Friday, 12.08.17 / 10:15 pm CT
A hard-fought, tight-checking affair ended with a Blake Coffey overtime goal on Friday night, giving the IceRays a 2-1 decision in their season’s first victory at NYTEX Sports Centre.
Chad Veltri (Corpus Christi) and Mitchell Gibson (Lone Star) started in net, both of whom have been among the top goaltenders in the NAHL this season. Having just committed to Niagara University days ago, Veltri looked sharp as ever at the onset of the game.
He made a huge save on a Lone Star power play, quickly jolting over to his right and kicking out his pad to deny Kimball Johnson of a goal from the left circle. Noah Roofe had a strong opportunity to put the Rays on the board, having received a nice pass in front of Gibson by Jayson Dimizio. However, he just missed the left post with a backhand shot.
A nearly penalty-free second period finally had a small altercation take place about three quarters of the way through the middle frame. Bud Winter and Connor Stuart were each penalized for roughing, which proved to be a costly decision against the IceRays.
On the ensuing 4-on-4, Ture Linden skated into the high slot and fired a wrist shot which was blocked by a Corpus Christi skate. It ricocheted directly to Anton Sandberg, who tapped it past Veltri to score his first goal as a Brahma at 35:53. The teddy bear toss preceded the second period’s ending, and the IceRays entered the third period trailing 1-0.
Assuming an entirely new role to replace Aleksi Peltonen, Pavel Koreshkov made a seamless transition and cashed in early in the third period. At 45:19, Larry Jungwirth fed him a pass from the right corner, and Koreshkov patiently waited for Gibson to fall helplessly out of position. He buried his third goal of the season and tied things up for Corpus Christi.
Neither team could pull away for the rest of regulation, and overtime was underway. Ture Linden skated down the right side on a 2-on-1 with a tremendous opportunity to become Lone Star’s overtime hero in back-to-back outings, but he attempted to force a pass through Trevor Wilhelm, who broke up the play. Shortly afterwards, Coffey rushed the puck down the right side on an odd-man rush. Having learned from Linden’s mistake, Coffey decided to take the shot. He beat Gibson over his glove and under the crossbar to give the Rays a 2-1 win in overtime.
Veltri earned his ninth victory of the season stopping 31 of a possible 32 shots. Gibson was handed his fourth overtime defeat on the season, denying 20 of 22. The IceRays and Brahmas will close out the series tomorrow night at NYTEX Sports Centre. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 pm CT. The game will be broadcast on HockeyTV.com, and on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (1230 AM, 95.1 FM, 96.1 FM).