CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – The Corpus Christi IceRays built a two goal lead in the second period but it was quickly erased by three straight goals from the Amarillo Bulls late in the second as they completed the comeback 5-3 win in front of 6,396 fans inside American Bank Center on Friday night.
The IceRays got off to the start they needed just two minutes into the game. With a big crowd of players piling up in front of the net, the puck was bouncing around until Jason Lem pinched in from the right point burying it by Amarillo goaltender Collin Delia for a 1-0 lead. The assists were credited to Lucas Bennett and Nick Felan.
Amarillo struck back at 5:12 of the opening period. Joe Grabowski sent the puck across the blueline to defenseman Connor Frey who wristed what seemed like a harmless puck to the net. Ben Myers was screened on the shot as the puck sailed over his shoulder and into the net to tie the game at one goal apiece. The other assist was picked up by Brendan McGuire.
Brad LeLievre sparked a rush with a big hit in front of the IceRays bench as Jake Durflinger picked up the loose puck in the neutral zone and beat Delia with a wrist shot for his second goal of the year from the right wing circle with 4:25 left to go in the opening frame. The goal was unassisted and the IceRays led Amarillo 2-1 after the 20 minutes of play. Shots were all even at ten aside.
After taking a penalty earlier in the 2nd period, Connor Kelly made up for it in his first game with the IceRays pounding home a rebound while on the power-play to give Corpus Christi a two goal advantage over Amarillo. Assists were picked up by Grant Hutton and Maurin Bouvet. Following the goal, Amarillo pulled goaltender Collin Delia and replaced him with Paul Berrafato.
The Bulls showed why they are the top team in the league evaporating the IceRays two goal lead in a matter of minutes. Jake McNamara lost the puck at the point and Tyler Gernhofer took it down the ice on an odd man rush with Mike Davis. Gernhofer slid the puck to Davis who scored his first of the night to pull the Bulls within a goal at the 14:12 mark of the 2nd period.
A little over two minutes later the game was tied, again off the stick of Mike Davis. Joe Grabowski let a shot go from the blueline and Ben Myers made the original save for Corpus Christi. The rebound went right to Davis who scored his second goal of the period to tie the game 3-3 with 3:05 left in the second period. Tyler Gernhofer had the other assists on the game-tying goal.
Caleb O’Brien took a penalty late in the second period that put the top power-play in the NAHL on the ice and they showed why. Connor Frey sent a pass to Joe Grabowski who walked in to the top of the circle letting a rocket go for Amarillo top shelf with just 18 seconds left in period two to take their first lead of the night at 4-3. After two periods, the IceRays held the shot lead 22-20.
In the third period the only goal was an empty netter by Tyler Gernhofer with 45sec left in the game.
The IceRays return home Sunday afternoon to finish the series with Amarillo. Puck drops at 3:05PM, coverage begins at 2:50PM with the IceRays Pregame Show on sportsjuice.com, the TuneIn Radio APP, ustream.com, and fasthockey.com.
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