Friday, 02.23.18 / 9:54 pm CT
Photo: Chip Pitcairn
Battling the Amarillo Bulls on Catholic Diocese Night, the IceRays could not find a rhythm to their game and were shut out on home ice for the first time of the season by a 4-0 score.
A slow start handcuffed the IceRays, who were hosting a team in desperate need of points and played came out of the gates flying on Friday night. The Bulls outshot the Rays 11-3 in the opening period, but the game remained scoreless due to a handful of strong saves made by Chad Veltri.
Julian Makary nearly capped off an underwhelming period with a spectacular play, dangling his way around Marcus Chorney on a shorthanded rush, but his shot was denied by Jason Grande.
The IceRays started the second period with a bang after Angus Scott crushed Brendan Michaelian into the end boards with a clean, heavy hit. The Bulls co-captain was dinged up from the collision, but would return to action later in the period.
At 26:54, Brendan Miller and Nick Anderson were given off-setting double minors for roughing. With the IceRays captain in the penalty box, Amarillo struck twice with a 1:45 span. Billy Duma fed a pass to Alex Peterson from below the goal line into the right circle, where the Top Prospects placed a wrist shot under Veltri’s blocker to break the ice.
Just a couple of shifts later, Nick Stuckless fired a shot on net on a broken play from above the right circle. He managed to sneak it by Veltri and double the Bulls’ lead. At 35:59, the IceRays finally appeared to have had scored, but the goal was promptly waived off by Trevor Wohlford and the Rays entered the second intermission trailing 2-0.
At 46:09, Veltri made a pair of point blank saves but was finally beaten on the third chance by Trey Bagwell, who knocked the puck through his five-hole.
Grande remained perfect in the third period, stopping all eleven shots Corpus Christi threw his way. Peterson added his second goal of the game with a 200-foot empty net strike after the Rays pulled their goaltender in a desperate attempt to generate a late comeback.
Veltri was given his ninth regulation defeat of the season after stopping 29 of the 32 shots he faced, while Grande earned his third shutout against the IceRays on the campaign and his 15th overall win after stopping 24 of 24. The IceRays return to the American Bank Center tomorrow night with a chance to split the series against the Bulls on their third annual Heart Night, presented by AEP Texas, Autonation Ford, H-E-B and Physicians Premier. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:45 pm CT, but could potentially be delayed further. The game will be broadcast on HockeyTV.com and on YouTube, and the specialty jerseys the IceRays will wear throughout the night will be auctioned to the public in Section 112 after the game. Proceeds will benefit the American Heart Association of Corpus Christi.