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PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ WINGS (GAME #4)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS ABERDEEN WINGS

Wednesday, September 21 at 2:15 P.M. • Schwan Super Rink #1 • Blaine, MN
Game #4 • NAHL Showcase Game #1 • Video: FASTHockey.com • Twitter: @goicerays

Coverage begins at 2:10 p.m. with Countdown To Faceoff

Today’s Game: The IceRays open the 2016 NAHL Showcase against the Aberdeen Wings from Schwan Ruper Rink 1.

NAHL Showcase: The IceRays embark on the 2016 NAHL Showcase this week, playing four games in four days at the league’s premier scouting event. The IceRays have appeared in 24 NAHL Showcase games over the last six seasons, recording a 11-10-3 record. Last season, the IceRays earned a 1-3-0 record including a comeback overtime victory against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. The IceRays have never played any of their four opponents prior to this week.

Last Game: The IceRays slipped in the third period of a very physical 5-2 loss to the Wichita Falls Wildcats on Saturday night at the Kay Yeager Coliseum. IceRays forward Brad Power (4:36 2nd) opened the scoring on a two-on-one in the middle frame to take a 1-0 lead before Wildcats forwards Ryan Burnett (PP, 16:21 2nd) and Aleksi Poikola (18:44 2nd) turned the tide with two quick goals to gain a 2-1 lead. The IceRays answered on the man-advantage thanks to forward David Thomson (PP, 8:34 3rd) to tie the game, 2-2. Wildcats defensemen Domantas Cypas (13:27 3rd) and Jonathan Waring (16:02, 3rd; EN, 16:37 3rd) took back the game for the home side, giving the Wildcats the 5-2 win late. Evan Moyse (2-0-2) halted 24 of 26 shots in the win, while Tomáš Vomáčka (1-2-0) turned aside 29 of 33 shots in the loss.

Three-Day Troubles: The IceRays haven’t had the best luck in three-game sets over their junior franchise history. Outside of the NAHL Showcase, the IceRays have participated in 14 three-game, three-day sets, going 17-22-3 including 4-9-1 in the third day of the set. Last season, the IceRays played two three-game sets against the Lone Star Brahmas, recording a 2-3-1 and 0-2-0 on day three. The last series win during a three-in-three game in Jan. 29-31, 2015 against the Odessa Jackalopes (3-2 OTW, 7-3 W, 6-4 W).

Special Specialist: IceRays forward David Thomson continues to be an exceptional weapon on the power play early in the season. In three games last week, the 19-year-old earned three power play goals including two (and the game-winner) in Thursday’s 4-3 overtime win. With an assist, Thomson shares the team lead in points with Cody Fleckenstein and sits tied for second in the NAHL in points as well as first in power play goals.

Crime Stoppers: Despite a high number of opportunities for opponents on the power play, the IceRays penalty kill has looked strong in the first three games, only allowing two goals on 19 chances (89.47%) against Wichita Falls. However, the IceRays have allowed 15 power plays over their last two games, during which the team failed to record wins. In last Saturday’s game, IceRays defenseman Tucker White recorded five minor penalties and one 20-minute game ejection, resulting in a tie for the highest penalty minute total in junior franchise history. He shares that mark with Jacob Diamond, who also racked up 30 penalty minutes on Oct. 9, 2010 in a 3-2 win over the New Mexico Mustangs.

Wing Dings: The Aberdeen Wings opened their 2016-17 schedule with a 7-2 loss to the Bismarck Bobcats on Saturday night from the VFW Sports Center. Wings forward Carson Dimoff (9:29 1st) picked up the team’s first goal of the season before Bismarck came back with four-unanswered to take control of the game. Bobcats defenseman Brandon Young (17:09 1st) and forwards Austin Junger (PP, 7:23 2nd), Tobias Fladeby (PP, 7:55 2nd) and Nick Alexander (SH, 11:17 2nd) all pushed the Bobcats ahead 4-1 before Wings forward Tyler Bossert (PP, 13:04 2nd) answered to draw within two, 4-2. Bismarck put the game away in the third thanks to forwards Parker Mismash (6:41 3rd; 11:45 3rd) and Zach Kennedy (10:54 3rd) to seal the 7-2 win. Will Ulrich (1-0-0) saved 34 of 36 in the win, while Arrtu Kulmala (0-1-0) halted 21 of 28 in the loss.

Same Face, New Place: The Aberdeen Wings are now led by a familiar head coach: Scott Langer, who spent 12 seasons leading the Topeka RoadRunners and six of those against the IceRays. Under Langer-led teams, the IceRays are 7-19-4 over the last six seasons, however the IceRays earned a sparkling 4-1-1 record against the RoadRunners under Langer including the first weekend sweep of the team (Jan. 1-2), the first winning record against Topeka (5-2-1 total record) and a 5-3-2 record over the last two seasons. The Wings earned a 22-27-11 record, finishing sixth in the Central Division, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2012-13.

South Division Standings:
Wichita Falls Wildcats (2-0-2-0, 6 PTS)
Lone Star Brahmas (1-0-0-0, 2 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (1-0-0-0, 2 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (1-2-0-0, 2 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (1-2-0-0, 2 PTS)
Shreveport Mudbugs (0-0-0-0, 0 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (0-3-0-0, 0 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays continue the 2016 NAHL Showcase on Thursday, Sep. 22 at 10:15 1.m. against the Minnesota Magicians from Schwan Super Rink 4. Coverage begins all week long just before the opening faceoff exclusively in high definition on FASTHockey.com.