CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Corpus Christi IceRays completed the weekend sweep of the Odessa Jackalopes with a 5-2 win Saturday night at American Bank Center. Jack Smiley scored his first two goals as an IceRay, including the Teddy Bear Toss goal, triggering over 1,200 stuffed animals to be launched onto the ice in celebration.
The bears will be donated locally to children in the Coastal Bend community through various organizations.
Sam Best made a season-high 46 saves to record his seventh win of the season.
The win, Corpus Christi’s third in a row, and fourth in its last five games, put the 2018-19 IceRays (12-11-1-0, 25 pts.), guided by head coach Ryan Cruthers and assistant coach Trevor Jewell, above the .500 mark and secured the best start to the season in junior franchise history (2010-present).
The Teddy Bear Toss goal, created by a feed down the slot from Matthew Headland, was scored at the 6:54 mark of the first period, as Smiley caught the pass and buried a point-blank, glove-side shot from the top of the crease. Santeri Hartikainen then recorded his third power-play goal of the weekend, and 10th overall goal of the season, at 15:53, as the IceRays went into the first intermission with a 2-0 lead.
Smiley scored again midway through the second period with another goal in tight on Odessa netminder Alex Camarre. Blake Bennett then sniped a power-play goal over Camarre’s shoulder to make it 4-0 IceRays. Connor Fedorek scored late in the period to get the Jackalopes on the board, ending Best’s shutout bid after over 30 saves.
Shortly after a faceoff in the left circle, Jack Sampson fired home his fifth goal of the season at the 3:33 mark of the third period, putting the IceRays up 5-1. The Jackalopes responded 35 seconds later with the game’s final goal coming from the stick of Kyle Herbster.
Odessa outshot Corpus Christi by a 48-45 margin. The IceRays are now 3-0-0-0 this season against the Jackalopes with three more meetings this coming week, plus a mid-February weekend set in Corpus Christi. In total, the IceRays play their next 10 games on the road, including this Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 13-15, at Odessa. Puck drop all three nights is set for 7:11 PM CT and will be carried live on Sportsradio Corpus Christi, HockeyTV and Mixlr.
Corpus Christi’s next home games will take place on Jan. 11-12, 2019 against the Shreveport Mudbugs.
Single game tickets, season seat memberships, 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).