The IceRays are re-introducing the play of the year competition to recap the golden moments from the most recent season in a single elimination style tournament. The field has been narrowed down to the 16-best goals, moves, and saves from the 2015-16 season and seeded based on organizational rank. Now, YOU must decide which will be crowned the 2016 IceRays Best of the Bend!
(12) Cavanagh Creates An Alley To Score
Round 1 Results — 63% of the vote
Sometimes all it takes is some speed, space, and a bit of skill to create a scoring chance for the team, and IceRays Rookie of the Year Regen Cavanagh caught all three during Heart Night Weekend. On February 26 against the Odessa Jackalopes, the IceRays trailed 2-1 heading into the third period and found the equalizer that sent the game into overtime just 35 seconds in. Coming from his own end, Cavanagh raced up the right wing and came into the Odessa blue line uncontested. Once he hit the line, he slipped through the middle of two flat-footed defensemen (as well as stick checks) and snaped a shot by the waiting netminder from the right side of the goal across his body to the left. That was his sixth power play goal of the year and the fifth-straight game with a point despite the 3-2 overtime loss. He would finish his point streak at eight games, which is one shy of the junior franchise record set just last season.
(13) – Krueger's Needle-Thread & Backhand Flip
Round 1 Results — 58% of the vote
The final underdog of the opening week happened just after the start of the calendar year and in the final game of the four-game, five-day stretch crossing into the New Year as well as the second half of the season. After the IceRays earned their first shutout of the year on New Year's Day, they were tightened up in a 1-1 game in the third period. IceRays winger Andy McGlynn found center Mason Krueger with a bit of speed in the neutral zone racing into the Topeka defensive end. Krueger found a seam through both defenders and shot through the gap to cut through to the net despite being contested. With enough room, Krueger stayed to the left of the net and, with his backhand, flipped the puck top shelf over the waiting Topeka netminder to put the IceRays up 2-1 with under seven minutes to go. The goal was one of a few highlights in the week, but more importantly it sealed the first ever sweep of the Topeka RoadRunners in junior franchise history, capping off their road schedule of the season set at 3-1-0, their best ever.
Will Cavanagh's non-underdog role pay off for a Semi-Finals ticket, or will Krueger thread the needle once again and sneak into the final four? YOUR votes decide the outcome. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. CDT tonight.