CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Corpus Christi IceRays picked up their seventh victory of the season against the Odessa Jackalopes in a 5-1 decision Friday night at the American Bank Center. Newcomer Mitch Walinski scored twice, and defenseman Anthony Firriolo notched four assists, as the IceRays got above the .500 mark (23-22-1-0, 47 pts.) to improve their lead for the fourth-and-final playoff spot in the South Division.
Nicholas Seitz (1+2) and Santeri Hartikainen (1+1) also recorded multi-point nights, and goaltender Brian George finished with 33 saves on 34 shots faced.
Walinski, acquired at last week’s trade deadline from the Bismarck Bobcats, opened the scoring 4:10 into the first period by deflecting in a left-point shot from Firriolo. Seitz then doubled the lead with 1:24 remaining in the frame when he fired a shot through a Nikita Krivokrasov screen for a power-play tally.
John Serafin notched the lone Odessa goal of the contest 10:15 into the second period with a high shot from the right point, but the IceRays responded less than three minutes later when Seitz fed Hartikainen for a power-play one-timer.
In the third period, Tyler Love cashed in on a feed from Kyle Moore and buried a glove-side shot to make it 4-1 IceRays at 4:43. Just over three minutes later, Corpus Christi had an extra attacker due to a delayed penalty, and Walinski tipped in Seitz’s rebound to score the game’s final goal. Following Corpus Christi’s fifth goal, the Jackalopes pulled goaltender Alex Camarre, and backup netminder Kade Phipps stopped all four shots he faced in the game’s final 11:11.
The IceRays outshot the Jackalopes by a 40-34 margin. Corpus Christi scored two power-play tallies and denied all five man-advantage chances for Odessa.
The IceRays and Jackalopes meet for an eighth-and-final time this season with a 7:05 PM rematch Saturday night at American Bank Center. IceRays games are carried live on Sportsradio Corpus Christi (1230 AM/95.1 FM/96.1 FM), HockeyTV and Mixlr. Visit goicerays.com or call 361-814-PUCK (7825) for tickets or more information. Stay connected with the IceRays on Facebook (/CorpusChristiIceRays), Twitter (@goicerays) and Instagram (CorpusChristiIceRays).