RAYS REPORT #16: TURN OUT THE LIGHTS, THE PARTY’S OVER

 

The famous ending to Monday Night Football sung by former Cowboy Don Meredith can apply to the IceRays after the team was officially eliminated from playoff contention this past weekend with five games remaining in their inaugural season.  However, the team still has two big games at home next week against New Mexico with plenty of fantastic giveaways and chances to win some amazing prices.  Check out what happened against Texas as the team prepares to head out on the road this weekend for the last time.

GAME #1: Corpus Christi 1-5 Texas:  Seth Blair scored his first North American Hockey League (NAHL) goal and the IceRays scored on the power play for the fifth consecutive game, but it was not enough as the Texas Tornado won their fourth game in a row over the IceRays, 5-1, at the American Bank Center on Thursday night. 

GAME #2: Corpus Christi 6-7 (SO) Texas: The Corpus Christi IceRays relinquished five, one-goal leads, tied the contest late in the third period, but could not overcome the Texas Tornado as the Tornado won a wild 7-6 game in an eight-round shootout at the American Bank Center on Friday night.  Corpus Christi did not win a shootout for the first time this season after winning the previous six opportunities.  Colton Saucerman and Beau Walker each tallied in the shootout while Cody Milligan was denied for the first time this season on his fifth chance.

UPCOMING PROMOTIONS…Corpus Christi has just two games remaining at the American Bank Center on March 24th and 25th.  AT&T will be handing out RALLY TOWELS next Thursday on COLLEGE NIGHT with tickets for college students on sale for $5 dollars.  Friday, March 25th is PACK THE HOUSE NIGHT where the team will hold the raffle for the custom Harley-Davidson motorcycle with proceeds benefiting the RISE school of Corpus Christi.  Raffle tickets are $10.  Fine Jewelry Outlet will be on hand to give away their $10,000 diamond.  In order to be eligible, “like’ the FJO facebook page and head to the game for your chance to win.  YOU MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN.  Also, public skating will be available for $10 dollars and fans will be able to leave with the skates!

PINK IN THE RINK DRAWS NATIONAL ATTENTION: The IceRays’ third annual Pink in the Rink Night drew national attention for the team’s tremendous donation to the American Cancer Society.  Through a silent auction, donations, and a post-game jersey auction, the team raised $24,250 for the ACS.  Over the past three seasons, the team has averaged a donation of $36,000 for breast cancer research and awareness.  Brandon Marshall’s jersey went for the most after the game as his pink sweater fetched a $1,900 donation.  Check out the story from the North American Hockey League website, online at http://www.nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=2352

AROUND THE SOUTH DIVISION: Corpus Christi currently sits fifth in the South Division with a record of 18-31-4 (40 points).

 

CORPUS CHRISTI’S RECORDS AGAINST THE SOUTH:

 

AMARILLO: 2-8-0 (2 games remaining, 2 on road)

NEW MEXICO: 7-2-1 (2 games remaining, 2 at home)

TEXAS: 1-9-1 (1 games remaining, 1 on road)

TOPEKA: 0-6-0 (series complete)

WICHITA FALLS: 5-6-1 (series complete)

 

ICERAYS LEADERS:

 

GOALS: Michael Benedict, 23

ASSISTS: Beau Walker, 39

POINTS: Beau Walker, 58

PLUS/MINUS: Josh Obregon (+1)

PENALTY MINUTES: Brandon Marshall, 200

SHOTS: Michael Benedict, 165

WINS: Pheonix Copley, 13

GOALS AGAINST AVERAGE: Pheonix Copley, 4.27

SAVE PERCENTAGE: Pheonix Copley, .879

 

TURN OUT THE LIGHTS, THE PARTY’S OVER…With Wichita Falls winning in a shootout on Saturday in Frisco, the IceRays were officially eliminated from the playoffs.  Corpus Christi can still tie the ‘Cats on wins and points, but would lose the third tiebreaker (head-to-head) since the ‘Rays went 5-6-1 this season against Wichita Falls.

 

THE RAT PACK…Cody Milligan and Seth Blair, two members of the IceRays’ 17-year old club (Chance Creger and Petr Stloukal), had breakout weeks for the team at home.  Milligan tallied his first goal at home in regulation and his first since October 15th on Friday, March 11th.  Blair, a mid-season call-up, scored a goal in each game against Texas this week.  They were his first goals of the season and first in the NAHL.

