PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. ROADRUNNERS (GAME #42)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS VS. TOPEKA ROADRUNNERS

Thursday, February 16 • 7:05 P.M. • American Bank Center • Corpus Christi, TX
NAHL Game #477 • Game #42 • Home Game #20 • Series: COR leads 2-0-1-0
Radio: SportsJuice.com • Video: Hockey TV
Twitter: @goicerays • Video: 87.7FM

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

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays welcome the Topeka RoadRunners to the American Bank Center for the start of their only home meeting of the season to close the season series.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays have won two-straight games against the Jackalopes, including their first at home this season, and now have broken the one-goal differential streak with last night’s win. The IceRays can still prevent the Jackalopes from taking at least a share of the season series with a win tonight. The IceRays own a 37-20-4 record and are 20-8-1 at the American Bank Center.

Last Game: The IceRays scored four-unanswered in the final two periods to take a 4-1 win over the Odessa Jackalopes on Saturday night from the American Bank Center. Jackalopes forward Rowan Savidant (PP, 15:40 1st) slotted the game’s first goal from the point to take a 1-0 lead before the IceRays pushed through the remaining four goals starting in the second period. Forward Brad Power (8:34 2nd) sniped a shot from the left circle that tied the game, 1-1. He later fed defenseman Logan Gestro (4:48 3rd) in the offensive zone to jump ahead 2-1 on the eventual game-winner. Forward David Thomson (15:53 3rd) stashed in a late insurance goal, and defenseman Cody Fleckenstein (EN, 18:48 3rd) secured the 4-1 win with a home run pass from his own crease. IceRays goaltender Chad Veltri (2-0-0) stopped 25 of 26 shots in the win, while Jackalopes netminder Jon Flakne (7-11-2) halted 36 of 39 shots in the loss.

High Five: The IceRays have won five-straight games following Saturday’s win, marking the longest win streak of the season. During that span, the IceRays have outscored their opponents 20-10 and scored four or more goals in four of those five games with the lone outlier on February 3 (2-1 W @ SHR). The stretch breaks the four-game streak earned on December 17 through January 12 and ties the second-longest winning streak in junior franchise history. The longest streak (6 games) was set on Oct. 8, 2011 to Nov. 4, 2011.

On-A-Tear-Io: IceRays center David Thomson has started to re-find his scoring stroke during the third quarter of the season but especially in his recent run. He’s recorded points in five-straight games and goals in three of those five, notching seven points (3+4=7) over that span as well as eight points over his last seven contests. His 16th goal of the season on Saturday not only pushes him to the top of the team leader board in that category but also a share of 9th in junior franchise history, joining Ryan Cusin (2014-15) and Carter Johnson (2015-16) on the all-time list.

Secondary Charge: After starting the season as a bookend team, the IceRays have taken the reigns of the middle and back portion of contests over the last month. After their four-goal output on Saturday, the IceRays are now outscoring their opponents 27-11 over their last eight games including a 9-0 differential over their last four games and 14-2 in that longer span of time. The IceRays have earned a +5 goal differential in both the second and third periods and another +4 differential in the first, showcasing the push offensively in the second half of the season.

Picking Up Speed: The Topeka RoadRunners played two transplanted home games in Cedar Rapids, Iowa against the Springfield Jr. Blues, winning 4-3 on Friday night but falling 2-1 in overtime on Saturday night. Forwards Nick Granowicz (1+1=2) and Alexei Statsenko (1+1=2) as well as defenseman Ryan Dickinson (0+2=2) were the only three players to earn multi-point weekends with Statsenko the lone player to record points in each game, but 11 different players earned points through the weekend. Goaltender Ryan Snowden started in both games, stopping 19 of 22 on Friday and 27 of 29 on Saturday to help grab three points.

Keeping Pace: The RoadRunners have had a massive roster turnover due to USHL call-ups, trades and injuries, but recently the change in personnel has helped them keep pace to stay in the playoff race. After going on a 10-game loss streak from December 16 to January 14, they’ve picked up points in six of their last eight games, earning a 4-2-2-0 record in that span while also scoring three goals or more in just over half of those contests. Though not getting a win in each weekend, they have earned at least one point in each of their last four weeks while playing three of those four weeks at home. They begin a nine-game road trip lasting through April 1 tonight.

South Division Standings:
Lone Star Brahmas (35-10-1-0, 71 PTS)
Shreveport Mudbugs (24-14-1-2, 51 PTS)
Wichita Falls Wildcats (23-14-4-1, 51 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (22-15-1-3, 48 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (15-20-7-1, 38 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (16-22-4-0, 36 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (15-26-4-1, 35 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays close their five-game season series with the Topeka RoadRunners on Friday, Feb. 17 at 7:05 p.m. from the American Bank Center on Winter Texan Night. Tickets are available at the American Bank Center Box Office and Ticketmaster.com. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, Hockey TV and 87.7FM in-arena.