Saturday, 01.20.18 / 9:47 pm CT
Photo: Chip Pitcairn
In a tight, goaltending battle on Saturday night, Jake Acton pitched a 31-save shutout to lead the Rays to a series split over the Shreveport Mudbugs.
With the words of Brad Flynn ringing in their ears, the IceRays roared out of the gates and hit everything that moved. Brendan Miller (6’3, 190) dropped the gloves with Alex Spencer (6’4, 215) just 32 seconds into the contest, throwing in a flurry of right punches and knocking the alternate captain onto his wallet with a blow to the jaw.
It was exactly the start the IceRays were looking for, and they augmented Miller’s fight by delivering a plethora of body checks throughout the opening stanza. The best chance of the first period came on a 2-on-1 in which Blake Coffey fed Rylee St. Onge a slick pass across the slot, but the red-hot winger was denied on a backhand shot by the debuting Jaxon Castor.
The game slowly turned into a goaltending duel, as both Castor and Jake Acton remained perfect throughout the first 40 minutes of play. Castor had turned aside all 16 shots, while Acton denied all 22 shots thrown his way in the first two periods.
Finally, at 48:34, the Rays broke the stalemate. Matt Novo rushed the puck into the offensive zone and fired a heavy wrist shot over Castor. It bounced off the bottom of the crossbar and into the net, electrifying the American Bank Center and putting the IceRays up 1-0. After a brief discussion amongst the officials, it was agreed that the goal stood.
Acton fought off shot after shot, facing a retaliatory multitude of Shreveport shots. He made nine third period saves and held off the relentless attack, giving the IceRays their first shutout of the season and his fourth win.
Castor also impressed in his Mudbugs debut, stopping 21 of the IceRays’ 22 shots but being charged with the defeat regardless. The IceRays will head out to Odessa and take on the Jackalopes next Friday, January 26th at 7:11 pm. The game will be broadcast on HockeyTV.com and on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (1230 AM, 95.1 FM, 96.1 FM).