PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. JR. BLUES (GAME #5)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

SPRINGFIELD JR. BLUES

Friday, September 25 at 10:15 A.M.

Game #5 • NAHL Showcase Game #3 • NAHL Game #42
Schwan Super Rink • Blaine, Minn.
Video: FASTHockey.com • Twitter: @goicerays

Coverage begins at 10:10 a.m. with Countdown To Faceoff

Today’s Game: The IceRays embark on Day 3 of the 2015 NAHL Showcase against the Springfield Jr. Blues from Schwan Super Rink 2.

Showcase Records: After yesterday’s win, the IceRays are now 1-1-0 at the 2015 NAHL Showcase and 11-8-3 through 22 games over the past six years. Last season, the IceRays earned a 2-1-1 record and improved their overall record under head coach John Becanic to 4-4-2.

Head-To-Head: This will be the first meeting between the IceRays and the Jr. Blues at the NAHL Showcase. Springfield holds a 21-24-3 record at the NAHL Showcase dating back to 2004, however since the IceRays joined the NAHL in 2010 that record drops to 5-15-0.

Last Game: The IceRays rallied late in the third period and won 3-2 in overtime against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights on Day Two of the NAHL Showcase. Knights forward Tanner Bennett (SH, 12:40 1st) scored the first shorthanded goal in Knights history to take a 1-0 lead. The IceRays tied the game, 1-1, with a five-on-three power play goal by forward Stevie Bryant (PP, 3:57 2nd). The tie game didn’t last long with a goal by Knights forward Aiden Beck (7:59 2nd) and now a 2-1 lead. With the goaltender pulled, IceRays forward Carter Johnson (ES, 18:58 3rd) tied the game 2-2 and forced the first 3-on-3 overtime of the season. Once again, Johnson (2:38 OT) pulled through for the IceRays and gained a 3-2 win. Dryden McKay earned the win, stopping 29 of 31 shots, while Grant Valentine picked up the overtime loss, saving 40 of 43 shots.

New Overtime, Check: The IceRays experienced their first taste of the new 3-on-3 overtime format and came away victorious. It’s also the second game in six years to end in overtime at the NAHL Showcase, with the IceRays improving to 2-0. The only other overtime game came on Sep. 12, 2012 (4-3 W). Corpus Christi has had a strong run in extra hockey dating back to last season, and including the 2014-15 campaign the IceRays have won their last nine games ending in overtime. In Head Coach John Becanic’s tenure, the IceRays are 9-5 in overtime games.

Johnson & Johnson: Forward Carter Johnson has picked up the IceRays in the late stages in each of their last two games, scoring goals within the final two minutes of regulation against Johnstown and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. While he has yet to score a five-on-five goal, Johnson has three goals over his last two games on the power play, with the extra skater, and in overtime.

Close Quarters: The IceRays have battled through four close games to begin the 2015-16 season, finishing with three one-goal games and a two-goal game. No prior IceRays team has entered their fifth game with no team scoring more than three goals and it’s the second team not to take part in a shutout so early in the season. The IceRays are on record pace defensively, holding opponents to their lowest goal totals in junior franchise history ahead of the 2011-12 squad (nine goals).

Mirror Image: Despite a two-game difference, the IceRays and Jr. Blues have similar numbers on special teams. Both sides have had at least 14 chances on the power play and rank 13th and 14th in the NAHL in conversion percentage as well as at least 15 penalties to kill off. They rank 4th and 5th in that category with the Jr. Blues taking the edge. They’re two of five teams to only allow one power play goal, however the IceRays are one of seven squads to let in a shorthanded goal.

Big Blue: The Springfield Jr. Blues rebounded in Day 2 with a 4-1 win over the Austin Bruins on Thursday afternoon. The Jr. Blues notched three first period goals from Anthony Scarsella (PP, 16:09 1st), Michael Houle (17:40 1st) and Brady Tomlak (19:19 1st) to power ahead to a 3-0 lead while only outshooting Austin 10-5 in that frame. Forward Joey Lupo (PP, 17:07 2nd) strengthened the lead to 4-0 before the Bruins finally tallied off the stick of Justin Misiak (PP, 19:30 2nd). Tommy Napier earned the win, saving 27 of 28 shots, while Kristofer Carlson stopped 29 of 33 shots in the loss.

About The Show: The NAHL Showcase is a four-day tournament hosted by the league that provides an opportunity for players to show their skills to college and professional hockey scouts at game speed as well as for coaches to evaluate their teams prior to the Oct. 1 roster deadline. All four games played count as part of the 60-game schedule, and rosters will be cut from 25 to 23 players following the weekend.

South Division Standings:
Wichita Falls Wildcats (3-1-0, 6 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (3-3-0, 6 PTS)
Lone Star Brahmas (2-0-1, 5 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (2-2-0, 4 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (1-3-0, 2 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (1-2-0, 2 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays close out their 2015 NAHL Showcase schedule on Saturday, September 26 at 12:15 p.m. against the Minot Minotauros. Coverage of the NAHL Showcase is provided exclusively on www.FASTHockey.com.