Saturday, 03.10.18 / 10:00 pm CT
Playing their final game in Amarillo for the rest of the 2017-18 season, the IceRays redeemed themselves on Saturday night. They got off to an early start and never looked back as they bounced the Amarillo Bulls by a 4-1 decision to split the road series.
The IceRays came out of the gates with an excellent start on Saturday night. They controlled the tempo in the first period, spending the majority of time in the Amarillo zone.
Just 3:34, the Rays converted their pressure into a goal. Garrett Hallford won the puck below the opposing goal line, and fed Jayson Dimizio a crisp pass below the hashmarks. Having been ejected from Friday night’s game, Dimizio was playing with a chip on his shoulder on Saturday and didn’t waste any time getting on the scoreboard. He fired a one-timer low blocker-side past Jason Grande to give the Rays their first lead of the weekend.
Chad Veltri fought off the eight shots he faced in the first period, keeping the IceRays in front 1-0 heading into the first intermission.
Corpus Christi again got off to a terrific start in the following period. Just 1:57, the Rays forced a turnover in the offensive zone, and Larry Jungwirth picked up the puck in the crease and backhanded his shot past Grande.
A few minutes later, the IceRays went onto their third power play of the night. Their man-advantage looked sharp throughout the game, and their persistence paid off. Dimizio buried his second goal of the game, slamming his shot into an open net with 18 seconds remaining on the power play. Hallford earned his second assist and the Rays took a 3-0 lead early in the second. Grande would then be pulled from the game and replaced by Trevor Micucci.
Though Amarillo didn’t manage to cut away at the IceRays’ lead in the middle stanza, they did begin to build some momentum which they carried into the closing period. At 43:36, Alex Peterson set up Jared Domin with a nice pass from behind the Corpus Christi net on an Amarillo power play. Domin was able to tuck a shot inside the left post to spoil Veltri’s shutout bid.
Despite putting on a multitude of shots for the rest of the game, the Bulls could not solve Veltri a second time. At 54:52, chaos broke out when Brendan Michaelian cross-checked Jungwirth from behind into the end boards. The hit infuriated IceRays Head Coach Brad Flynn, who found himself in a heated verbal altercation with Bulls Head Coach Rocky Russo across the benches. Flynn would be ejected from the game, leaving things in the hands of IceRays’ first-year Assistant Coach Ryan Anderson for the final 5:08.
Brendan Miller sealed the deal in the last second with an empty-net strike from the red line. Veltri had a strong night in net, allowing only one goal on 38 shots to earn his 17th victory of the season. Grande was charged with his 18th regulation defeat, stopping 13 of 16, while Micucci turned aside all nine shots he faced in relief. The IceRays will host the Bulls at the American Bank Center next Friday, March 16th and Saturday, March 17th. Any spring breakers and college students can enter the game for just $5 by showing a college ID either night. Puck drop is set for 7:05 pm CT, and the game will be broadcast on HockeyTV and on YouTube.