PREVIEW: ICERAYS VS. WILDCATS (GAME #58)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

WICHITA FALLS WILDCATS

Saturday, April 2 at 7:11 P.M.

Game #58 • NAHL Game #636 • Series: WFS leads 7-2-0
American Bank Center • Corpus Christi, 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 close the 2015-16 home schedule against the Wichita Falls Wildcats at the American Bank Center on Pack The House For Charity.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays picked up their second-straight win against the Wildcats for the first time this season and since Jan. 23, 2015 to Mar. 13, 2015 in non-consecutive games. The win moves their season series to a 2-7-0 record after dropping the first seven games. The two sides play the second of four-straight to close the season, and the IceRays are now 14-14-1 at home against the Wildcats and 19-30-6 all-time. The IceRays have only swept the Wildcats once: Jan. 20-21, 2011 at home with a 5-2 win and 2-1 overtime victory.

Last Night: The IceRays earned a full two points in thrilling fashion with a 3-2 overtime win over the Wildcats on Friday night at the American Bank Center. Wildcats forward Garrett VanWyhe (16:52 1st) got the scoring started with a one-time shot to take a 1-0 lead following a tight first period. The IceRays answered back in the second period with two goals coming from forward Brad Power (PP, 9:13 2nd) on an odd-angled shot and forward Mason Krueger (13:16 2nd) with the help of a rogue deflection to leap frog the Wildcats and take a 2-1 lead heading into the third period. Wildcats forward Nikita Litviak (17:31 3rd) also found a fortunate bounce to send the game into overtime tied 2-2. On a two-on-one rush, Power (4:36 OT) tapped in a one-timer to seal the 3-2 win. Dryden McKay saved 23 of 25 shots in the win, and Justin Kapelmaster halted 35 of 38 shots in the loss.

Playoff Push: With last night’s win, the IceRays move into a share of fourth place with the Odessa Jackalopes with just three games to go. The Jackalopes currently own the tie-breaker with more wins this season (25), but the IceRays need to earn just one point more than the Jackalopes in the final four games to clinch the playoffs. If the IceRays win and Jacks lose, the IceRays will move into a two-point lead heading into next week and take back control of their own destiny. If both teams win or lose, the tie will head into the final weekend. If the IceRays lose and Jacks win, then the IceRays will slip back by two points and give the Jacks a chance to clinch with a win next Friday or an IceRays loss on Thursday. If both teams have the same record at the end of the season, the IceRays will advance based on the third tie-breaker (head-to-head goal differential, +4).

Powering Up: IceRays forward Brad Power earned two goals last night to help the home side win in overtime. It was his first multi-goal game of the season, first multi-point game since January 15 against Lone Star (goal, assist) and sixth multi-point game this season. While the game broke a four-game drought, Power’s last four games with points were all goals, recording five goals in his last eight games. Additionally, with Drake Lindsay’s two assists and Carter Johnson’s one assist, the team’s top-three point scorers earned five of the team’s eight points. The assist for Johnson broke a six-game point drought.

Tightly Knit: The IceRays have been playing in numerous close games over the last portion of the season as the playoffs approach. The team and their opponents have been separated by no more than two goals in 14 of their last 15 games dating back to February 12 with the only one outside that margin being a 6-3 win against Odessa. Last night’s one-goal differential was the seventh in that same span and fourth in their last six games. The IceRays are 3-2-2 in one-goal games and 2-5-0 in two-goal games over their last 15 contests.

Rare Occurrences: The Wildcats were held to 25 shots or less in two-straight game and for just the third time over their last 20 games. Wichita Falls has a propensity for taking shots, sitting second in the NAHL in shots per game (34.04) and outshooting their opponents in 44 of their 57 games (77.19%). Last night was just the 12th time this year the Wildcats were held to 25 shots or less, and in those contests the team is 9-2-1 despite being held down but were beaten in three of their last four games in the situation.

Power Ahead: The Wildcats were held without a power play goal for just the second time this season and first since the opening game of the season series on Oct. 8, 2015. Their dominance still continues despite their lack of advantage goals, owning 13 goals in 35 chances (37.14%). The Wildcats still have power play goals in seven of their nine meetings and multi-goal outputs in four of those games. As a comparison, the IceRays are now 2-for-36 (5.56%) this season on the power play against the Wildcats. Wichita Falls ranks third in the NAHL in overall power play percentage.

South Division Standings:
x-Wichita Falls Wildcats (42-10-5, 89 PTS)
x-Lone Star Brahmas (38-11-8, 84 PTS)
x-Topeka RoadRunners (33-23-1, 67 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (25-28-4, 54 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (24-27-6, 54 PTS)
z-Amarillo Bulls (11-42-4, 26 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays hit the road for the final weekend of the season on Thursday, April 7 at 7:05 p.m. to begin a two-game set against the Wichita Falls Wildcats at the Kay Yeager Coliseum. Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) and FASTHockey.com.