Friday, 12.29.17 / 10:26 pm CT
Photo: Chip Pitcairn
Hoping to become the first team all season to sweep the Shreveport Mudbugs, special teams cost the IceRays who fell just shy and dropped a 3-2 decision on Friday night.
Starting the night with their most dominant period of the series, the IceRays opened the scoring just 2:46 into the game. James Durham appeared shaky on the first handful of saves he made, and Ryan Rosenberg took advantage.
In just his second game in an IceRays uniform, Rosenberg scored his first goal as an IceRay and redeemed himself from the previous night, in which two of his backhand shots were blocked to deny him of a goal. Skating the puck through center and across the blue line with speed, he fired a heavy wrist shot on net. Durham flashed his glove to make the save, but the puck bounced up and over him and landed in the back of the net.
Starting for the second consecutive night, Jacob Acton was perfect in net throughout the opening 20 minutes. He made stopped all six shots the Mudbugs sent his way.
The first penalty of the game was called against Dominick Procopio for high-sticking Larry Jungwirth 22 seconds into the second period. Just 22 seconds later, Kieran Durgan rushed the puck into the Corpus Christi zone, deked to gain some separation from Rylee St. Onge, and sniped a shot inside the left post to beat Acton low-blocker side. The strike was Durgan’s first goal against the IceRays on the season, as well as his first shorthanded goal.
Angus Scott later delivered a heavy check on Jake Transit, which caused a stanchion to dislodge and ultimately led to a pane of glass falling and shattering into hundreds of fragments on the ice. The American Bank Center rink crew made short work of cleaning up the mess and reinstalling the glass, and play resumed.
At 14:48, Jungwirth charged the puck out of his own zone after a costly pinch made by Andrew Lane. Jungwirth delayed and then fed St. Onge a perfect pass from circle to circle, and the Canadian winger buried his second goal of the series to regain the IceRays’ lead.
Taking just their second penalty of the game proved costly, as the Rays’ shorthanded unit couldn’t keep the Mudbugs off the board. Procopio unleashed a wrist shot from above the left circle, and the rebound stemming off Acton’s save landed right on Gueorgui Feduolov’s stick. In a near identical fashion to Shreveport’s lone goal from Thursday, the Bugs tied the game 2-2.
Going to overtime for the eighth time in their last fourteen games proved inconsequential for the IceRays, who took the Mudbugs to a shootout to decide the contest. Red-hot stars Aleksi Peltonen, St. Onge, and Jungwirth were all denied by Durham. Feduolov managed to barely sneak the puck through Acton’s pads and across the goal line, which was enough to give Shreveport the shootout victory.
Acton was given the shootout loss, denying 39 of Shreveport’s 41 shots. Durham stopped 30 of 32 and earned his 13th victory on the campaign. The IceRays will have a chance to avenge themselves on Tuesday, as they will take on the Mudbugs at George’s Pond. Puck drop is set for 7:11 pm CT. The game will be broadcast on HockeyTV.com and on SportsRadio Corpus Christi.