CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – The Corpus Christi IceRays scored on their first shot of the game, but Nikifor Szczerba stopped the next 28 shots as the Amarillo Bulls controlled 59 minutes of play and beat the IceRays, 5-1, at the American Bank Center on Sunday afternoon. Amarillo scored three special teams goals in the contest. A crowd of 3,028 saw the Bulls improve to 32-11-5 (69 points) and the ‘Rays fall to 18-29-3 (39 points) on the season.
Beau Walker and Michael Benedict each had four-game point streaks snapped in the loss. Mason Murovich replaced Pheonix Copley in the second period and made 11 saves in over 39 minutes of action.
Corpus Christi defenseman Colton Saucerman (5) scored the quickest opening goal for the IceRays this season, 49 seconds into the first period, when his snap shot from just inside the blue line on the power play beat Szczerba clean to give the home team a 1-0 lead. It was the third consecutive game that the IceRays scored the first goal against Amarillo. The Bulls responded with the next four unanswered goals in the period as they hopped out to a commanding 4-1 lead. Cody Freeman (24; 3:04), Mitch Rogge (10; 7:22), Dan McDougall (3; 8:33), and Alex Wiese (1; 17:29) each beat Copley with Freeman’s goal coming on the power play and Wiese’s tally coming shorthanded. Amarillo carried the 4-1 lead with them into the intermission. The Bulls outshot the IceRays by a 14-9 margin.
Matt Johnson (20) chased Copley from the game, 54 seconds into the second period, when he stuffed a bad-angle shot through the IceRays’ netminder to put Amarillo ahead, 5-1. Murovich replaced Copley for the second time this season. Corpus Christi would go on to outshoot Amarillo, 16-6 in the period, but they could not beat Szczerba and Amarillo took a 5-1 lead into the third period.
The third period went scoreless as the IceRays finished the game a man short when Michael Benedict was ejected from the contest for an alleged elbow to the head of Szczerba. Final shots on goal were 29-26 in favor of Corpus Christi. Amarillo went 2-6 on the power play while the IceRays went 1-8 on the man advantage.
THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
- Dan McDougall (1-1-2)
- Matt Johnson (1-1-2)
- Alex Wiese (1-1-2)
The IceRays continue their four-game homestand on Monday, March 7th at 7:05 PM when they host the Amarillo Bulls at the American Bank Center. Fans can catch the pre-game show on the flagship home of the IceRays, News/Talk 1440 KEYS, www.1440KEYS.com, with the voice of the IceRays, Ryan Holt, beginning at 6:50 PM. The game will be available online through the league’s pay-per-view website, www.fasthockey.com. For more information call the Rays’ front office at 361.814.PUCK (7825) or crash the net at www.goicerays.com.
“THE NEW ICERAYS…TOMORROW’S STARS”