PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. JACKALOPES (GAME #48)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

ODESSA JACKALOPES

Saturday, February 27 at 7:11 P.M.

Game #48 • NAHL Game #522 • Series: COR leads 4-1-2
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 finish out their weekend against the Odessa Jackalopes at the American Bank Center on Heart Night, presented by AutoNation Ford, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Coastal Cardiology Associates, Mattress Firm, and Setton Farms.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays suffered their first home loss to the Jackalopes since Jan. 17, 2014 though still hold the season series with a 4-1-2 record. That’s the first overtime loss at home to Odessa in their five-year history, moving the home record to 19-3-1 and the overall franchise series to 33-14-4. The IceRays have never been swept at home against the Jackalopes and were only swept four times since 2011-12.

Last Night: The IceRays battled the Jackalopes to force overtime but fell 3-2 on Friday night at the American Bank Center. Jackalopes forward Hampus Sjodahl (18:31 1st) netted the game’s first goal and only tally in the first period before a breakaway by IceRays forward Brendan Miller (5:54 2nd) tied the game, 1-1. After the end of a 5-on-3 power play, Jackalopes defenseman Daniel Kiraly (PP, 13:37 tucked in the advancing goal, 2-1. IceRays forward Regen Cavanagh (PP, 0:35 3rd) threaded the Odessa defense on a 5-on-3 power play to tie the game, 2-2, and ultimately force overtime. Jackalopes forward Derek Brown (0:17 OT) received the puck off the faceoff draw and took the game in his hands, sealing the 3-2 road win. Jackalopes goaltender Jon Flakne stopped 36 of 38 shots in the win, while IceRays netminder Graham Hunt turned aside 33 of 36 shot in the overtime loss.

Extra! Extra!: The IceRays and Jackalopes have settled four of their seven contests this season in at least an overtime period including two of three games at the American Bank Center. In each weekend set, one game has gone beyond regulation, and the two sides have split their results down the middle. The IceRays are 2-1 in games ending in the overtime period after last night’s loss and 0-1 in games ending in a shootout with the only occurrence on November 14 in Odessa (3-2 SOL).

Don’t Stop Me Now: While the IceRays battle for the postseason, forward Regen Cavanagh has been consistently producing over the month of February. Thanks to last night’s goal, the 18-year-old owns a five-game point streak, the longest for an IceRays player this season, earning four goals and three assists for seven points in that span. Five of those seven points have come on the power play with three as goals, and just on the power play alone he also owns points in five-straight games. He leads the team in power play goals (6), sits second on the team in goals (12) and power play points (13), and is tied for second in points (23) with just 33 games played.

Downward Trend: IceRays goaltender Graham Hunt has hit a bit of bad luck following his five-game win streak crossing into the New Year. He’s currently on a six-game winless drought and has one win in his last eight games, going 1-5-2 in that span. He’s conceded three or more goals in each of his last five games but has kept the IceRays throughout his slump, keeping at worst a two-goal margin since his last win on January 15 against the Lone Star Brahmas (5-2 W). Since that win, he is 0-4-2 with a respectable 2.80 goals-against average and .911 save percentage.

Sjomanship: Jackalopes forward Hampus Sjodahl has been the biggest leader for Odessa this season and has led his side back into the playoff picture. He owns a seven-game point streak and three-game goal streak thanks to his first period tally last night, earning seven goals and four assists for 11 points since the start of the streak, which ranks fourth among the NAHL in active streaks and the goal trend is atop the active leaders. He becomes the first Jackalopes (and South Division) player to eclipse the 50-point mark, sitting tied for fourth in the NAHL in scoring (50), tied for second in goals (26), and third in shooting percentage (.226). He has also recorded points in 33 of his 45 games.

A Tale of Three Seasons: The Jackalopes 2015-16 season can be broken up into three different segments that have defined their campaign. Odessa started the season on a terrific start, going 9-5-1 before a large collapse through most of the season. After their sweep of the IceRays on November 13-14, the Jackalopes plummeted to a 2-13-3 record over their next 18 games, owning an eight-game and six-game winless drought before their season took a new turn. Since January 22, the Jackalopes are now back to their first section numbers, going 9-3-0 and taking back control of their season. In their recent trip, the Jackalopes have scored four or more goals in eight of those 12 games and going a perfect 3-0 in games ending after regulation. They currently hold the tiebreaker in the South Division standings by virtue of wins.

South Division Standings:
x-Wichita Falls Wildcats (35-9-4, 74 PTS)
Lone Star Brahmas (31-11-7, 69 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (28-19-1, 57 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (20-21-4, 44 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (19-22-6, 44 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (11-32-4, 26 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays continue their four-game stretch with the Odessa Jackalopes on Friday, Mar. 4 at 7:05 p.m. from the Ector County Coliseum. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) & FASTHockey.com.