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!
(7) – LeLievre's Shorthanded Blue Line Slap Shot
Just before the holidays, the IceRays were in the midst of trying to turn around the season as well as an attempt to sweep the Amarillo Bulls at home for the second time this season. The back end of the two-game weekend pit the IceRays down 2-0 heading into the third period, and the team came right back with an individual play by one of its leaders. Co-captain Brad LeLievre intercepted a pass right at the red line off a neutral zone faceoff draw and took a chance. That chance was a slap shot from the blue line toward the Bulls netminder, who wasn't expecting the hard shot. It sailed into the top corner of the net and surprised everyone, even LeLievre. The goal cut the lead in half, 2-1, and also gave LeLievre his only shorthanded goal of the season. The IceRays would eventually fall by the same scoreline, but the goal proves the old motto: "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take."
(10) McKay Denies Sure Goal With Stick
The second weekend of January couldn't continue the December and New Year's Week success the IceRays were hoping for in their return to the Kay Yeager Coliseum against the Wichita Falls Wildcats. The eventual South Division Champions put a pounding on the IceRays in both games, but despite the outcomes there were glimpses of what would come as the push for the playoffs ramped up nearing the end of the season. IceRays goaltender Dryden McKay made a name for himself over the 2015-16 season as one of the most athletic goaltenders in the league, and his save denying the Wildcats with his stick was evidence of that fact. The Wildcats worked the puck free in the IceRays end and set up a customary play: cross to the opposite side of the ice, fake a slap shot, and instead pass the puck to a waiting teammate on the back door of the net for an easy stuff-in. The problem was an IceRays defenseman caught the puck with his stick as the second pass came across, deflecting it toward an open net. McKay, who was caught out of position by the initial slap shot attempt, saw the sliding puck and layed out with his stick to stretch across the goal line and redirect the puck just to the left of the net. Had he been a fraction of a second late, the goal probably would have counted. The IceRays would eventually fall 6-2 for the second-straight night.
Will LeLievre's chance shot be forceful enough to take down a desperation stick save by McKay? Now, it's YOUR turn. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. CDT tonight.