PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. MUDBUGS (GAME #30)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS VS. SHREVEPORT MUDBUGS

Wednesday, December 28 • 7:05 P.M. • American Bank Center • Corpus Christi, TX
NAHL Game #306 • Game #30 • Road Game #14 • Series: COR leads 3-1-0-1
Radio: SportsJuice.com • Video: Hockey TV • Twitter: @goicerays • In-Arena: 87.7FM

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

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays pick back up after the holiday break with their four-game set against the Shreveport Mudbugs at the American Bank Center.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays and Mudbugs split their weekend in Shreveport prior to the holiday with the IceRays taking three of four points, sliding the IceRays’ record to 3-1-1 in the season series. The IceRays are 2-1-0 at home against Shreveport this season, and all-time they own a 24-26-5 in 54 games including the WPHL and CHL franchise series.

Last Game: The IceRays scored five-unanswered goals including four in the third period to take down the Shreveport Mudbugs 5-1 on Saturday night from George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. The Mudbugs struck first when forward Brendan VanSweden (14:23 1st) tapped in a rebound chance to gain a 1-0 advantage before IceRays center David Thomson (3:27 2nd) answered with a secondary attempt in low on a rebound to tie the game, 1-1. After a potential Mudbugs goal was waived off in the second period, the IceRays came alive in the third starting with back-to-back goals power play goals from Brad Power (PP, 2:58 3rd) and Mason Krueger (PP, 4:45 3rd) to double their lead, 3-1. IceRays forward Brendan Miller (17:01 3rd) added a stuffer late in the game, and Power (EN, 17:38 3rd) sealed the game with his second of the night in a 5-1 scoreline. IceRays goaltender Tomáš Vomáčka (7-10-2) halted 15 of 16 shots in the win, while Mudbugs netminder John Roberts (7-5-2) stopped 21 of 25 shots in the loss.

Special Friends: IceRays special teams had a marvelous weekend in Shreveport to take into the holidays. For the first time since October 28, the IceRays recorded a multi-goal game on the power play while going 2-for-3 on the night as well as 3-for-6 through both games, which is the best weekend percentage of the season. In addition, it’s just the second time the IceRays scored a power play goal in all games during a weekend set, joining their October 6-8 performance in Topeka (7-19, 36.84%). The penalty kill went a perfect 8-for-8, marking the second time this season the IceRays went back-to-back games with a perfect kill record, joining a 7-for-7 showing on October 14-15 against Odessa. The IceRays have now had eight games with a perfect penalty kill.

Home After Holidays: The IceRays continue their tradition of mid-week games at home between Christmas and New Year’s Day while having success as of late in the set. The team has won three-straight games between the two holidays over the last two seasons, suffering their last loss on Dec. 27, 2013 against Rio Grande Valley. Overall, the IceRays are 5-5-0 dating back to the 2011-12 season in mid-holiday games. The franchise did not play between Christmas and New Year’s Day in the 2010-11 season.

Trading Places: While the IceRays return to the American Bank Center for the first time since December 4, the team has been doing better recently in games away from their home rink. They’ve picked up points in three-straight road games and own a 7-5-1-1 record in true road games not including the NAHL Showcase while dropping three-straight games at home as well as four of their last six while holding a 4-7-0-0 record in true home games. In addition, the IceRays average 2.18 goals per game in Corpus Christi compared to 3.07 goals per game away from the home rink with just a three-game difference between the two. The only time the IceRays finished a season with a better road record came in 2012-13 when the IceRays went 15-10-5 on the road but 13-16-1 at home. It was also the first season the IceRays made the playoffs.

Kryptonite: The loss on December 17 against the IceRays was the biggest loss of the season for the Shreveport Mudbugs and marks just the second time the team has lost by three goals or more this year, both produced by the IceRays (October 27, 3-0 L). In fact, those two games are the only times the Mudbugs have lost by more than one goal, accounting for one quarter of the team’s regulation losses. The loss moves their average loss differential from 1.25 to 2.80, and the win differential is an even 2.00 goals per game.

Muddy Waters: While the Shreveport Mudbugs have been a strong team at home, they’ve been an average team away from their home building, sitting at 5-4-0-0 through just nine attempts in true road games, the fewest road games in the NAHL. In those contests, the Mudbugs have outscored their opponents 29-26 but have only held a two or more goal differential in two wins: October 15 in Wichita Falls (4-2 W) and November 19 in Amarillo (7-3 W). Prior to this weekend, the Mudbugs played a single road game in mid-October followed by a seven-game road trip beginning in Corpus Christi, going 4-4-0-0 in those games. On the positive end, they’re averaging 3.22 goals per road game and have yet to lose back-to-back road games.

South Division Standings:
Lone Star Brahmas (23-8-1-0, 47 PTS)
Wichita Falls Wildcats (18-7-3-1, 40 PTS)
Shreveport Mudbugs (16-8-0-1, 33 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (12-13-1-3, 28 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (10-13-7-0, 27 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (11-16-2-1, 25 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (10-12-4-0, 24 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays finish off the 2016 calendar year on Thursday, Dec. 29 at 7:05 p.m. while ending their four-game stretch against the Mudbugs from the American Bank Center. Tickets are available at www.Ticketmaster.com and the ABC Box Office. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, Hockey TV, and 87.FM in-arena.