CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – Special teams in the second period doomed the Corpus Christi IceRays (21-24-6) as they fell 3-1 to the Wichita Falls Wildcats (38-9-4) on Friday night at the American Bank Center.
The IceRays put up a heavy amount of pressure in the opening and found the game’s first tally quickly. At 1:49, defenseman Colton Meekhof flipped a shot from the left point that slid through traffic and underneath the Wildcats netminder to jump out to a 1-0 lead. After a hefty load of pressure in the opening five minutes, the Wildcats found their legs and started to force themselves back into the contest. Defense was the strength of the first period for the IceRays, turning away open shots and cutting off numerous outlet passes to open territory.
Special teams and the second period came back to haunt the IceRays as the Wildcats took control of the contest. With the man-advantage, Wildcats defenseman Noah Gilreath took a shot from the left point that found a seam through traffic to tie the game, 1-1. Shortly after IceRays forward Brad LeLievre and Wildcats forward Trent Dillinger dropped the gloves, the IceRays took another penalty that the Wildcats would convert on. Less than 10 seconds after the penalty at 14:05, Wildcats forward Austin Albrecht found a loose puck to the right of the net and slotted it into an open goal mouth to take the 2-1 lead. The Wildcats outshot the IceRays 20-4 in the middle frame.
Play leveled off in the third period with a majority of the contest coming in the neutral zone, and defensive maneuvers by the IceRays kept them trailing by one. With the IceRays net empty, Wildcats forward Erich Jaeger lofted a shot from the center line to seal the 3-1 win at 19:23.
Wildcats goaltender Justin Kapelmaster (28-6-2) earned the win, stopping 19 of 20 shots, while IceRays netminder Dryden McKay (11-10-2) was slotted with the loss, turning away 35 of 37 shots. The IceRays close out their weekend set against the Wichita Falls Wildcats on Saturday, March 12 at 7:11 p.m. from the American Bank Center. Tickets are available at www.Ticketmaster.com, the American Bank Center Box Office, or the IceRays Front Office. Coverage begins at 6:55 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, FASTHockey.com, and 87.7FM in-arena.
Contact the IceRays Front Office at 361-814-PUCK or go to www.goicerays.com for details on season tickets along with pricing and seating. In addition, stay connected with the IceRays on Facebook (/CorpusChristiIceRays), Twitter (@goicerays), YouTube (IceRays TV), Instagram (CorpusChristiIceRays), Vine (@goicerays), and Periscope (@goicerays).