CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Corpus Christi IceRays (28-17-4-5) officially clinched a spot in the 2017 Robertson Cup Playoffs despite a 4-3 shootout loss to the Lone Star Brahmas (43-13-2-0) on Thursday night from the American Bank Center. The IceRays have made the postseason for the second time in three years and three times in junior franchise history.
The home side IceRays held the early advantages in the first period with five of the first seven shots despite taking two penalties in the first half. That fifth shot produced the game’s first goal at 11:41 when IceRays forward Larry Jungwirth fed center Cole Filler, who caught the Brahmas in the midst of a line change and sniped a shot from between the circles to take the 1-0 lead. The Brahmas pressed back for the final portion of the period and found their answer at 17:39, when forward David Marabella clapped a one-time shot from the right circle to knot the game at 1-1.
Both sides traded goals in the second period just like the first frame. This time, IceRays forward Nathan Bryer started the scoring while falling to the ice at 6:43 along the right post to take the 2-1 lead. The Brahmas had the lone two power plays of the second period and found a way to answer again on the latter of those two man-advantages. Brahmas forward Hunter Stanley was fed in the low slot on a centering feed that he buried at 19:21 to tie the game again, 2-2.
The Brahmas earned their first lead of the night in the first minutes of the third period at 2:59 when forward Andy Willis tapped in his first goal on a rebound to edge ahead 3-2. The IceRays found the answer they needed to force the point they wanted. At 6:33, IceRays forward Jayson DiMizio found forward Cole Gammer open on a centering pass in the low slot to tie the game, 3-3, to force overtime and clinch a playoff berth. After no scoring in the overtime and the first five rounds of the shootout, Brahmas forward Hunter Stanley found the game-winner in the top of the sixth round to earn the full two points and the 4-3 shootout victory.
Brahmas goaltender Alec Calvaruso (24-6-0) earned the win, stopping 19 of 22 shots plus six in the shootout, while IceRays netminder Tomáš Vomáčka (17-11-6) was saddled with the shootout loss, turning away 29 of 32 shots plus five of six shootout attempts. The IceRays close the home portion of their season series with the Lone Star Brahmas on Friday, Mar. 24 at 7:05 p.m. from the American Bank Center for Tride Rideshare Frosty Friday. Tickets are available at the arena box office or online at Ticketmaster.com. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, Hockey TV, and 87.7FM in-arena.
Join the IceRays in their push for the 2017 Robertson Cup Playoffs and pick up seats for the final games of the 2016-17 season by calling the IceRays Front Office at 361-814-PUCK. In addition, stay connected with the IceRays on Facebook (/CorpusChristiIceRays), Twitter (@goicerays), YouTube (IceRays TV), Instagram (CorpusChristiIceRays), Snapchat (@goicerays), and Periscope (@goicerays).