ODESSA, TEXAS – The Corpus Christi IceRays (22-13-5) scored five unanswered in the third period and rode on the wings of Maksim Dzhioshvili’s hat trick to take down the Odessa Jackalopes (9-28-6) 7-3 on Friday night from Ector County Coliseum. The hat trick is the first completed on the road by the IceRays in junior franchise history and the second of the season.
In a very back and forth opening frame, the Jackalopes struck first at 16:36 of the first period when forward Hampus Sjodahl jabbed home a free puck that caught IceRays netminder Luke Pickar out of position to help gain the 1-0 lead.
After killing off a lingering penalty at the outset of the second period, the IceRays answered the call just 51 seconds into the frame. Forward Tanner Lomsnes threw a puck toward Odessa goaltender Tanner Creel that bounced off the back of the netminder to tie the game, 1-1. Just a short time later at 1:54, IceRays forward Maksim Dzhioshvili launched a shot from the right half wall, bouncing off Creel, an Odessa defenseman, and then into the net to give the IceRays a 2-1 lead. Later in the period, the Jackalopes found a tying goal at 15:25 when defenseman Andreas Soje found a pass in front of Pickar and sniped it through the netminder to even the score, 2-2.
The Jackalopes regained in the lead in the third period at 1:57 when defenseman Lane Valimont blasted a shot from the right circle to push ahead, 3-2. The game tossed back to a tie, 3-3, when Dzhioshvili found a pass from forward Joe Chitwood in front of Creel to net his second of the night at 5:42. The hat trick was completed at 7:39 with a hard shot from the right point to give the IceRays a 4-3 lead. A slew foot by Jackalopes forward Kenny Hausinger forced a five-minute power play for the IceRays, and that’s when the game opened up by the tune of three power play goals. Chitwood added insurance at 12:34 to push ahead, 5-3. Just under two minutes later at 14:33, forward Connor Kelly spun around in the slot and slipped a shot by the right skate of Creel to double the lead, 6-3. Then, at 15:54, forward Ryan Cusin added the final dagger to solidify the 7-3 win.
Pickar (7-5-2) earned the win, turning aside 33 of 36 shots, while Creel (2-9-2) picked up the loss, saving 29 of 36. The IceRays finish their seven-game road trip as well as their three-game set against the Odessa Jackalopes on Saturday, January 31 at 7:05 p.m. from the Ector County Coliseum. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX) and FASTHockey.com.
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