PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. BULLS (GAME #8)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

AMARILLO BULLS

Saturday, October 3 at 7:05 P.M.

Game #8 • NAHL Game #77 • Series: COR leads 1-0-0
American Bank Center • Corpus Christi, TX
Audio: SportsJuice.com • Mobile: TuneIn Radio • In-Arena: 87.7FM

Video: FASTHockey.com • Twitter: @goicerays

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

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays close out their home opening weekend against the Amarillo Bulls from the American Bank Center. Tonight is also the 2nd Annual Childhood Cancer Awareness Night, benefitting the Brooke’s Blossoming Hope For Childhood Cancer Foundation.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays claimed game one in the season series with 11 games remaining this season. Last year, the IceRays split their eight regular season games with a 4-3-1 record against the Bulls while going 3-1-0 on home ice. In six years of competition against the Bulls, the IceRays have earned a 16-35-2 record.

Last Night: The IceRays opened their home schedule with a 3-2 win over the Amarillo Bulls at the American Bank Center on Friday night. IceRays forward Carter Johnson (1:34 1st) began a swift opening period with his fourth of the year followed by the first by forward Nathan Bryer (3:57 1st) to jump out to an early 2-0 lead. The Bulls answered with strikes from forwards Joey Molinaro (6:45 1st) and Joey DiBenedetto (9:29 1st) to tie the game, 2-2. IceRays defenseman Michael Bevilacqua (3:46 2nd) provided the game-winner early in the middle frame and took a 3-2 win for the IceRays. Graham Hunt saved 22 of 24 shots in the win, and Anton Martinsson stopped 21 of 24 shots in the loss.

Early Jump: The IceRays powered ahead early in the first period of last night’s game, recording the quickest goal to begin a game this season. This overtakes the standard set by Andy McGlynn on Sep. 20 (2:53) against Topeka. In addition, last night was the first time this season that the IceRays have scored multiple goals in a single period. The previous ten goals recorded were all single in separate periods: two in the 1st, 3 in the second, 4 in the third, and 1 in overtime.

Power Outages: The IceRays power play and Bulls penalty kill units match up tonight in the midst of plights for both sides. The IceRays have been shut down in each of their last 15 attempts with the man-advantage following an 0-for-1 performance last night, sitting next to last in power play percentage (9.09%) and 18th in “home” games (7.14%). The Bulls penalty kill have struggled in their last five games, going 7-for-14 (50.00%) with the next to last ranking killing unit (65.22%). However, the Bulls recorded their first game this season with zero power play goals allowed when having to go down a skater.

Model Citizens: Forward Andy McGlynn has proved to be a consistent presence offensively in his first seven games this season, recording points in five of the last seven games to rest second on the team in scoring (two goals, three assists). Right above him is forward Drake Lindsay, who has already recorded two multi-point games and lead the team in assists (7) and scoring (7). He ranks just outside of the top skaters in the NAHL in those two categories.

No Outlet: Goaltender Dryden McKay has been tested early and often thus far in his IceRays tenure. Through three games, the Illinois native has seen 30 or more shots in every game compared to only one for his counterpart Graham Hunt. This is customary to McKay thus far in his NAHL career, facing on average 32.19 shots last season with the Springfield Jr. Blues. He saw less than 30 shots just 13 times last season with only ten of those games as full game starts.

Lasting Legacies: When he suits up tonight, IceRays defenseman Trevor Heuser now sits among some of the elite players in junior franchise history. Tonight will be his 86th game with the IceRays organization since the 2011-12 season, ranking him 10th all-time in games played for the team, overtaking Miami University (OH) defenseman Grant Hutton. He and Brad LeLievre (90 games) rank 9th and 10th in team history in games played. Heuser will also be seven games from breaking the 100-game career mark.

Catching Fire: The Bulls have been lifted by the introduction of forward Joey Molinaro into the NAHL after two seasons with the Mississauga Chargers (OJHL). The Ontario native has recorded points in four of his first seven games with two of the four multi-point efforts to lead the team. He leads the Bulls in all major scoring categories and ranks tied for 11th in the NAHL in scoring.

Bull Hockey: The Amarillo Bulls struggled this week at the NAHL Showcase, walking away with a 0-3-1 record and dropping to 1-4-1 to begin their season. Only five players earned multi-point weeks with forwards George Mike (two goals, one assist), Johan Lundgren and Joey Molinaro (one goal, two assists) leading the way with three points each. Michael Forman and Jacob Nitsche (goal, assist) each earned two points, and only Molinaro earned a multi-point game. Returning netminders Anton Martinsson and Jacob Weatherly each played two games with Martinsson going 0-1-1 with six goals-against and .912 save percentage and Weatherly dropping 0-2-0 with eight goals-against and a .895 save percentage.

South Division Standings:
Topeka RoadRunners (5-4-0, 10 PTS)
Wichita Falls Wildcats (4-1-1, 9 PTS)
Lone Star Brahmas (4-1-1, 9 PTS)

Odessa Jackalopes (3-2-0, 6 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (3-4-0, 6 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (1-5-1, 3 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays begin the first of a 12-game season series against the Wichita Falls Wildcats on Thursday, Oct. 8 at 7:05 p.m. from the American Bank Center. Tickets are available at the American Bank Center Box Office, www.Ticketmaster.com, or any Ticketmaster location. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. with Countdown to Faceoff on SportsJuice.com and FASTHockey.com.