ODESSA, Texas – The Corpus Christi IceRays jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening minute of Friday’s game and never looked back, skating to a 6-1 victory against the Odessa Jackalopes at Ector County Coliseum. The IceRays (14-11-1-0, 29 pts.) grabbed sole possession of fourth place in the South Division with their fifth-consecutive victory.
Goaltender Brian George stopped 25 of 26 shots. Blake Bennett picked up three points (1+2), including his team-leading 15th goal of the season. Santeri Hartikainen improved his point streak to seven games with a goal and an assist.
The IceRays had another strong performance on special teams, going 3-for-6 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. Corpus Christi now has the second-best percentage on the power play in the 24-team NAHL and is tied for seventh on the penalty kill.
Bennett scored on the game’s first shot (0:33), then Nikita Krivokrasov, on the game’s second shot, banked one in off a defenseman to record his first career NAHL goal (0:58). The two opening-minute goals chased saveless Odessa starter Kade Phipps from the contest in favor of backup goaltender Alex Camarre.
Defenseman Anthony Firriolo improved the lead to 3-0 at the 8:18 mark. Less than a minute later, Jared Christy recorded the Jackalopes’ only goal of the game.
Jake Stella tipped the puck in on a 5-on-3 power play in the second period, then Jack Smiley received a pass from Bennett and buried a (5-on-4) power-play goal less than a minute later, as the IceRays carried a 5-1 lead into the second intermission.
Hartikainen lit the lamp at the 16:24 mark of the third period to secure the five-goal victory.
Corpus Christi is now 5-0-0-0 this season against Odessa, outscoring the Jackalopes by a 31-10 margin. The IceRays and Jackalopes conclude a stretch of five games in nine nights against each other Saturday night in Odessa. Tune into Sportsradio Corpus Christi, HockeyTV or Mixlr to catch all of the action starting at 7:00 PM CT.
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).