CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Corpus Christi IceRays (25-16-5) were shut down for a majority of the game in their 4-1 loss to the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (20-20-7) on Friday night from the American Bank Center. The IceRays have lost consecutive games at home for the first time this season and were blanked on six power play chances.
IceRays goaltender Luke Pickar was tested early and often in the first period, but despite his efforts the IceRays conceded the opening goal. After forward Maksim Dzhioshvili was penalized for checking from behind, the Killer Bees found a conversion thanks to a streaking defenseman Daniel Nilsson at 10:16 to take the 1-0 lead. Less than a minute later at 11:15, Killer Bees forward Logan Wendling took a hard slap shot from the left wall that found its way through Pickar to double the lead, 2-0.
Luck continued to fall the way of the Killer Bees early in the second period on a shot from forward Stathis Soumelidis at the right point knocked off the left arm of Pickar just 1:02 into the period. With the 3-0 Killer Bees lead, Pickar was replaced by Andrew Lindgren for the remainder of the contest. The IceRays strung together a few chances in the frame but could not find their first goal.
The IceRays showed life in the third period and found production before the midway mark of the frame. At 7:42, forward Joe Chitwood faked Killer Bees netminder Ben Johansson to overcommit to his right, freeing up forward Mason Krueger for a quick slot to the netminder’s left, which cut the lead down to 3-1. After pulling Lindgren and earning a late offensive surge, Killer Bees forward Anthony Croston tucked in an empty net goal at 19:33 to seal the 4-1 win.
Johansson (11-8-3) earned the win, saving 31 of 32 shots. Pickar (7-7-2) grabbed the loss, stopping 11 of 14 shots through 21:02 minutes in the start, while Lindgren turned aside all 16 shots faced in 37:44 minutes of relief. The IceRays finish their weekend set against the Killer Bees on Saturday, February 21 at 7:05 p.m. from the American Bank Center. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, FASTHockey.com, and 87.7 FM in-arena.
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