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!
(2) – Johnson Snipes Shot From Goal Line
The first of two contenders for IceRays forward Carter Johnson came late in the season during the team's final trip to the Ector County Coliseum. The IceRays were already showing their dominance against the Odessa Jackalopes on March 4 as part of the first of two road games, leading the home side 2-1 midway through the first period and heavily outshooting them. Two shifts before, teammate Brad LeLievre blocked a shot in the IceRays zone and came up limping but continued to play through it two shifts later. On one leg, he raced into the offensive zone and fed Johnson by the Odessa goal line. As he walked the line, he flipped a shot over the short-side shoulder of Jackalopes goaltender Jon Falkne and into the back of the net by the opposite post, catching everyone (including Flakne) by surprise. The chance gave the IceRays a 3-1 lead in the eventual 6-2 win, which lasted as the best win of the season by goal differential and goals scored.
(15) – Hunt Steals Goal With Lunging Kick Save
In the same game as yesterday's lower-seed, IceRays goaltender Graham Hunt came up strong in a road contest against the Lone Star Brahmas on January 11, only allowing two goals as part of a 5-2 win at the NYTEX Sports Centre. During the third period, the 20-year-old netminder was faced with a buzzing Brahmas team looking to push back into the game in the offensive zone. After a shot came from the blue line, the puck bounced around a few bodies in front of his crease and squirted to Brahmas forward David Marabella in the midst of the scrum. He found a seam and tried to take the puck around the right side of Hunt, who then lunged to his right to compensate the chance. The instint paid off, denying Marabella right at the doorstep on a backhand and forehand shot and allowing the IceRays to escape danger and a possible start to a rally. Hunt saved 17 of 19 shots en route to his 10th win of the season and sixth of a seven-game stretch.
Who will advance in the battle of two 20-year-olds, Carter Johnson's odd-angled snipe or Graham Hunt's lunging kick save? It's YOUR turn to decide. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. CDT tonight.