Friday, 03.09.18 / 9:40 pm CT
Playing their first road game since January 27th, the IceRays fell 3-2 at the hands of the Amarillo Bulls on Friday night.
The Rays were quick and effective at breaking the puck out of their own zone in the early going. Their best offensive chance in the opening period came on a no-look backhand shot in the crease taken by Matt Acciaioli, but Trevor Micucci was able to deny the opportunity.
Chad Veltri fought off all 19 first period shots he faced, including several which came on an extended Bulls power play late in the frame. Jayson Dimizio was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct penalty for a retaliatory cross-check he delivered on Nikita Sokolov.
Corpus Christi was able to fight off the carryover time on their extended penalty kill at the start of period two. However, just 16 seconds after it ended, Brendan Datema hopped off the bench and fired a one-timer from the left point, beating Veltri through the five-hole.
Despite being heavily outshot in the middle segment, the Rays managed to tie the game. At 36:31, Garrett Hallford skated down the right wing on a 2-on-2 with Conor Yawney. Yawney used himself as a decoy, drawing away the Amarillo backchecker and screening Micucci. The screen worked, as Hallford perfectly placed a wrist shot inside the left elbow over Micucci’s blocker.
Amarillo picked off where it left off to start period three and dictated the pace for the first few minutes, keeping the Rays hemmed in their own zone for some time. However, towards the middle stages, the IceRays began to tip the scales and generated four straight shots on goal.
Right when the Rays started to pick up momentum, the Bulls scored. Alex Peterson received a pass from Jared Domin in the mid-slot. Peterson, who leads Amarillo in goals scored against the IceRays this season, buried his fifth head-to-head and tenth overall with a blocker-side snipe past Veltri.
Just 2:08 later, Jason Brancheau spotted Trey Bagwell behind the defense at center ice. He sprung Bagwell on a breakaway, and the Bulls winger beat Veltri through the five-hole.
The Rays responded at 54:04. Brendan Miller dropped off a pass to Blake Coffey, who fired a slap shot on goal that was denied by Micucci. However, it ricocheted into the net off Julian Makary’s arm to bring Corpus Christi to within a goal.
They pressed to tie the game, pulling Veltri for a sixth attacker in the final 90 seconds or so. However, they could not solve Micucci again and fell in regulation by a 3-2 margin.
Veltri was handed his 11th regulation defeat on the season, having stopped 38 of 41 Amarillo shots. Micucci turned aside 23 of 25 en route to his first win as a Bull. The IceRays will finish the series tomorrow night at the Amarillo Civic Center. Puck drop is set for approximately 7:15 pm CT. The game will be broadcast on HockeyTV and on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (1230 AM, 95.1 FM, 96.1 FM).