CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Corpus Christi IceRays (9-13-3) pushed back from behind in the third period but couldn’t overcome early scoring, falling 2-1 to the Amarillo Bulls (7-20-3) 2-1 on Saturday night at the American Bank Center.
Amarillo rebounded from the previous evening’s loss and controlled a majority of the first period. They broke ground first at 4:49 when forward George Mika found the puck in front of the IceRays’ crease and slotted home the opening goal on his third attempt for a 1-0 lead. The Bulls doubled the lead, 2-0, at 9:48 when forward Michael Forman forced in a sliding puck despite the initial pad save and cement the road side’s momentum.
Though in no fault of his own, IceRays forward Jimmy O’Brien sparred early in the second period with Bulls forward Brady Crabtree, taking down the road player and boosting the crowd and team morale. The IceRays pressed often in the second frame, outshooting the Bulls 12-7, but neither side could break through and score.
In the third period, an odd chance ended the shutout bid for the Bulls. At 6:26, IceRays forward Brad LeLievre forced the puck to the Bulls’ blue line on a neutral zone faceoff draw and slapped home a top-shelf goal for his first short-handed goal of the season to bring the IceRays back within one, 2-1. With the netminder pulled late in the game, the IceRays strung forward to try to tie the game but couldn’t find the answer, dropping 2-1 to the Bulls and splitting the weekend series.
Bulls netminder Anton Martinsson (7-15-3) earned the win, saving 31 of 32 shots, while IceRays goalie Graham Hunt (4-7-1) fell with the loss, turning aside 25 of 27 shots. The IceRays travel to the Amarillo Civic Center for a two-game set with the Bulls on Friday, Dec. 18 at 7:05 p.m. 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 Tuesday, Dec. 29 for the first of 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).