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PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. JACKALOPES (GAME #41)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS VS. ODESSA JACKALOPES

Saturday, February 11 • 7:05 P.M. • American Bank Center • Corpus Christi, TX
NAHL Game #466 • Game #41 • Home Game #19 • Series: ODA leads 3-2-0-0
Radio: SportsJuice.com • Video: Hockey TV
Twitter: @goicerays • Video: 87.7FM

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

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays close the two-game set against the Odessa Jackalopes at the American Bank Center on Hockey & Heels, benefitting the Women’s Shelter of South Texas.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays have won two-straight games against the Jackalopes, including their first at home this season, and now have broken the one-goal differential streak with last night’s win. The IceRays can still prevent the Jackalopes from taking at least a share of the season series with a win tonight. The IceRays own a 37-20-4 record and are 20-8-1 at the American Bank Center.

Last Night: The IceRays began their eight-game home stand with a strong 5-2 win over the Jackalopes on Friday night at the American Bank Center. IceRays forward Larry Jungwirth (1:39 1st) started the scoring on a takeaway for an early 1-0 lead, but Jackalopes forward Chase Thudium (6:12 1st) answered on a turnover in the IceRays zone to tie the game at 1-1. Less than a minute later, another turnover resulted in another tally, this time for IceRays forward Jayson DiMizio (7:04 1st) to take back the lead before an answer late by Jackalopes forward Ludwig Stenlund (PP, 19:37 1st) to knot the game at 2-2 after one period. The IceRays pushed through in the final two periods starting with forward Nathan Bryer (PP, 8:45 2nd) to take back the lead, 3-2. Two more came across in the third period from forward Cole Filler (12:24 3rd) and Bryer (PP, 14:38 3rd) for his second power play tally of the night and the final 5-2 victory. IceRays netminder Camden Burggrabe (8-4-1) halted 27 of 29 shots in the win, and Jackalopes goaltender Jonny Hogue (9-11-1) turned down 40 of 45 shots in the loss.

One-Third Remaining: The IceRays have exactly 20 games remaining in their season, sitting six games above .500 and owning their best record of the season at the two-thirds mark. Their record is the second best over the last seven years at this point of the season, trailing the 2014-15 campaign by just three points (22-13-5 record). The IceRays went 13-6-0-1 in the middle 20 games and while maintaining fourth place in the South Division also increasing their lead for that spot from one point to 10 points. The team is still just three points out of third place and within striking distance for a home playoff series.

Chances, Chances: For the second time this season, the IceRays breached double-digits attempts on the power play during last night’s game. The game ties a season-high 10 attempts with their only other occurrence on October 8 in Topeka during a 7-6 overtime loss, in which the team went 5-for-10 in attempts. Outside of those games, the IceRays have seen seven power plays just once (Oct. 7 @ TOP, 4-1 W) and six power plays five different times including the first three games of the season. The team owns a combined 3-4-1-0 record in those situations along with a 16-for-57 (28.07%) conversion rate in those eight games.

Home Turn: The IceRays have increasingly improved at home moving into the final two months of the season and moved to .500 at the American Bank Center for the second time since November 25 (8 games) and first since January 12 (2 games). Over their last five games since December 28, the IceRays own a 4-1-0-0 record at home while four goals or more in three of those five games and outpacing opponents 15-12 including a 3-0 shutout loss against Amarillo. The IceRays are in their second of an eight-game home stand stretching until March 4, and in that time they play three more games with teams below them in the standings (Odessa – 1; Topeka – 2) followed by four against the division’s top-two teams (Lone Star – 2; Wichita Falls – 2).

Yin & Yang: Despite last night’s loss, the Odessa Jackalopes continue to remain offensive in an attempt to make an early push for playoff positioning. The team has earned three or more goals as well as 30 or more shots in each of their last eight games though earning wins in just three of those contests. On the other side, the Jackalopes have also conceded three goals or more in six of eight games including five or more goals in four of those meetings, echoing the trend seen over the course of this season of more offense but looser defense. The team is averaging 4.00 goals per game in that span but 4.25 goals against per game.

Chasing Points: Jackalopes forward Chase Thudium has emerged as the team’s top point producer over the course of this season aided by a recent push and life offensively with the addition of forward Ludwig Stenlund. Since Stenlund joined the team, Thudium has earned 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) over 10 games while recording a seven-game point streak since January 21. Included in that stretch are two multi-point games: a five-point night on February 3 and a two-point night on February 4. He’s the lone Odessa player with 40+ points and ranks 12th in the NAHL in scoring (41 points).

South Division Standings:
Lone Star Brahmas (35-9-1-0, 71 PTS)
Wichita Falls Wildcats (23-13-4-1, 51 PTS)
Shreveport Mudbugs (23-14-1-2, 49 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (21-15-1-3, 46 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (16-21-4-0, 36 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (14-20-7-1, 36 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (15-26-3-1, 34 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays continue their home stand on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7:05 p.m. to begin a two-game set against the Topeka RoadRunners from the American Bank Center. Tickets are available at the American Bank Center Box Office and Ticketmaster.com. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, Hockey TV and 87.7FM in-arena.