 

MILES START TO PILE UP…Corpus Christi has put the most miles on their bus of any team in the North American Hockey League (NAHL).  After this weekend’s final road trip, the team will have racked up roughly 18,660 miles on the odometer this season.  For that amount of time, the team could have went roundtrip across the country 2 and ½ times.

 

SHOOTOUT SNAPPED…The IceRays dropped their first shootout of the season in a 7-6 loss to Texas on Friday.  Pheonix Copley, who was 12-13 on shootout chances, allowed three goals in eight rounds while Cody Milligan was denied for the first time in five chances.  Michael Benedict, who is tied for the league-lead with five shootout goals, could not cash in on his opportunity.

 

CHERASO’S FOUR FOR FOUR!  Forward Sam Cheraso is now four-for-four in fights this season after a knockout victory against Texas’ Seth Johnson this past week.

 

MARSHALL HITS 200…Brandon Marshall’s coincidental matching penalty with the Bulls’ Derek Hills on Monday night meant the Howell, MI native became the second player in the NAHL this season to hit 200 PIMs.  Dakota Klecha leads the league with 242.

 

CHECK THIS OUT…Corpus Christi played four consecutive games against Amarillo this past week.  In each of those four games the IceRays scored a power-play goal for the first goal of each game in the first period.  Yet, the team went 1-3-0 against the Bulls as on two occasions, the first goal would turn out to be the only goal for the IceRays.  The Bulls took seven of a possible eight points from Corpus Christi.

 

TOUGH TIME TO HIT A RUT…  The IceRays are 2-9-2 in their last 13 games.

 

“COP”ING OUT A VICTORY…Copley was tremendous for the IceRays on Saturday night, February 26th as he and the team won in a shootout over Amarillo.  The 19-year old made 45 saves in regulation and overtime while denying Amarillo a perfect four times in the shootout.  In addition, Copley denied Matt Johnson on a penalty shot in the second period to keep the game tied. 

 

3 OR FEWER…The IceRays are 15-6-1 this season when they allow fewer than three goals to their opponents.  When the team allows four or more they are 3-25-2 on the season, including an 0-20-2 mark when they allow five or more tallies.

 

20 SUITS BENNY WELL… Michael Benedict scored in the third period on February 4th in Topeka to become the first player in the NAHL IceRays’ history to reach the 20-goal plateau.

 

WALKER SIZES UP 20… Beau Walker sits one goal away from 20 on the season.

 

HALFWAY TO 100…Beau Walker became the first player this season to reach 50 points on February 11th with a first period assist.

 

THE BIG “O”…The other member of the IceRays’ top line with Benedict and Walker is left-winger Josh Obregon.  Since joining the IceRays 28 games into the season, Obregon has collected eight goals and 11 assists for 19 points in 24 games. 

 

ON THEIR BEST BEHAVIOR… The IceRays collected just 10 penalty minutes in the game on February 10th v. Texas, their fewest of the season.  Texas had four penalty minutes.  Combined with Corpus Christi’s 10, the 14 penalty minutes were the fewest combined PIMS in an IceRays game this season. 

 

ON THEIR BEST BEHAVIOR PT. 2…Corpus Christi continued their clean play the following night on February 11th matching their season-low with 10 penalty minutes.

 

RAYS ROBBED…Corpus Christi appeared to have tied Friday, February 6th’s game against Topeka with 16 seconds remaining in the third period, but Jason Souva’s apparent goal was waived off after referee Steven Thomson deemed the puck was covered.

 

SAUCE’S SEASON-HIGH…Colton Saucerman tallied four points against New Mexico on January 14th. It was a team-high for a single-game this season.  On the night, “Sauce” tallied two goals and two assists.

 

STLOUKAL STRIKES AT THE BUZZER…Petr Stloukal tallied as the 3rd period buzzer sounded in the team’s 6-3 loss at Amarillo on Sunday January 29th.  It was the latest goal scored by an IceRays player this season.  The Czech Republic native has five goals and six assists for 11 points in 15 games played for Corpus Christi since being acquired from the Chicago Steel (USHL).

