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PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ WILDCATS (GAME #49)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS @ WICHITA FALLS WILDCATS

Friday, March 10 • 7:05 P.M. • Kay Yeager Coliseum • Wichita Falls, TX
NAHL Game #552 • Game #49 • Home Game #24 • Series: WFS leads 6-2-0-0
Radio: SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM)
Video: Hockey TV • Twitter: @goicerays

Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. with Countdown To Faceoff

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays continue their five-game stretch against the Wichita Falls Wildcats and play the midway game of the three-game set from the Kay Yeager Coliseum.

Head-To-Head: The Wildcats took game one of the three game set and now have at least a share of the season series with just four games remaining, putting the IceRays down to a 2-4-1-1 record. The IceRays have earned points in half of their meetings but have yet to win two-straight. The IceRays are 22-35-8 against the Wildcats in the franchise series as well as 6-20-6 at the Kay Yeager Coliseum.

Last Night: The IceRays extended their point streak but fell 3-2 to the Wildcats in the fifth round of a shootout on Thursday night from the Kay Yeager Coliseum. Wildcats defenseman Jonathan Waring (7:01 1st) lifted a shot from the right point that went through traffic to open the scoring at 1-0 before IceRays forward Brad Power (10:54 1st) leveled the score, 1-1, with a shot from the high slot that bounced off a defenseman. The Wildcats gained back the lead at 2-1 when forward Ricky Carballo (15:06 1st) helped finish off a faceoff win with a push forward. The IceRays found the game-tying goal in the third period, and forward Brendan Miller (SH, 12:09 3rd) beat both a Wildcats defenseman and goaltender to a sliding puck in the Wildcats’ end and slipped it into the open net. After no scoring in the overtime period and four rounds of a shootout, Wildcats forward Jeff Skinner (5th round) finished the job in the fifth round to take the 3-2 win and the full two points. Wildcats goaltender Evan Moyse stopped 41 of 43 shots in the win, while IceRays netminder Tomáš Vomáčka halted 31 of 33 shots in the shootout loss.

Magic Number: Despite the shootout loss last night, the IceRays were still able to reduce their magic number by one point, now sitting at seven heading into tonight’s game. The IceRays, along with Shreveport and Wichita Falls, all still have the potential to clinch a playoff spot by the end of this weekend if Odessa is swept by Lone Star and the IceRays win both remaining games with one resulting in overtime. A team’s magic number is reduced when that team earns standings points, or when the team with the highest possible total points outside the playoffs fails to earn standings points.

Extra Struggles: The IceRays have had difficulty as of late to earn positive results after regulation time, falling in their third-straight game ending after regulation over the last three weeks. All three losses have come in the opening game of a weekend set. The team’s last post-regulation win came on January 12 in a 4-3 shootout win over Amarillo, but overall the IceRays are 1-6 since winning their first two post-regulation games in September. Over the last seven seasons, the IceRays are now 17-24 in games ending in a shootout as well as 38-42 in now 80 total games coming after the third period horn.

Points!: Even though the IceRays came up with a loss last night, they still extended their franchise-best point streak to 12 games since January 28 and remain the most productive team in the NAHL as of late. The IceRays are 9-0-2-1 in their last 12 games while only seeing losses to Lone Star and Wichita Falls, both teams above the IceRays in the division. On a more macro scale, the warm run began before the 2017 calendar year on December 10, and since then the IceRays have picked up points in 20 of their last 22 games, earning a 16-2-2-2 record in that span.

Short Equals Tall: IceRays forward Brendan Miller tacked on his second career shorthanded goal and his first of the season to help the IceRays continue their point streak. Both shorthanded goals came against the Wildcats with his first on Apr. 2, 2016 on home ice in a 4-2 win. The shorthanded goal is also the fifth for the IceRays this season, placing them tied for second in the South Division in that category, sharing that spot with Amarillo and only trailing Wichita Falls (8). The IceRays now have 46 shorthanded goals in junior franchise history, averaging 6.57 per season.

Extras Solved: While last night was the Wildcats’ second shootout win of the season, the organization has been a master at solving games after regulation. They improved to 2-2 in shootout games as well as 11-5 including overtime results this season while playing five more overtime games than the second-highest team in the league. The Wildcats lead the league in overtime points, but they don’t hold the best win percentage among all 24 teams, sitting fifth in the NAHL in that category behind Lone Star (.909), Aston (.750), Bismarck (.750), and New Jersey (.714). All 24 teams have at least three games played in overtime.

South Division Standings:
Lone Star Brahmas (39-13-1-0, 79 PTS)
Shreveport Mudbugs (29-15-2-2, 62 PTS)
Wichita Falls Wildcats (28-16-3-2, 61 PTS)

Corpus Christi IceRays (26-15-3-4, 59 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (18-24-5-1, 42 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (16-25-7-1, 40 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (16-29-4-1, 37 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays finish the road portion of their season series with the Wichita Falls Wildcats on Saturday, Mar. 11 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.