CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Corpus Christi IceRays (16-11-5) came from down 2-0 to send the game to a shootout but could not come up with a win as the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees claimed a 3-2 (4-3) win to sweep the weekend on Friday night from State Farm Arena. The IceRays have now gone 0-14 in shootouts during Head Coach John Becanic’s two-year career in Corpus Christi.
The contest did not start well for the IceRays, falling behind early following a few penalties for both sides. On a 4-on-3 chance for the Killer Bees, defenseman Trevor Abbot slotted the game’s first goal on the power play at 4:49 of the first period to give Rio Grande Valley the initial 1-0 lead. The lead was spread further on in the period by the Killer Bees at 13:14 when IceRays forward Griff Jeszka turned over possession in front of his own net to Killer Bees forward Dallas Gerads, who slid a shot to the right side of the net to double the lead, 2-0. Jeszka made up for his mistake by swatting in the team’s first goal at 19:15 assisted by forwards Ryan Cusin and Tanner Lomsnes to cut the lead in half, 2-1, heading into the intermission.
The physicality ramped up in the second frame as did the presence of the IceRays. With swifter play through the neutral zone, they spent a lot more time in the offensive end to create chances. Eventually, the pursuit paid off at 11:56 when forward Mason Krueger fed a shot through netminder Nick Schmit at the edge of the right post to knock home the game-tying goal, 2-2. Lomsnes earned his second assist with Travis Howe, who played forward for the second-straight night, gaining an assist.
After no tallies in the third period or overtime, the game went to a shootout. Defenseman Taylor Karel opened up with a goal that was answered in the first round. After a goal by the Killer Bees in the second round, forward Tanner Lomsnes tied the shootout in the fourth round immediately before another answer by Rio Grande Valley. Forward Frankie Melton sent the game to extra rounds with his fifth round goal. The winner came in the ninth round when defenseman Daniel Nilsson fired the puck to the left side of Andrew Lindgren to claim the 3-2 (4-3) win.
Schmit (5-8-2) earns his second-straight win, turning aside 15 of 17 shots faced, while Lindgren (12-7-3) picked up the shootout loss in a 26-save effort on 28 shots. The IceRays return home to the American Bank Center on Friday, January 9 at 7:05 p.m. for the first of the final two-game set against the Odessa Jackalopes at The Bank this season. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, FASTHockey.com, and 87.7 FM in-arena.
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