 

POWER OUTAGE…Corpus Christi was shutout for the seventh time this season in a 6-0 loss to Topeka on Saturday, February 5th.

 

FINE JEWELRY OUTLET PLAYER OF THE MONTH…Jason Souva received the Fine Jewelry Outlet Player of the Month award for the month of February  During the month, he twice scored two goals in a game. 

 

SECOND IN ATTENDANCE…The IceRays is second (Wenatchee) in attendance this season.  Over 80,000 fans have watched the team at the American Bank Center in their inaugural season in the NAHL.

 

HOME ICE FOR SECOND HALF:  Corpus Christi will need a strong second half of the season to propel themselves into the playoffs.  They will be helped by the schedule as 15 of the team’s final 26 games are at the American Bank Center. 

 

NEW FACES:  A total of 45 players have played in a game for Corpus Christi this season. 

 

NAHL GOALTENDER OF THE MONTH:  Goalie Pheonix Copley was named the NAHL Goaltender of the Month for the month of November.  In the month, Copley went 4-3-0 with a 2.56 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage.  He became the first Corpus Christi player to win a monthly award.

 

SECOND PROSPECT TOURNAMENT…The Corpus Christi IceRays were represented by Michael Benedict and Beau Walker at the second Top Prospects Tournament held in Ann Arbor, MI on Feb. 20-22, 2011. 

 

THREE TOP PROSPECTS:  Corpus Christi was well represented at the 2010 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament in Boston held on Dec. 5-7.  Michael Benedict assisted in Team Rafalski’s first game while Kyle Hughes was a plus-2 (+2).  In the second game, Beau Walker scored a second period goal to help the team to victory.  Overall, the team was 2-1-0.

 

COLLEGE-BOUND…  Two members of the Corpus Christi defensive corps are both committed to Division-I schools.  Colton Saucerman will suit up for the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (Hockey East) in the fall of 2011 while Mychal Monteith will play for Mercyhurst College (Atlantic Hockey) in 2012.

 

FEBRUARY FUNK…Corpus Christi did not pick up their first victory in the month of February until their final game on February 26th in Amarillo.  Overall, the team went 1-5-1 in the month with the only victory coming in a shootout.

 

JANUARY JOLT…After dropping their first three games of January, the IceRays responded and won four of their next seven in the month to 4-6-0.  It was the first month this season that the IceRays did not have a single game reach overtime or a shootout.

 

DREARY DECEMBER…The IceRays went 2-5-0 in the month of December after a strong month of November.  The record includes two losses in the final minutes to Wichita Falls and Texas on the road.

 

I’LL BE GONE TILL NOVEMBER:  Corpus Christi was on the road for the majority of November on a seven-game road trip.  It was the longest road trip of the season.  The Rays went 4-3-0 on the road trip and was 5-4-0 for the entire month.

 

A STRONG SHOWING AT THE SHOWCASE:  Corpus Christi announced their arrival into the NAHL with a 3-1-0 record at the NAHL Showcase held in Blaine, MN on Sept. 15-18, 2010. 

 

LARGEST SINGLE-GAME CROWD IN THE NAHL:  On Saturday October 23, 2010, Corpus Christi set the benchmark for attendance in the NAHL with a crowd of 5,912 watching the team battle the Texas Tornado.  It was Military Appreciation Night at the American Bank Center which honored various law enforcement and military personnel and their families at the game.

 

WHAT’S ON TAP?Corpus Christi hits the road for the final time for a three-in-three weekend in two cities.  Friday’s game in Frisco starts at 7:30 PM, Saturday in Amarillo begins at 7:00 PM while the weekend closes with a 6:00 PM contest against the Bulls. Fans can listen to all the action with the voice of the IceRays, Ryan Holt, beginning 15 minutes prior to the games on the Rays flagship station, News/Talk 1440 AM KEYS.  The game is available for free online at www.1440KEYS.com or on the league’s pay-per-view website, www.fasthockey.com.  Be sure to get your tickets now by calling the IceRays front office at 361.814.PUCK (7825) or crash the net at www.goicerays.com.

 

 

              “THE NEW ICERAYS…TOMORROW’S STARS”