AMARILLO, Texas – The 2018-19 season of Corpus Christi IceRays hockey came to a close Monday night in a 3-1 loss to the Amarillo Bulls at the Budweiser Bull Pen at Amarillo Civic Center. The Bulls rallied from a 2-0 series deficit to win the best-of-five South Division Semi-Finals, 3-2.
The Bulls scored two goals in the first 10 minutes of the game, including a power play tally from Brett Abdelnour (3:45) and a blocker-side shot by David Ojamae (9:39).
Just over three minutes later, Nicholas Seitz intercepted an Amarillo clearing attempt and bounced the puck off the end wall. Nikita Krivokrasov found the puck and bounced it off Bulls netminder Jason Grande to score the IceRays’ lone goal of the contest.
The game remained 2-1 until Alex Peterson scored a shorthanded, empty-net goal with 31 seconds remaining in the contest. During a late penalty kill, the IceRays had pulled goaltender Brian George to put the game back to 5-on-5 with an empty net, but Peterson sealed the series with his third goal of the first round.
Amarillo outshot Corpus Christi by a 33-27 margin. Game 5 was the only game of the series in which the home team was victorious.
2019 NAHL Robertson Cup Playoffs – South Division Semi-Finals
1-Amarillo Bulls vs. 4-Corpus Christi IceRays
Bulls win best-of-five series 3-2
Gm. 1 Friday, April 12 at Amarillo W 6-5
Gm. 2 Saturday, April 13 at Amarillo W 6-5 (OT)
Gm. 3 Thursday, April 18 AMERICAN BANK CENTER L 3-4 (OT)
Gm. 4 Friday, April 19 AMERICAN BANK CENTER L 2-5
Gm. 5 Monday, April 22 at Amarillo L 1-3
The top-seeded Bulls advance to the South Division Finals to take on the Lone Star Brahmas or Shreveport Mudbugs. Those two teams are tied 2-2 in double overtime of Game 5 at the time of this release.
Led by first-year Head Coach/GM Ryan Cruthers, the IceRays finished the regular season with a record of 29-28-2-1 (61 pts.), setting many team records along the way including a junior franchise record nine-game winning streak from Nov. 24 through Dec. 28. Blake Bennett became the fourth IceRay to record 60 points (22+38) in a regular season and registered a team-high eight points (4+4) in the playoffs.
Corpus Christi expects to return a good number of players next season. Nine 1998-born players had their junior careers come to a finish Monday: Bennett, Anthony Firriolo, Nick Godfrey, Matthew Headland, Austin Koss, Kyle Moore, Jake Stella, Mitch Walinski and Anthony Yurkins—while additional younger players will advance to college hockey this fall.
For more information on the IceRays, call 361-814-PUCK (7825) or visit goicerays.com.