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PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. MUDBUGS (GAME #14)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS VS. SHREVEPORT MUDBUGS

Friday, October 28 • 7:05 P.M. • American Bank Center • Corpus Christi, TX
NAHL Game #123 • Game #14 • Home Game #6 • Series: COR leads 1-0-0-0
Radio: SportsJuice • Video: HockeyTV • Twitter: @goicerays

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

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays continue their three-game weekend set on Pink In The Rink weekend against the Shreveport Mudbugs from the American Bank Center.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays opened their junior franchise series with the Mudbugs with a shutout win. They also beat Shreveport in their first professional game on Oct. 22, 1998 with a 10-6 win at the Memorial Coliseum. In their professional series, the IceRays held a 21-25-4 record through 50 games of WPHL and CHL play. However, since moving to the American Bank Center, the IceRays are 5-5-1 on home ice including grabbing wins in five of those six seasons.

Last Game: The IceRays started the three-game weekend set with a 3-0 shutout win over the Mudbugs on Thursday morning. IceRays forward Josh Tripp (10:26 1st) started the scoring with a one-time goal from David Thomson to take a 1-0 lead. A takeaway and wraparound by IceRays defenseman Cody Fleckenstein (14:32 1st) doubled the lead, 2-0, for the first of two insurance goals. IceRays forward Brad Power (EN, SH, 18:37 3rd) provided the final insurance goal with the netminder pulled to take the 3-0 win. IceRays netminder Camden Burggrabe (1-0-1) earned the shutout with 20 saves, while Mudbugs goaltender John Roberts (4-2-0) halted 32 of 34 shots in the loss.

Shut ‘Em Down: The IceRays recorded their first shutout of the season to kick off the weekend and franchise series. It’s their first shutout victory since Feb. 11, 2016 in a 3-0 blanking of the Lone Star Brahmas. In fact, each of the last three shutout victories have all been by a 3-0 margin including their first of the calendar year on Jan. 1, 2016. The IceRays have also won each of their last two Kids Day Game events, taking down the Brahmas 4-3 in overtime on Nov. 19, 2015.

Short Is Strong: The final insurance goal in yesterday’s game was not only empty net but also a shorthanded goal, making it the second-straight game the IceRays have recorded a goal while on the penalty kill. It’s also the first time in junior franchise history the IceRays have had consecutive games with shorthanded goals. Forward Brad Power has now factored into both shorthanded goals this season after not recording a shorthanded marker all of last season.

Though not obtaining a power play opportunity, the IceRays stayed strong on the penalty kill, wiping away all three chances the Mudbugs earned yesterday morning. That’s the third-straight game the IceRays held their opponents off on special teams, improving to 10-straight kills. It’s also the fifth time this season the IceRays have blanked their opposition’s power play through 13 games (38.46%). Yesterday was the first time since Oct. 2, 2015 against the Amarillo Bulls (3-2 W) the IceRays were held without a power play opportunity.

Good Time Off: Yesterday’s win marked the third time the IceRays have won their opening game coming out of a weekend off, improving their perfect record to 3-0-0-0 in that situation. Previously, the IceRays won the opening game of the season against Wichita Falls (4-3 W) as well as their first game against Topeka (4-3 W) on October 6 following the layoff after the NAHL Showcase. In those games, the IceRays have outscored their opposition 11-6 and recorded 30+ shots. All three games were the first of a three-game weekend. In the immediate game following, the IceRays are 1-1-0-0 (6-1 L @ WFS; 4-1 W @ TOP).

Long Road Ahead: The Shreveport Mudbugs opened their 8-game road trip on a sour note in yesterday’s opening game of the series. The Mudbugs are in their first true road weekend and just third true road game overall this season while staying away from the Hirsch Memorial Coliseum until November 26. During their road trip, the Mudbugs will play two games against the Odessa Jackalopes and Amarillo Bulls as well as one game versus the Lone Star Brahmas as part of a home-and-home series to finish the weekend. In their only other true road game, the Mudbugs won 4-2 against Wichita Falls on October 15.

Stingy Goaltending: For the first time since October 7, Mudbugs goaltending conceded more than two goals in a game, spanning five games since their last occurrence. That’s due, in large part, because of the goaltending tandem of John Roberts and Dylan Lubbesmeyer, who have emerged as a menacing pair between the pipes. Even with the loss, Roberts has allowed three or more goals in only two of his first eight games with both coming on consecutive games: September 30 and October 7, while Lubbesmeyer has yet to allow more than two goals through five games played and three starts. Both are in the top-10 goaltenders across the NAHL with Roberts sitting 5th in save percentage (.935) and 8th in goals-against average (2.23) and Lubbesmeyer 7th in goals-against average (1.97) and 9th in save percentage (.928).

South Division Standings:
Lone Star Brahmas (11-2-1-0, 23 PTS)
Shreveport Mudbugs (8-4-0-1, 17 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (7-7-0-0, 14 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (6-6-2-0, 14 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (6-10-0-1, 13 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (5-5-1-2, 11 PTS)
Wichita Falls Wildcats (5-5-2-0, 12 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays and Mudbugs finish the weekend set on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7:05 p.m. from the American Bank Center for the 9th Annual Pink In The Rink Game. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com, the American Bank Center Box Office, or the IceRays Front Office. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, HockeyTV, and 87.7FM in-arena.