped 45 of them including 20-of-21 in the second period. It was the 13th time in his 25 games played (52.00%) that the goalie has seen 40 or more shots, including twice in each of his last two games and over 50 shots two times. Despite his team’s performance, Martinsson is one of the premiere goaltenders in the NAHL, sitting tied for third in the league in save percentage (.930) and is one of five netminders with at least that percentage. In all five games against the IceRays, he owns a 2-2-1 record with a 1.78 goals-against average and a .953 save percentage.

South Division Standings:
Wichita Falls Wildcats (22-3-2, 46 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (18-11-0, 36 PTS)
Lone Star Brahmas (15-5-4, 34 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (10-10-3, 23 PTS)

Corpus Christi IceRays (9-12-3, 21 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (6-20-3, 15 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays continue their back-to-back weekends against the Amarillo Bulls on Friday, December 18 at 7:05 p.m. from the Amarillo Civic Center. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) and FASTHockey.com.