Odessa, TX (March 17, 2023) – The Corpus Christi IceRays defeated the Odessa Jackalopes 5-1 at Ector County Coliseum on Friday, March 17th, 2023.
The IceRays had good energy to start their St. Patty’s Day tilt against the Jackopes with several grade-A scoring chances in the first period. They’ve been a lot better the past couple outings about weathering the early push from their opponents at the start the game. Despite surrendering the first goal tonight, which came from Odessa forward Justin Hughes at the 16:45 mark of the first on a nice rush towards the net, the IceRays clawed right back into the game when Leo Korus ripped one by Odessa netminder Gergely Orosz about a minute later on a nice pass from Nils Forselius for his fourth goal of the year. The IceRays outshot the Jackalopes 14-7 in the first 20 minutes.
Odessa carried the play for much of the second stanza and the IceRays relied heavily on Patrik Jurcak to keep it a 1-1 tie. Then at 8:18, Dylan Contreras found Nils Forselius open in front of the Odessa net who backhanded one past Orosz for his team-tying 12th goal of the year. The IceRays led 2-1 after the second stanza despite being outshot by Odessa 17-5 in the period.
The Jackalopes came out strong to start the final stanza but Patrik Jurcak remained solid in net for the IceRays. They were able to withstand the early period surge from Odessa and got some insurance from Stepan Kuznetsov who scored his 12th of the year at the 10:11 mark to put the IceRays up 3-1. The Jackalopes continued to push after the Kuznetsov goal, but more solid goaltending from Jurcak made it clear they weren’t getting any more past him.
After a relatively mild game in terms of post-whistle scrums, tempers erupted late in the third period as Wolfgang Govedaris and Jackson Beach each dropped the gloves for the IceRays, taking on Trevor Taulien and Josh Austin of Odessa, respectively. The IceRays emerged from the donnybrook shorthanded, but Connor Brust, who made a key shot block which saved a goal earlier in the period, scored an empty-net goal on the penalty kill at 18:43 for his sixth of the year. Blake Lewis would add an empty-netter for his 10th in the dying seconds to put the IceRays up 5-1.
All around a great game for the IceRays tonight who got contributions from up and down the lineup and battled hard physically. They were perfect on the penalty kill, which included killing off a five-minute major, racking up a season-high 105 penalty minutes in the game. Patrik Jurcak as mentioned was sensational, stopping 38 of 39.
IceRays Next Game
The IceRays next game is Saturday, March 18th against the Odessa Jackalopes at Ector County Coliseum. Puck drop is at 7:15 PM CST.
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