TOPEKA, Kan. – The Corpus Christi IceRays picked up a 7-5 win against the Topeka Pilots Friday night inside Landon Arena at Kansas Expocentre. Nicholas Seitz (2+1) broke the game’s third tie with the game-winning goal midway through the third period.
The IceRays (25-24-1-0, 51 pts.) improved their lead over the Pilots (18-25-2-5, 43 pts.) for fourth place in the NAHL South Division. Blake Bennett registered four assists.
Santeri Hartikainen became the first IceRays player to hit the 20-goal mark this season, opening the scoring at the 6:11 mark with a glove-side shot off a feed from Seitz. The IceRays then made it 2-0 thanks to a power play tally from Kyle Moore at 8:32.
Topeka got on the board late in the first period when Michael Muschitiello sent a shot over Brian George’s blocker at 16:31. The Pilots then tied the game at 6:23 of the second period thanks to Hugh Quinn.
49 seconds later, Mitch Walinski regained the lead for the IceRays, but Quinn tied the game once again at 14:45.
During a 5-on-3 advantage, Seitz put Corpus Christi back on top, receiving the puck on a sneaky switch behind the cage with Jake Stella and tucking the puck past Topeka netminder Emil Gransoe on a wraparound. Stella then scored one of his own in the final minute of the second period to put the IceRays up 5-3 at the second intermission.
The Pilots tied the game early in the third period off goals from Cole Thiessen (0:24) and Austin McCarthy (PPG, 4:30).
Seitz picked up the game-winner on a stick-side rebound of Hartikainen’s shot at 9:58. Moore then added an empty net goal with 57.4 seconds left to cap the game’s scoring.
The IceRays outshot the Pilots by a 42-28 margin.
The IceRays close their Sunflower State trip with a 7:05 PM rematch against the Pilots Saturday night at Landon Arena. IceRays games are carried live on Sportsradio Corpus Christi (1230 AM/95.1 FM/96.1 FM), HockeyTV and Mixlr with the pre-game show starting 15 minutes prior to faceoff. For more information, visit goicerays.com/broadcast.
Four regular season home games remain for the IceRays, including next weekend against the Lone Star Brahmas. Friday, March 15 is Fortnite Night presented by Grande Communications, featuring an Xbox One giveaway. Saturday, March 16 is CASA Night presented by Whataburger and KIII-TV, raising money for CASA of the Coastal Bend. Single game tickets, group tickets and suites for the remainder of the 2018-19 IceRays season are on sale now. 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).