Rays Falter on Teacher Appreciation Night

Friday, 01.19.18 / 9:54 pm CT
Photo: Chip Pitcairn

The IceRays dropped a 6-2 decision to the Shreveport Mudbugs on Friday at the American Bank Center on Friday.

Despite drawing another stellar crowd, the Rays did find themselves in an early hole against the Mudbugs. Less than a minute after dropping their first power play, the Bugs scored following an IceRays icing when Brendan Gysbers slung a long-range shot off the backboards. The puck ricocheted to the goal line, and Jake Transit smacked it past Jake Acton before the IceRays goaltender could reset.

Jack Clement doubled the Bugs’ lead on their second power play of the game, finding a loose puck which caromed off Acton. From the bottom of the right circle, Clement tapped it past the goal line to give Shreveport a 2-0 advantage.

With only 27 seconds remaining in the opening stanza, the Rays struck just 14 seconds into the first power play of the game. Trevor Wilhelm fired a wrist shot from the blue line, and Brendan Miller redirected the puck past Gustavs Grigals for his 10th goal of the season. Miller’s now scored nine points in as many games.

Corpus Christi had momentum to start the second period, generating five consecutive shots before the Mudbugs could answer with one of their own. However, they managed to quell the Rays’ push in the most unlikely of circumstances.

While shorthanded, Transit skated down his off-wing and left a pass for Clement, who was trailing closely behind him. The Shreveport defenseman ripped a shot over Acton’s blocker inside the left post to regain a two-goal advantage.

Jonatan Asplund, playing in his Mudbugs debut, would extend the lead just 1:19 later. From the left point, the blue-liner released a heavy wrist shot which deflected past Acton and into the net, giving the Bugs a 4-1 lead.

At 33:09, Larry Jungwirth extended his point streak to six games. Skating down the right wing on a 2-on-1 with Miller on his left, Jungwirth used the IceRays captain as a decoy and roofed the puck over Grigals’ glove to bring the Rays back to within two.

However, Shreveport was again able to quickly suppress the IceRays’ momentum. While falling down to his knees, Jordan Fader somehow managed to cross the puck through the slot and onto the tape for Ryan Burnett, who turned his body and tucked it under Acton’s glove to give the Mudbugs a 5-2 lead.

With six minutes remaining in regulation, Blake Coffey tried to ignite his team by dropping the gloves with Burnett. The scrap immediately led to an IceRays chance, as Miller found himself on a pseudo-breakaway with Clement closing on him. Miller’s shot was turned aside by Grigals, and Kieran Durgan would put the final nail in the coffin on a rebound goal right after a faceoff at 57:24.

Acton stopped 35 of 41 shots in his third regulation defeat, while Grigals denied 17 of 19 for his 13th win. The IceRays and Mudbugs will close the series tomorrow night at the American Bank Center. Puck drops at 7:05 pm. The game will be broadcast on HockeyTV.com and on YouTube.