PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. WILDCATS (GAME #52)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

VS.

WICHITA FALLS WILDCATS

Saturday, March 12 at 7:11 P.M.

Game #52 • NAHL Game #570 • Series: WFS leads 7-0-0
American Bank Center • Odessa, 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 round up a two-game home weekend set against the Wichita Falls Wildcats at the American Bank Center.

Head-To-Head: The Wildcats continue to dominate the season series, recording wins in all seven meetings as well as eight-straight dating back to last season. Both teams will play five more times in each of their final nine games of the season as well as rounding out the season with four-straight meetings. The IceRays are 17-30-6 all-time against the Wildcats while going 12-14-1 on home ice.

Last Night: Special teams in the second period took down the IceRays in a 3-1 loss to the Wildcats on Friday night at the American Bank Center. IceRays defenseman Colton Meekhof (1:49 1st) opened the scoring for the second-straight time against the Wildcats to give the home side an early 1-0 lead. Wildcats defenseman Noah Gilreath (PP, 8:14 2nd) tied the game, 1-1, with a shot from the left point followed by the go-ahead goal by Wildcats forward Austin Albrecht (PP, 14:05 2nd) to jump out to a 2-1 lead. Despite a leveling off by the IceRays and pulling their netminder, Wildcats forward Erich Jaeger (EN, 19:23 3rd) sealed the win at 3-1 with an empty net goal. Wildcats goaltender Justin Kapelmaster stopped 19 of 20 in the win, while IceRays netminder Dryden McKay halted 35 of 37 shots in the loss.

The Middle Man: The second period has been one of two key factors of this season series through seven games including last night. The IceRays have been outscored 15-3 in the middle frame with the lone goal in that period at home coming on October 8 while being held scoreless in two-straight games. The Wildcats have scored ten-unanswered goals in the second period dating back to January 8 despite the IceRays getting two second period goals in that contest. The IceRays have now been outscored 32-8 through seven games, and their best period head-to-head is the opening frame, only being outscored 7-3 compared to the second and third period (10 GA – 2 GF) margins.

Staying Power: Special teams locks in as the second key factor this season head-to-head, and the Wildcats have taken control of the IceRays on both sides of the ice. On the power play, the IceRays are now 1-for-31 (3.23%) through seven games against the Wildcats have seen 28-straight attempts killed off since their lone goal on October 8 at home. That spans 385:03 minutes of game time and 52:21 minutes of time on the power play. On the other side, the Wildcats have recorded multi-goal games on the man-advantage in five of their seven meetings and are now 12-for-31 (38.71%) this season against the IceRays penalty kill unit. The only games without multiple goals against on the IceRays penalty kill came on October 30 & 31 (1-for-2 & 1-for-3).

More Of Me: IceRays defenseman Colton Meekhof has found his scoring touch coming from the blue line especially against the Wildcats. The 18-year-old opened the scoring in two-straight games against the Wildcats including last night and has produced two-thirds of the team’s goals in those two meetings. He has three goals in his last eight games and his past six games with points going back to December 30 (19 games) all included goals. Meekhof has three points in four games against the Wildcats and is one of just two IceRays without a negative plus/minus through at least four games played (Andy McGlynn, even).

Falling Just Short: IceRays forward Regen Cavanagh came away from last night’s game without a point, halting his bid for a junior franchise-long record. The 18-year-old completed an eight-game point streak lasting from February 12 to March 5, recording four goals and six goals for ten points and setting a season-high for any IceRays player. He also saddles in as the second-longest streak in junior franchise history behind the nine-game streak by defenseman Anthony Cortese (‘14-’15) set last season. Cavanagh helps to a share of third place on the team in points and second in goals following his run.

Scoring By Committee: The Wildcats continue to spread the wealth of scoring in the series with the IceRays. Eight different players own two goals or more with four of them all sharing the team goal lead with hour: Austin Albrecht, Adam Goodsir, Erich Jaeger and Jonathan Lazarus. Eight different players also are averaging just one point below, equal to, or over a point-per-game through seven contests with two above a point a game (Albrect, 9 points; Aleksi Poikola, 8 points) and two at a point per game (Lazarus, 6 points; Jaeger, 5 points). The only player to not record a point in the season series of any Wildcat past and present is Trent Dillinger, who played his first last night.

South Division Standings:
x-Wichita Falls Wildcats (38-9-4, 80 PTS)
x-Lone Star Brahmas (32-11-7, 73 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (29-20-1, 59 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (21-24-6, 48 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (21-24-4, 46 PTS)
e-Amarillo Bulls (11-35-4, 26 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays head back on the road to close out the season series against the Lone Star Brahmas starting on Friday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m. from the NYTEX Sports Centre. Coverage begins at 7:15 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) & FASTHockey.com.