CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Corpus Christi IceRays (18-21-3) couldn’t climb out an early hole, falling 4-2 to the Lone Star Brahmas (29-10-7) on Saturday night at the American Bank Center.
The Brahmas came out of the gates with a high amount of energy and cornered the IceRays back in the opening frame. That presence, and a power play, led to defenseman Dalton Skelly becoming open at the blue line and slapping a shot through traffic under the crossbar at 5:22 to give Lone Star a 1-0 lead. Just over three minutes later at 8:52, Brahmas defenseman Bud Madej took a slap shot from the same location and found a seam through traffic to double the lead, 2-0. The power play was working well for Lone Star, converting on their second of two chances with a shot at the blue line from defenseman Cameron Clarke at 15:58 to triple the lead, 3-0, heading into the first intermission.
Another early goal in the second period put the Brahmas up by their largest lead of the night. At 2:16, forward Johan Lundgren touched in a pass on the back door of the Corpus Christi net coming from forward Martin Mellberg to push ahead, 4-0. At that point, the IceRays exchanged goaltenders with starter Graham Hunt giving way to Dryden McKay after 22:16 minutes played. The IceRays pushed back with physical play after the change, and a late power play found the team’s first answer. At 17:43, forward Drake Lindsay found an open puck right off a faceoff draw to give the IceRays their first of the night for a 4-1 deficit.
The game leveled out through much of the third period, but a quirky goal gave the IceRays a little bit of jump late in the game. Defenseman Colton Meehkof flipped the puck from the right point and caught a piece of the Brahmas netminder and worked into the net to draw within two, 4-2. Despite pulling McKay late in the game with a power play, the IceRays couldn’t close the early deficit and dropped the contest.
Brahmas goaltender Conor O’Brien (11-4-5) picked up the win, stopping 27 of 29 shots. Hunt (10-13-3) grabbed the loss, stopping 10 of 14 shots through 22:16 minutes. McKay did not record a decision but stopped all 13 shots faced. The IceRays begin their final two-game weekend set against at the Amarillo Civic Center on Friday, Feb. 19 at 7:05 p.m. against the Amarillo Bulls. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) and FASTHockey.com.
The IceRays come back to the American Bank Center on Friday, Feb. 26 at 7:11 p.m. to begin a two-game set against the Odessa Jackalopes. 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).