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CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – Despite a late comeback in the third period, a hat-trick held off the Corpus Christi IceRays (5-6-1-2) in a 5-4 loss to the Shreveport Mudbugs (9-4-0-1) on Friday night at the American Bank Center.

Special teams became the theme from the first period when the IceRays jumped ahead on the man-advantage. At 13:35, IceRays forward Josh Tripp tucked in a loose rebound from the right side to edge ahead 1-0. An early power play in the second period led to IceRays forward Brendan Miller doing the same from right in front of the net at 2:33 to double the home side’s lead, 2-0.

From there, the Mudbugs took control through special teams with four-unanswered goals. At 8:40 of the second period, Mudbugs forward Frankie Melton tucked in a 5-on-3 power play tally to break the goose egg on the weekend and cut the lead to 2-1. Then, the next power play for the Mudbugs helped to tie the game, 2-2, with a shot from forward Erik Zohovs at 13:08 from the right circle. Melton added his second of the night on even strength at 15:32 after finding a loose puck to the right of the Corpus Christi net to push the Mudbugs to their first lead of the weekend, 3-2. The Mudbugs added a third power play goal at 17:02 when defenseman Kristaps Jakobsons’ shot from the blue line snuck through traffic, doubling their lead to 4-2.

The IceRays came back in the third period led by captain Mason Krueger starting at 6:41 on a blue line shot that beat the goaltender blocker side on a rush to come within one, 4-3. On another power play at 16:22, Krueger cashed in from a loose puck in the slot for his second-straight goal and the 4-4 marker. Within the final minute, a shot from the blue line re-directed off Melton’s stick and beat by the waiting netminder for the hat-trick at 19:23 as well as the 5-4 Mudbugs win.

Mudbugs netminder Dylan Lubbesmeyer (4-2-0) earned the win, stopping 22 of 26 shots, while IceRays goaltender Tomáš Vomáčka (4-6-1) picked up the loss, halting 25 of 30 shots. The IceRays and Mudbugs close the three-game set on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7:05 p.m. for Pink In The Rink, presented by AutoNation, KRIS-TV, Radiology & Imaging, and South Texas Surgical Hospital. Tickets are available at and the American Bank Center Box Office.

Season memberships for the 2016-17 season are still available with full and partial season plans. Reserve yours by contacting 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).