PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. ROADRUNNERS (GAME #37)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

TOPEKA ROADRUNNERS

Friday, January 22 at 7:11 P.M.

Game #37 • NAHL Game #401 • Series: COR leads 4-2-1
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 officially close out their 2015-16 season series with the Topeka RoadRunners at the American Bank Center.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays have already claimed at least a share of the season series for the first time in junior franchise history with a record-setting 4-2-1 record thanks to the team’s first road sweep in Topeka. The RoadRunners still hold the all-time season set, winning 23 of 29 meetings, however the IceRays have leveled the ice during the last two seasons with a 5-4-2 record.

Last Night: The IceRays dropped their return home in 2016 to the Topeka RoadRunners 4-1 on Thursday night. RoadRunners forward Quinn Preston (10:58 1st) just barely nudged the puck across the IceRays goal line to take a 1-0 lead. IceRays forward Drake Lindsay (1:02 2nd) answered back with some help from a RoadRunners defenseman to tie the game, 1-1. RoadRunners forward J.B. Baker (11:46 2nd) made a nice individual effort to snipe a shot from the right circle to take back the lead, 2-1, then defenseman John O’Connor (19:49 2nd) was helped by a screen with his point shot to double the lead, 3-1. With the IceRays net empty and the RoadRunners pulling their goalie for an extra attacker on a delayed penalty, Preston (EN, EA, 18:26 3rd) sealed the win at 4-1. Tyler Johnson turned aside 31 of 32 shots, while Graham Hunt stopped 25 of 28 shots.

Down To Earth: The IceRays offensive production has cooled off considerably since their hot spurt heading through December and January. Since January 2, the IceRays have recorded two goals or less in all but one game (January 15 at Lone Star, 5-2 W) and not including that game have been outscored 19-8 by their opposition, who have all been in the top-three of the South Division. The chances have also clamped down, recording more than 25 shots just twice in that six-game stretch while going sub-20 in half of their games. The IceRays are 2-3-1 in their last six games while going 7-2-0 in the nine games leading up starting in the first weekend of December.

Drake and Goals: Drake Lindsay has been consistent against the RoadRunners throughout the season and especially in their last three meetings. In all three games through January, the 20-year-old has recorded at least one goal with one of those three on the power play and the game-winner (January 1). Overall, Lindsay has recorded points in five of seven meetings with the RoadRunners, recording three goals and two assists for six points, which now leads the team in active players this weekend as well as all players in goals. He also owns four points over his last three games. 

Back End Strength: The IceRays penalty kill unit continues to stay strong despite pressing odds especially in their last four games. The four-man group has turned away 20 of their last 21 attempts over that span including killing off three of four major penalties and only being tagged for one goal in that five-minute major on January 9 in Wichita Falls. The IceRays penalty kill now ranks eighth in the NAHL, one of their highest standings of the season, and have been consistently around the top-10 since their press forward following the holiday break.

Ailing Rays: The IceRays continue through the weekend without two of their top-two producers against the RoadRunners this season. Mason Krueger serves the final of a two-game suspension tonight and Brad Power remains out with an upper body injury. The two of them lead the team in points against the RoadRunners with six each. Adam Canepa returns following his one-game suspension tonight, but the team is still without forward Jimmy O’Brien (injury) and Simon Butala (injury) for the rest of the weekend.

New Man, Same Plan: Following a coaching change, the Topeka RoadRunners have continued to win in the first four games for Interim Head Coach Josh Kamrass. In the last four games, the RoadRunners have scored four or more in each game, outscoring their opposition 18-8 and keeping opponents to three goals or less with two 4-1 victories. All four games came after the IceRays’ sweep of the RoadRunners from the Kansas Expocentre.

Pressing On: RoadRunners forward Quinn Preston has found a knack for getting a nose toward the net in the last few meetings with the IceRays. The Trenton, Mich., native has three goals in his last two games against the IceRays including two last night (and a shorthanded miss on January 1) as well as a goal on September 20 in their 2-1 home win. In seven games, he leads all RoadRunners with four goals and six points and as of late has five points over his last five games (three goals, two assists).

South Division Standings:
Wichita Falls Wildcats (29-6-3, 61 PTS)
Lone Star Brahmas (24-8-5, 53 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (25-14-1, 51 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (15-17-4, 34 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (11-18-4, 26 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (8-25-3, 19 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays continue their four-game home stand on Friday, Jan. 29 at 7:11 p.m. in their first of two games against the Amarillo Bulls at the American Bank Center. Tickets are available at www.Ticketmaster.com, the American Bank Center Box Office, and by calling 361-814-PUCK. Coverage begins at 6:55 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, FASTHockey.com, and 87.7FM in-arena.