Saturday, 01.06.18 / 10:08 pm CT
Photo: Rebekah Bing
Seeking their second consecutive sweep over the Lone Star Brahmas on Saturday night, the IceRays fell behind in the first period and could not erase the deficit, falling 5-1 in North Richland Hills.
The IceRays had a slow start, generating only a single registered shot on goal. Just three minutes in, Julian Biondo came down the left wing on a 2-on-1, and fed a pass across to Connor Pooley who opened the scoring.
Offsetting roughing minors called against Ryan Rosenberg and Justin Addamo were the only penalties in the opening 20 minutes. They were inconsequential, and Lone Star would double their lead before the period ended.
With just 44 seconds remaining in the opening stanza, Jon Russell, playing in just his second game as a Brahma, weaved into the right circle and fired a wrist shot over Chad Veltri for his 20th goal of the season.
Just 1:42 into the following stanza, Rylee St. Onge extended his goal-scoring streak to five games. He finished off a shot after a rebound given up by Harrison Feeney on an IceRays power play. St. Onge’s tally was his third goal on the week.
Fans at NYTEX Sports Centre feared for a case of dejavu, but Russell snuffed out the Rays’ comeback efforts. On a delayed penalty against Corpus Christi, Steven Ipri skated the puck down the right side and fed Russell a circle-to-circle pass, and he buried his second goal of the game.
With just under a minute remaining in the second period, Russell found himself on a breakaway from center-ice in. He snuck a shot through Veltri to complete the hat trick and put the Rays in a 4-1 hole heading into the third period.
Despite heavily outshooting and out-attacking the Brahmas at the start of the third period, the Rays couldn’t solve Feeney a second time. He made a number of key saves, giving Lone Star a momentum boost which led to a fifth goal. Ture Linden passed the puck to Connor Stuart above the right circle, where the defenseman slapped a shot past Jake Acton to take the wind out of the IceRays’ sails.
Veltri was given his eighth regulation loss of the season, stopping 10 of Lone Star’s 14 shots. Acton made 7 of a possible 8 saves in relief. Feeney earned his first victory against Corpus Christi this season and his fourth overall, denying 15 of the IceRays’ 16 attempts. The IceRays return to Corpus Christi to host the Amarillo Bulls for the first time this season on Friday, January 12th at the American Bank Center. Puck drop is set for 7:05 pm CT. The game will be broadcast on HockeyTV.com and on YouTube.