CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Corpus Christi IceRays (19-23-6) made an impressive comeback through the third period, but a late goal gave the Odessa Jackalopes (21-21-4) the 4-3 win on Saturday night at the American Bank Center.
After a stage-setting fight just 19 seconds into the contest, play settled down later in the frame when the Jackalopes struck first for the second-straight night. Forward Brennan Miller tapped in a rebound into an open goal mouth at 6:29 of the first period to take the 1-0 lead for the road side. After a disruption coming into the offensive end, Jackalopes forward Gray Marr found the puck on his stick and rifled a shot from the right circle to double the lead, 2-0, at 10:42.
The two sides were even in opportunities through the first half of the period until Jackalopes defenseman Cooper Zech found a seam through traffic and caught it by the IceRays netminder at 11:05 on the power play to triple the lead, 3-0. Not too long after, the IceRays came back. At 13:20, IceRays forward Carter Johnson looped a puck over the right shoulder of the netminder to get the home side on the board and come within two, 3-1. Just over two minutes later at 15:38, IceRays defenseman Cody Lichtenvoort fired in a lively rebound in the left circle to knock the lead to one, 3-2, heading toward the third period.
Early in the final frame, the IceRays completed the comeback to finally draw even with Odessa. Forward Jimmy O’Brien tucked home a rebound created by teammate Brendan Miller at 2:55 to tie the game, 3-3. As both teams battled late in the game, the Jackalopes found a gritty goal to take back the lead. Brennan Miller tucked in a loose puck for his second of the night at 17:23 and, despite the IceRays pulling their netminder, sealing the win, 4-3.
Jackalopes netminder Dean Shatzer (9-12-3) earned the win, stopping 45 of 48 shots, while IceRays goaltender Graham Hunt (10-14-4) picked up the loss, turning aside 36 of 39 shots. The IceRays and Jackalopes resume their four-game stretch on Friday, March 4 at 7:05 p.m. from the Ector County Coliseum. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) & FASTHockey.com.
The IceRays return to the American Bank Center on Friday, March 11 at 7:11 p.m. to start a weekend set against the Wichita Falls Wildcats. Nominate the American Bank Center to help make Corpus Christi the next Kraft Hockeyville! Submit your essay and tell your story at KraftHockeyville.com. Contact the IceRays Front Office at 361-814-PUCK or go to www.goicerays.com for details on season tickets along with pricing and seating. In addition, stay connected with the IceRays on Facebook (/CorpusChristiIceRays), Twitter (@goicerays), YouTube (IceRays TV), Instagram (CorpusChristiIceRays), Vine (@goicerays), and Periscope (@goicerays).