PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. JACKALOPES (GAME #47)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

ODESSA JACKALOPES

Friday, February 26 at 7:11 P.M.

Game #47 • NAHL Game #512 • Series: COR leads 4-1-1
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 kick off a four-game stretch against the Odessa Jackalopes with the first of two-straight at the American Bank Center.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays have held the season series firmly, going 4-1-1 with half of the season set still to play. Over the last two-plus seasons, the IceRays have been a perfect 13-0-0 at home against Odessa while holding a 19-3-0 record all-time at The Bank. The last home loss to the Jackalopes came on Jan. 17, 2014 (5-2 L). Overall, the IceRays are 33-14-3 in games against the Jackalopes.

Last Game: The IceRays saw their lead slip away and fell 5-3 to the Amarillo Bulls on Saturday night at the Amarillo Civic Center. IceRays forward Mason Krueger (4:17 1st) picked up the game’s first goal early on to give the road side an early 1-0 lead before Bulls forward Coale Norris (PP, 10:26 1st) tied the game, 1-1, on the man-advantage. IceRays forward Carter Johnson (PP, 11:55 1st) tapped in an open puck behind the netminder to take back the lead, 2-1, and IceRays forward Nathan Bryer (17:59 1st) doubled the lead, 3-1, with a push in front of the Bulls net. The Bulls came back in the second and third periods with four-unanswered goals from defenseman Phil Fromberger (7:50 2nd), defenseman Jeff Solow (PP, 9:16 2nd), forward Joey DiBenedetto (6:11 3rd) and forward Jacob Nitsche (EN, 18:53 3rd) to take a 5-3 win over the IceRays. Bulls netminder Anton Martinsson earned the win, saving 37 of 40 shots, while IceRays goaltender Dryden McKay turned aside 30 of 33 shots in the shootout loss.

Century Men: Two IceRays broke the 100 NAHL game threshold on Saturday night in Amarillo, and both have adorned IceRays uniforms over the past two seasons. Co-captain Nathan Bryer and home alternate captain Mason Krueger each reached the milestone and both scored goals in that contest. Bryer has totaled 18 goals and 21 assists for 39 points over his first 100 games with 30 penalty minutes, two power play goals, and three game-winning goals. Krueger owns 16 goals and 21 assists for 37 points with 72 penalty minutes, three power play goals and three game-winning goals while meeting his career-high in goals with Saturday’s tally. This season, Bryer owns six goals and eight assists for 14 points with 12 penalty minutes and a -17 rating, while Krueger has eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points with 41 penalty minutes and a -4 rating.

Manning-Up: The IceRays power play unit continues to find ways to record points, grabbing goals in now five-straight as well as eight of their last nine games. During that time, the IceRays have converted on 22.92% (11-for-48) of their chances as well as 26.92% (7-for-26) over their five-game streak with two multi-goal games. After starting the season with zero multi-goal games on the power play through their first 23 games, in their past 23 games since then the team has tallied six with a four-goal output on Dec. 19 and a perfect 2-for-2 effort last Friday, both against Amarillo.

Projecting Forward: The IceRays and Jackalopes have six more games remaining in their season set before the close of the season. Of their final 14 games, the IceRays will play six against both the Jacks (the team battling for playoffs) and Wichita Falls Wildcats (South Division leaders), which makes up over 85 percent of their schedule remaining. The IceRays have not beaten the Wildcats this season, dropping all six games. The Jackalopes do not have any games remaining against the Wildcats but have their schedule relatively evenly distributed amongst South Division opponents while playing nine of 16 games on the road and two games in-hand.

Tough Split: The Odessa Jackalopes earned their second-ever road win against the Lone Star Brahmas while splitting the weekend with a 3-1 loss on Friday and 5-2 win on Saturday at the NYTEX Sports Centre. Team-leading point-scorer Hampus Sjodahl was one of four players to earn multi-point games and the only player with more than one goal on the weekend, scoring three in two games. Forwards Derek Brown and Gray Marr and defenseman Daniel Kiraly each earned two-assist weekends with Kiraly’s both on Saturday night. Goaltender Jon Flanke played both games for the Jackalopes, stopping 24 of 27 in Friday’s loss and halting 32 of 34 shots in Saturday’s win.

On The Surge: The Jackalopes have turned around their season and found the spark that they began the season with. Over their last 11 games, the Jacks are 8-3-0 while earning sweeps against teams on opposite sides of the standings (Amarillo & Wichita Falls) without dropping a two-game set. Following that sweep of Amarillo on Jan. 22-23, the Jacks acquired goaltender Jon Flanke prior to their split with the Brahmas and has played six of the team’s last nine games. Prior to their sweep of the Wildcats, they also acquired former Killer Bees forward Connor Wood, who has gained points in five of the six games he’s played for Odessa. When he is in the lineup, the Jacks are 5-1-0.

South Division Standings:
Wichita Falls Wildcats (34-9-4, 72 PTS)
Lone Star Brahmas (30-11-7, 67 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (28-18-1, 57 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (19-22-5, 43 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (19-21-4, 42 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (11-31-4, 26 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays host their first Heart Night while closing out their weekend set against the Odessa Jackalopes on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 7:11 p.m. from the American Bank Center. Tickets are available at www.Ticketmaster.com, the American Bank Center Box Office, or the IceRays Front Office. Coverage begins at 6:55 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, FASTHockey.com, and 87.7FM in-arena.