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PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. WILDCATS (GAME #47)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS VS. WICHITA FALLS WILDCATS

Saturday, March 4 • 7:05 P.M. • American Bank Center • Corpus Christi, TX
NAHL Game #537 • Game #47 • Home Game #25 • Series: WFS leads 5-1-0-0
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 close their eight game homestand with the final game of the weekend against the Wichita Falls Wildcats from the American Bank Center.

Head-To-Head: The Wildcats have owned the season series up to this point, earning points in all six games and taking five-straight in regulation after the IceRays’ 4-3 overtime win to begin the season. The Wildcats have also scored four goals or more in each of their last five meetings and at least four goals in all six. The Wildcats can claim a share of the season series with a win tonight. The IceRays are now 21-35-7 against the Wildcats in the franchise series as well as 15-16-2 on home ice.

Last Night: The IceRays saw a two goal lead evaporate in the third period leading to a 4-3 overtime loss to the Wichita Falls Wildcats on Friday night from the American Bank Center. Despite conceding an early power play, IceRays forward Brad Power (SH, 4:55 1st) opened the scoring with a breakaway goal to take an early advantage before Wildcats forward Nick Rosa (6:53 1st) tied the game, 1-1, on a rebound chance. IceRays centers David Thomson (14:28 1st) and Mason Krueger (19:24 1st) broke back open the lead to 3-1 with two chances down low. After a scoreless second period, the Wildcats made their push starting with a wrist shot from forward C.J. Regula (8:35 3rd) to draw within one and followed by another from Rosa (EA, 18:49 3rd) to send the game into overtime tied at 3-3. In the extra period, Wildcats forward C.J. Walker (2:41 OT) sealed the comeback with a wraparound goal in the back half. Wildcats goaltender Jared Dempsey stopped 34 of 37 shots in the win, while IceRays netminder Camden Burggrabe halted 28 of 32 shots in the overtime loss.

Magic Number: Despite the loss last night, the IceRays saw their magic number drop to 11 points heading toward the 2017 Robertson Cup Playoffs thanks to a regulation loss by the Odessa Jackalopes. A team’s magic number is reduced when it earns standings points, or when the team with the highest possible total  points outside the playoffs fails to earn standings points. This means, with 14 games remaining, the IceRays need just six wins on their part if the Jackalopes win-out, barring the results of head-to-head tie-breakers. Potentially, the IceRays could clinch a playoff spot next week if they win their next three games and Odessa drops three-straight in regulation.

Just Shy: The IceRays fell in their third-striaght overtime game and for the second time on consecutive Friday nights. The last overtime win for the IceRays came on September 22 against the Minnesota Magicians in a 4-3 win, but since then the team is 1-5 in games ending after regulation, including their lone shootout win on January 12 against Amarillo. Additionally, the IceRays lost for just the second time when leading after two periods, joining the 3-2 shootout loss on September 21 against the Aberdeen Wings as the two only occurrences. The IceRays are now 14-6 in games ending in overtime and 38-41 through 79 games ending after regulation.

Three’s Company: All three of the IceRays’ top goal scorers factored in last night’s game and joins elusive company in the IceRays Record Book. The goals by Mason Krueger (17), Brad Power (17) and David Thomson (18) mark just the third time in junior franchise history that three different players score at least 17 goals, joining Rudy Sulmonte (27), Perry D’Arrisso (18) and Emil Romig (17) from the 2012-13 season as well as Mike Benedict (24), Beau Walker (21) and Joe Smereck (17) from the 2010-11 season. All three players now sit in the top-ten in single-season goals for the junior franchise with Thomson tied for seventh and Krueger and Power sharing ninth.

Extra Success: The Wildcats have become accustomed to taking games into at least overtime, seeing their 15th game head to overtime to a shootout, which makes up nearly one-third of their games played (31.91%). After starting the season with two overtime losses, they won eight-straight before being clipped on December 10 by Odessa. However, the number of overtime games has plummeted in the second half of the season, going from 12 in the first 30 games (40.00%) to just three in the latest 17 contests (17.65%). The Wildcats are 2-3 in their last five games after regulation.

South Division Standings:
Lone Star Brahmas (38-11-1-0, 77 PTS)
Wichita Falls Wildcats (26-15-4-1, 57 PTS)
Shreveport Mudbugs (26-15-2-2, 56 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (24-15-3-3, 54 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (18-23-5-0, 41 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (15-22-7-1, 38 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (15-29-4-1, 35 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays continue their five-game stretch against the Wichita Falls Wildcats on Thursday, Mar. 9 at 7:05 p.m. from the Kay Yeager Coliseum. Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) and Hockey TV.