CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Corpus Christi IceRays (4-4-1-2) stayed close but slipped in the final minute, falling 2-1 to the Odessa Jackalopes (6-4-0-0) on Friday night at the American Bank Center in the 2016-17 home opener.
Pacing began slowly for both sides during the adjustment to playing new opponents with much of the opening period spent in the neutral zone. After pestering for a large portion of the first period, the Jackalopes broke through at 13:05 when forward Nick Klishko found a seam from the right circle and slipped it through traffic to push the Jackalopes ahead, 1-0.
The IceRays picked up play in the second period and started to even out puck possession through the middle frame. The persistence paid off at 10:56 when defenseman Conor Yawney flipped a puck from the defensive zone and found forward Brad Power streaking up the left wing, and with a wrist shot through the five-hole, the IceRays tied the game at 1-1.
The third period tilted toward the IceRays with numerous chances and a high possession rate in the offensive zone for a majority of the frame. Most shots were blocked or disrupted, but the home side controlled play and movement. Despite their best efforts, the Jackalopes found the game-deciding goal at 19:01 when defenseman Christian Hausinger’s shot from the right point bounced off forward Ryan MacKellar’s knee, and through the netminder to edge ahead, 2-1, and eventually take the win.
Jackalopes netminder Jonny Hogue (4-2-0) earned the win, stopping 18 of 19 shots, while IceRays goaltender Tomáš Vomáčka (4-4-1) picked up the loss, tossing aside 28 of 30 shots. The IceRays finish up home opening weekend with Childhood Cancer Awareness Night on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 7:05 p.m. against the Odessa Jackalopes at the American Bank Center. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com 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).