RIO RANCHO, NM – The Corpus Christi IceRays scored four unanswered goals, three coming in the third period and defeated the New Mexico Mustangs, 4-1, at the Santa Ana Star Center on Saturday night. With the win the IceRays improve to 16-21-2 (34 points) overall while the Mustangs fall to 10-24-3 (23 points) with the loss. It was the final meeting in Rio Rancho for the two teams with the IceRays holding a 3-2-1 (7 points) record advantage. The IceRays are now 7-2-1 (15 points) overall this season against New Mexico with two games remaining. With Wichita Falls losing to Amarillo, Corpus Christi is now four points behind the Wildcats for the final playoff spot in the South Division.
Beau Walker scored twice in the third period to go along with an assist while Pheonix Copley earned the victory making 29 saves on 30 shots.
New Mexico peppered Copley in the first period and the pressure resulted in the game’s first goal. With Colton Saucerman in the penalty box for cross-checking, the Mustangs capitalized on the power play at the 16:26 mark, when Sander Valde (3) batted the puck out of midair into the back of the net to put the ‘Stangs on top, 1-0. New Mexico outshot Corpus Christi, 11-3 through 20 minutes of play.
The IceRays built momentum early in the second period which led to a game-tying tally. At the 8:26 mark, an odd man rush with Jordan Miller and Petr Stlokal resulted in Miller centering a pass to the top of the crease where Joe Smereck (11) tipped the pick past Marco Wieser to tie the game, 1-1. Stloukal earned the other assist. The goal ended a 99-minute goalless drought for Corpus Christi. Copley kept the game tied, making big saves late in the period on two New Mexico power plays. The Mustangs outshot the IceRays, 11-8.
For the second Saturday in a row, Walker stole the show in the third period matching last week’s total with two critical goals. First, 8:10 in the period, Walker (13) left the penalty box just in time to collect a pass from Josh Obregon and slapped a hard shot under the crossbar to put the IceRays on top for good, 2-1. Obregon (6) tallied a goal of his own at the 15:12 mark as he took advantage of Walker forcing a turnover in the attacking zone to wrist a shot past Wieser putting the IceRays ahead, 3-1. Walker (14) got his second of the game, 17:01 into the third period, as he collected a loose puck at the New Mexico blue line and skated in on a breakaway, beating Wieser through the five-hole. Corpus Christi closed the game out and walked away with a 4-1 victory. Final shots were 30-23 for the Mustangs. New Mexico was 1-6 on the power play while Corpus Christi was 0-5.
RYAN HOLT'S THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
(1) BEAU WALKER (2-1-3, GWG)
(2) PHEONIX COPLEY (29 SAVES, WIN)
(3) JOSH OBREGON (1-1-2)
The IceRays finish their “three-in-three” weekend with a 6 PM CT game in Amarillo against the Bulls. Fans can catch the pre-game show on the flagship home of the IceRays, News/Talk 1440 KEYS, www.1440KEYS.com, with the voice of the IceRays, Ryan Holt, beginning at 5:45 PM. The game will be available online through the league’s pay-per-view website, www.fasthockey.com. For more information call the Rays’ front office at 361.814.PUCK (7825) or crash the net at www.goicerays.com.
“THE NEW ICERAYS…TOMORROW’S STARS”