PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. JACKALOPES (GAME #29)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

ODESSA JACKALOPES

Wednesday, December 30 at 7:11 P.M.

Game #29 • NAHL Game #326 • 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 play game two of four this week and go for the mid-week sweep against the Odessa Jackalopes at the American Bank Center.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays have won three-straight games and all three so far in December to earn a 3-1-1 record and a one-game advantage in the season series. Dating back to last season in the IceRays have won 13 of the last 17 meetings. They also hold the lead in the franchise series at 32-14-3. The last home loss to the Jackalopes came on Jan. 17, 2014 in a 5-2 defeat. Since then, the IceRays have won eight-straight at home.

Last Night: The IceRays battled back and forth but came away with a 5-4 overtime win over the Jackalopes. Odessa forward Zach Zech (3:34 1st) earned the first goal on a rebound in the opening period before three-straight goals by the IceRays. Regen Cavanagh (13:45 1st) and Matthew Acciaioli (14:21 1st) scored less than one minute apart to take a 2-1 lead before the second period, and Carter Johnson (PP, 4:23 2nd) capitalized on the man-advantage to earn a 3-1 lead. The Jackalopes came back with three-unanswered of their own in the middle frame from Jon Russell (5:39 2nd), Gray Marr (12:30 2nd) and Oliver Celec (14:19 2nd) with the final coming as a 3-on-0 breakaway to gain back a 4-3 lead. IceRays forward Toby Kircher (9:35 3rd) forced overtime with the lone goal in the third period. Though IceRays defenseman Tucker Bender missed a penalty shot, forward Brad LeLievre (2:47 OT) earned the game-winner to take the 5-4 victory. Graham Hunt saved 27 of 31 in the win, and Dean Shatzer stopped 37 of 42 in the loss.

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 one more tonight home against the Odessa Jackalopes this season while rounding out their December schedule. Following tonight’s 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.

Extra Heroics: With last night’s win, the IceRays have now won their last three games that have gone into at least the overtime period dating back to Nov. 19. In those games, the IceRays scored four or more goals in each contest and notched five twice, both times coming this month against Odessa (Dec. 4 & Dec. 29). Additionally, the IceRays have scored three or more goals in all four of their overtime wins this season, meaning that four of the team’s nine wins that have come with three or more goals resulted in an overtime game.

Power Circuit: The IceRays power play has been noticeably better since entering to their hot December, and for just the second time this season the IceRays have scored power play goals in three-straight games, with the last time coming from Sep. 20-24 across the NAHL Showcase. The IceRays are 6-for-19 (31.59%) in that span and have vaulted from 22nd to 18th in the NAHL. After being shut down in six-straight games from Oct. 30 through Nov. 20, the IceRays have scored man-advantage goals in six of their last eight games as well as five of six, going 9-for-43 (20.93%).

Hot Touches: A few IceRays forwards continued their upward trend and their soft touch to find goals in December. Toby Kircher scored for the second-straight game, recording three points while also registering goals in four of his last six games dating back to Dec. 4 in Odessa. Regen Cavanagh has also been hot, also grabbing goals in two-straight and four in his last six games also. He’s been the hottest player in December overall, gaining nine points (four goals, five assists) since Dec. 4 in Odessa. It’s also worth noting that forward Andy McGlynn has assists in three-straight, earning five helpers.

Fading Behind: The Odessa Jackalopes have slowly been losing their grip in the South Division since the tail end of November and through the month of December. The Jacks have now lost seven-straight games  dating back to Nov. 27 and nine of ten games since their sweep of the IceRays on Nov. 13-14 in the Permian Basin. The Jackalopes were 9-5-1 coming out of that sweep and have since gone 1-7-2 with only three of those last ten games on the road. Odessa will play seven-straight games on the road following their come set this weekend against the Lone Star Brahmas.

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)
Corpus Christi IceRays (11-14-3, 25 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (10-11-4, 24 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (8-21-3, 19 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays head on the road and start the 2016 calendar year on New Year's Day at 7:05 p.m. for the first of two games against the Topeka RoadRunners from Landon Arena. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) and FASTHockey.