Friday, 11.17.17 / 9:54 pm CT
Photo: Rebekah Bing
Hosting the Lone Star Brahmas for the first time this season, the IceRays jumped out to an early lead and held on to snap the Brahmas’ three-game winning streak on Friday night.
Despite being substantially outshot at the onset of the game, the Rays managed to convert their opportunities first.
Near the halfway point of the first period, the IceRays’ first registered shot on goal snuck past Harrison Feeney. Conor Yawney fed Rylee St. Onge a pass in the slot, and the winger tapped it right back to him as he was heavily defended. Yawney patiently waited for a lane to open, and rifled a shot through traffic. Aleksi Peltonen was parked in front of the Brahmas net, and redirected Yawney’s shot past Feeney to give the IceRays a 1-0 lead.
Shortly thereafter, the Rays went to a power play after Justin Addamo was found guilty of slashing. With time winding down on the man-advantage, Matt Acciaioli rushed the puck up the left wing to Brendan Miller, who fed Larry Jungwirth bursting down the slot. The skilled winger deked around a pair of Lone Star defenders and snapped a shot past Feeney for his 8th goal in his last five games.
Early in the following period, Jungwirth scored another one. After receiving a pass from Peltonen on a 4-on-4, Jungwirth maneuvered around the Lone Star defensemen before cutting to the inside and slipping a shot past Feeney while falling. His goal gave the Rays a 3-0 advantage just 90 seconds into the middle period.
Lone Star went to their first unimpeded power play halfway through regulation, after Jungwirth was called for hooking. Just eight seconds into the man-advantage, Ture Linden paced down the right side and flung a circle-to-circle pass over to Ryan Orgel. The sharpshooting defenseman fired home his third goal in two games to put the Brahmas on the board.
The Brahmas dominated the tempo in the closing period, preventing the IceRays from clearing the zone and alleviating pressure. Eventually, their persistence paid off.
Leading scorer Julian Biondo wheeled into the slot and buried a wrist shot past a helplessly screened Chad Veltri. However, the IceRays goaltender kept Lone Star off the scoreboard for the rest of the night.
After killing off a late Lone Star power play, the Rays returned to full strength shortly before Feeney was pulled for a sixth attacker. Garrett Hallford pried the puck free in the neutral zone and skated in uncontested on an empty-net breakaway. The veteran sealed the deal to extend the IceRays’ winning streak to a season-high five games.
Veltri was sturdy in net yet again, winning his fourth consecutive start and backstopping Corpus Christi to a 25/27 save performance. Feeney recovered after struggling early, but his team could not completely erase the deficit. He was charged with his first regulation defeat of the season, making 12 of a possible 15 stops. The IceRays and Brahmas will close the series on Saturday, November 18th at the American Bank Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 pm CT.