PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. WILDCATS (GAME #10)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

WICHITA FALLS WILDCATS

Friday, October 9 at 7:05 P.M.

Game #10 • NAHL Game #89 • Series: WFS leads 1-0-0
American Bank Center • Corpus Christi, TX
Audio: SportsJuice.com • Mobile: TuneIn Radio • In-Arena: 87.7FM

Video: FASTHockey.com • Twitter: @goicerays

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

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays finish up their four-game home stand and two-game weekend series against the Wichita Falls Wildcats from the American Bank Center.

Head-To-Head: The Wildcats take the early 1-0-0 lead in the season series following last night’s win. Last season, the IceRays recorded a 3-5-0 record against the Wildcats including a 2-2-0 split in games from the American Bank Center. Historically, the IceRays own a 17-24-6 record over the past six seasons and have a 12-12-1 record from the American Bank Center.

Last Night: The IceRays allowed three in the third period and slipped 4-1 to the Wildcats in their season series opener on Thursday night at the American Bank Center. Wildcats forward Erich Jaeger (PP, 16:38 1st) tucked in an open chance back-door to give the road side a 1-0 lead. IceRays forward Jimmy O’Brien (PP, 14:57 2nd) knotted the game up, 1-1, with a second-chance stuffer down low. However, the game opened up for the Wildcats in the third period: forward Ben Lown (PP, 4:50 3rd) found a fortunate redirection off IceRays defenseman Tucker Bender, forward Garrett VanWhye (10:06 3rd) received a long pass for a breakaway goal, and Jaeger (16:22 3rd) earned his second of the night to seal the 4-1 win. Justin Kapelmaster stopped 21 of 22 shots in the win, and Graham Hunt saved 26 of 30 shots in the loss.

The Magic Number: Through the first nine games of the season, the IceRays have had trouble putting up goals consistently. In five of their nine games, the IceRays have been held to just one goal and have earned a 0-5-0 record in those games. However, when the IceRays score two goals or more, they are a perfect 4-0-0. It is worth noting that those wins have come when opponents have been held to two goals or less (4-2-0 in such situations).

Late Surges: For the third time this season, the IceRays have allowed three third period goals in a close contest and struggled to keep opponents at bay. In those three games (Sep. 25 vs. SPR, Sep. 26 @ MNT, and Oct. 8 vs. WFS), the IceRays have been outscored 9-1 but have only been outshot 26-21. In all other games, the third period has favored the IceRays, silencing opponents to a 4-1 goal differential and 55-50 in shots. In all games, the IceRays and their opponents each have 76 shots in the third period.

Specials Focus: Following their power play goal allowed in the first period, the IceRays broke a three-game streak of perfection on the penalty kill and 10-straight kills down a skater. Only twice this season has the IceRays defensive unit allowed two power play goals in a contest, both of them coming on 6-for-8 nights (Sep. 25 vs. SPR, 3-1 L). On the other side, the IceRays power play registered a goal in their last two games and five of their first nine. However, the team has still yet to record two power play goals in a single game.

Power O’Man: IceRays forward Jimmy O’Brien has picked up the pace over his recent stretch in point production as he’s gained more time on the ice. He has earned points in each of his last three games, and he’s recorded the lone goals for the team in regulation, both of them coming on the power play. He now leads the team in power play goals (2) and is tied for third in power play points behind Drake Lindsay (4) and Andy McGlynn (3).

Just Like Drake: IceRays forward Drake Lindsay has quietly racheted point production and been instrumental in setting up goals. With his assist last night, he’s averaging one point per game and leads the team in assists (9), points (9), and power play points (4). If his assist and point production continues, Lindsay will finish the season third all-time in IceRays junior history in single-season points (60) and atop the all-time list for single-season assists (60) by almost 20 assists.

Too Hot To Handle: The Wildcats continue their dominance early in the season, now sitting atop the South Division and second in the NAHL behind the Fairbanks Ice Dogs (8-1-1, 17 points, .850 pct.). Much of their success comes from the strength of depth up front and their starting goaltending. Forwards Ben Lown and Max Reisinger sit in the top-15 in points with Lown tied for fifth in points and tied for second in assists and Reisinger sharing 10th in the league in points. On the back end, goaltender Justin Kapelmaster has been perfect since joining the Wildcats, sitting as one of two goaltenders with a perfect record with a minimum of four games played, earning 7th in goals-against average and 11th in save percentage.

South Division Standings:
Wichita Falls Wildcats (6-1-1, 13 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (6-4-0, 12 PTS)
Lone Star Brahmas (4-1-2, 10 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (4-5-0, 8 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (3-3-0, 6 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (1-5-2, 4 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays make their first trip of the year to the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, October 16 at 7:05 p.m. to continue their season series with the Amarillo Bulls. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. with Countdown to Faceoff on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) & FASTHockey.com.