PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. ROADRUNNERS (GAME #43)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS VS. TOPEKA ROADRUNNERS

Friday, February 17 • 7:05 P.M. • American Bank Center • Corpus Christi, TX
NAHL Game #482 • Game #43 • Home Game #21 • Series: COR leads 3-0-1-0
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 finish their season series with the Topeka RoadRunners in the midway game of the eight-game home stand on CCRV’s Winter Texan Night with Christus Spohn Health System.

Head-To-Head: With last night’s win, the IceRays claimed the season set over the RoadRunners outright for the second-straight season, now owning points in all four games with a 3-0-1-0 record. The IceRays have also outscored the RoadRunners 20-13 through four games and own wins in six of their last eight games and are now 4-0-1 at home over the last two seasons. The IceRays are now 10-19-5 against the RoadRunners over the last seven years with a 4-9-3 record at the American Bank Center.

Last Night: The IceRays scored early and often in their 6-2 win over the RoadRunners on Thursday night from the American Bank Center. IceRays center Mason Krueger (PP, 7:27 1st) started the scoring on the team’s first power play to take a 1-0 lead followed by tow goals within a one-minute span from forwards Josh Tripp (11:07 1st) and Brad Power (11:43 1st) to triple the lead to 3-0 heading into the second period. IceRays center David Thomson (14:35 2nd) quadrupled the lead before RoadRunners forward Marshall Bowery (17:39 2nd) broke the scoring stretch and move the IceRays lead to 4-1. Both teams went back and forth in the third period starting with IceRays forward Nathan Bryer (6:58 3rd) followed by RoadRunners defenseman Jake Rosenbaum (8:31 3rd) and capped off by IceRays defenseman Cody Fleckenstein (PP, 14:07 3rd) to finish the scoreline at 6-2. IceRays goaltender Tomáš Vomáčka (13-11-2) halted 29 of 31 shots in the win. RoadRunners netminder Ryan Snowden (7-11-2) stopped 8 of 11 shots in 11:43 minutes of the loss and Ben Churchfield turned away 19 of 22 shots in 48:16 minutes of relief.

Going Streaking: The IceRays extended their win streak to six games last night with their win over the RoadRunners and are now on a historic stretch. The win ties a junior franchise record for most consecutive wins set on Oct. 8, 2011 to Nov. 4, 2011, during which they outscored opponents 28-13, won five of those six games at home and scored four or more goal in three of six games. In their recent run, the IceRays have scored four or more goals in four-straight and five of their last six games while outscoring opponents 26-12 and taking home wins in half of their games. In that time, the IceRays have also moved to eight games over .500, their best mark since Mar. 20, 2015 when the IceRays were 30-22-5 and eight games over .500.

Powered Up: IceRays forward Brad Power earned a five-point game during last night’s win, marking the best individual performance of the season by both Power and an IceRays player. His night breaks his previous season-high three-game night on Sep. 22, 2016 at the NAHL Showcase and Nathan Bryer’s four-point night on Oct. 6, 2016 in Topeka. The last time an IceRays player scored four points or more at home came on Mar. 13, 2015 against Wichita Falls (Maksim Dzhioshvili, 2+2=4), and the last time a player earned a five-point night at home was Feb. 7, 2014 in a 7-6 overtime loss to Topeka (Jake Durflinger, 3+2=5).

Back End Strength: In a rarity, the IceRays defense was a big proponent of production during the win last night with five of six defensemen earning at least one point. On the season, IceRays defensemen have accounted for 72 of their 350 total points (20.57%) through 42 games, however last night the six-man blue line unit earned six of the team’s 17 total points (35.29%), which included a two-assist night from defenseman Matt Acciaioli for the second-straight game. That unit is trending just above their season output over their last ten games, recording 26 of the 114 total points (22.81%)  led by Acciaioli (0+7=7), Cody Fleckenstein (5+1=6) and Logan Gestro (2+4=6).

Tick Tock: The Topeka RoadRunners are on the front end of a nine-game road trip stretching through April 1 before ending the 2016-17 season on home ice. However, with just 13 games remaining, the RoadRunners are running out of time to keep in contention for the 2017 Robertson Cup Playoffs. Over their final games, the team can earn a maximum of 26 points though trail now by 15 points, which means that they would need to have a combined 52 points earned by the RoadRunners and lost by the IceRays during their final 18 games. The IceRays need just 11 points earned or lost by Topeka to eliminate them from playoff contention.

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 (23-15-1-3, 50 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (15-20-7-1, 38 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (16-22-4-0, 36 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (15-27-4-1, 35 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays continue their eight-game home stand on Friday, Feb. 24 at 7:05 p.m. when they host the Lone Star Brahmas on Texas Insurance Farm Bureau 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.