CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Corpus Christi IceRays (26-16-5) and Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (20-20-8) played a physical, defensive game to force overtime, and the IceRays came away with the win in the shootout, 1-0 (3-2). The IceRays have won three-straight shootouts dating back to their first on Jan. 17 and split the weekend series.
Opportunities were available for both sides throughout the entire contest, with the first big exchange coming from Killer Bees forward Austin Swingle early in the opening period. He had a wide open goal but could not see the puck into the net, and the IceRays came away unscathed. IceRays forward Brad LeLievre almost scored the game’s first goal but lofted a shot over the Killer Bees net late in the first period.
IceRays forward Maksim Dzhioshvili highlighted the chances for the home side, helping to create and attempt two big shots from just outside of the Rio Grande Valley goal crease. All attempts were taken out, and as the game wore on, play became more physical. Killer Bees forward Connor Wood tied up IceRays defenseman Taylor Karel in the right corner at 11:27 and forced Karel into his first fight of the season. Neither team scored, and the game went to the third period scoreless for the first time this season.
The third period and overtime period saw a number of quality chances for both sides, but netminders Andrew Lindgren and Ben Johansson were the keys to the contest. With no scoring in those two frames, the game sailed into a shootout. The teams exchanged goals from IceRays defenseman Anthony Cortese and Killer Bees forward Zach Bennett in the opening round. Forward Anthony Croston gave the Killer Bees the 2-1 lead in the following round before IceRays forward Wes Michaud answered in the third round. IceRays forward Ryan Cusin slotted his second-straight game-deciding goal in the fourth round, and Lindgren made two big saves to close out the night and claim the 1-0 (3-2) shootout win.
Lindgren (19-9-3) earns his second shutout of the year, stopping all 26 shots faced, and Johansson (11-8-4) picks up the loss for the Killer Bees, turning aside all 28 shots faced. The IceRays resume their series against the Killer Bees on Friday, February 27 at 7:30 p.m. from State Farm Arena. Coverage begins at 7:15 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi and FASTHockey.com.
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