PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. JACKALOPES (GAME #28)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

ODESSA JACKALOPES

Tuesday, December 29 at 7:11 P.M.

Game #28 • NAHL Game #325 • Series: COR leads 2-1-1
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 play their final game before the holiday break against the Amarillo Bulls from the Amarillo Civic Center. 

Head-To-Head: The IceRays and Jackalopes have split their season series thus far, each getting two wins while holding officially a 2-1-1 record thanks to a sweep of Odessa at the outset of the month. Dating back to last season in the IceRays have won 12 of the last 16 meetings. They also hold the lead in the franchise series at 31-14-3. The last home loss to the Jackalopes came on Jan. 17, 2014 in a 5-2 defeat. Since then, the IceRays have won seven-straight at home.

Last Game: The IceRays scored four power play goals en route to their largest win of the season, a 6-2 victory over the Amarillo Bulls Dec. 19 at the Amarillo Civic Center. IceRays forward Mason Krueger (6:09 1st) scored the game’s first goal even-strength before the road side opened up the game on the power play. Defenseman Michael Bevilacqua (PP, 13:00 1st) ripped a shot from the blue line, forward Brendan Miller (PP, 16:03 1st) redirected a shot in front of the net coming from Bevilacqua, and forward Brad Power (PP, 16:20 1st) slapped a shot from the high shot to give the IceRays a 4-0 lead after the first period. IceRays forward Toby Kircher (5:30 2nd) tapped in a one-time shot on a 2-on-0 to make it 5-0 Corpus Christi. Bulls forward Liam Ferguson (PP, 8:20 2nd) put the home side on the board before IceRays forward Regen Cavanagh (PP, 19:03 2nd) placed the team’s fourth power play goal on as many chances to take a 6-1 lead. Amarillo forward Jacob Nitsche (10:51 3rd) scored the game’s final goal, resulting in the 6-2 decision. Graham Hunt turned aside 27 of 29 shots in the win. Anton Martinsson stopped 13 of 17 shots in 16:20 minutes with the loss, and Jacob Weatherly saved 17 of 19 shots in 43:40 minutes of relief.

Busy Bees: The IceRays have one of the busiest weeks in franchise history, playing four games in five days while traveling over 900 miles in less than one day between sets. The IceRays play their first two games at home against the Odessa Jackalopes this season while rounding out their December schedule. Following the last game, the IceRays will drive right to Kansas for their second and final trip to play the Topeka RoadRunners at the Kansas ExpoCentre. This is the first time in junior franchise history the IceRays have not only four-in-five but also a 900-mile bridge between sets in the same week.

Thunderstruck: For the first time this season, the IceRays recorded more than two power play goals in a single contest, grabbing four on their first four chances. The mark oversteps their previous high of two set on Dec. 11 against the Bulls in a 2-1 win at home and is the most in a game since Sep. 27, 2013 when the IceRays recorded a franchise-high five power play goals in a 8-0 rout of the Lone Star Brahmas. It’s also the first time in junior franchise history the IceRays have been a perfect 3-for-3 after the first period as well as a perfect 4-for-4 through two periods, the most consecutive power play goals scored in chances ever. With the boom, the IceRays power play improves to 13.91% on the season, going 16-for-115 chances and moving from last in the NAHL to 19th place while tallying in nine goals over their last seven games.

Breaking Ground: The IceRays broke multiple season-highs in their win over the Bulls on Saturday. It was the first time the IceRays scored six or more goals this year and the second time this month with five or more, their four-goal first period was their largest single-period total of the year, topping the previous mark of three set on Dec. 4 against Odessa, the win doubled their largest margin of victory set on opening night in their 3-1 win over Topeka, they recorded the most power play goals in a game, and their three power play goals in the first period recorded season-highs for fastest two goals scored (0:17) and three goals scored (3:17). None of the above overtook franchise marks set in previous seasons.

Four Score: Thanks to their win on Dec. 19, the IceRays now are in fourth place for the first time since Oct. 8 (18 games) and share the playoff position with the Odessa Jackalopes. Since the start of December, the IceRays have won four of their last six games including two against Odessa and Amarillo, scoring three or more goals in half of those contests (all wins) and outscoring opposition 18-14 in the process. In addition to their goal production, their shot production has ratcheted up, recording 30 or more shots in all but one game, bringing their monthly average to 36.83 shots per game on the month.

Ghost of Hockey Past: The Odessa Jackalopes enter the week following two-straight weekends away from play, competing last on Dec. 11 & 12 and dropping both games to the Topeka RoadRunners 7-2 and 6-2. Forward Hampus Sjodahl continues his run as the Jacks’ biggest producer, grabbing three points (two goals, assist) to lead Odessa in the weekend while defenseman Cooper Zech (goal, assist) and forward Jon Russell (two assists) also completed multi-point weekends. Both netminders Gunnar Rivers and Dean Shatzer split time in net in back-to-back games. Rivers saved 26 of 31 in two games, and Shatzer stopped 28 of 36 in two contests.

South Division Standings:
Wichita Falls Wildcats (23-5-3, 49 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (21-12-1, 43 PTS)
Lone Star Brahmas (19-6-5, 43 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (10-11-3, 23 PTS)

Corpus Christi IceRays (9-13-3, 23 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (8-21-3, 19 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays finish their short stint at the American Bank Center on Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 7:11 p.m. against the Odessa Jackalopes. Tickets are available at www.Ticketmaster.com, the American Bank Center Box Office, or by calling 361-814-PUCK.