Mar 10, 2012

RIO RANCHO, NM – Brandon Smith had two goals and an assist as the Corpus Christi IceRays recorded their first road sweep of the season with a 7-5 win over the New Mexico Mustangs inside the Santa Ana Star Center.

This game was a high scoring affair in the first period as the two squads combined for seven goals in the first twenty minutes of play.  New Mexico kicked off the game with the first goal just 1:40 into the game as Charles Baldwin beat Anthony Stolarz with an assist from Jimmy Peplinski and Cody Walsh for a 1-0 lead.

The IceRays answered right back at the 8:41 mark of the first period while on the power-play.  AJ Jarosz walked in behind the net and hit a wide open Brandon Smith waiting backdoor to tie the game at one a piece.  Anthony Stolarz was credited with the other assist.

Jimmy Peplinski then regained the lead for New Mexico from the right wing circle on a wrister for his second point in two goals as the Mustangs took a 2-1 lead.

The IceRays once again answered back with three straight goals beginning with Joe Smereck who fed Brandon Smith on a rush.  Smith returned the pass and Smereck tapped in his second goal in two nights and Corpus Christi tied the game 13:25 into the first period.

Phil Pietroniro took a one-timer from the point that went through a sea of players and into the net and the IceRays took their first lead of the night with 5:56 left in the first frame.

The IceRays picked up their third goal in a row courtesy of Zach Holstrom with assists to Jarosz and Michael Dery at the 16:50 mark of the first period. 

New Mexico finished out the fury of goals in the period one.  With only 1:12 left in the first, Ryan Dau notched an unassisted goal as the Mustangs pulled within one mark of tying the game.

There was no scoring in the second period until Joe Ginley forced an interception at the blue-line and skated in on a breakaway beating goaltender Randy Graham to put the IceRays out to a 5-3 lead.

The IceRays had to kill a penalty at the very end of the second frame.  With only five seconds left in the second, Evan Johnston ripped a shot from the point that beat Anthony Stolarz.  At the end of two, Corpus Christi led 5-4.

Brandon Smith notched his second goal of the game after Perry D’Arrisso and Chris Taff set up Smith, who went around the defense and back-handed the puck between the legs of Graham for a two goal lead in the third period.

After the Mustangs pulled back to within one goal, Frank Misuraca picked up an empty net goal for the 7-5 win.

Anthony Stolarz stopped 28 of 33 shots in the win.

The IceRays are on the road in Amarillo next weekend.  Puck drops at 7:05PM, coverage begins at 6:50PM with the IceRays Pregame Show on ESPN Radio 1440AM. 

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