Saturday, 11.25.17 / 10:03 pm CT
In a close, tight-checking affair, the IceRays coughed up a narrow lead early in the third period and fell 2-1 to the Odessa Jackalopes on Saturday. The regulation defeat marked the end of a seven-game point streak for Corpus Christi.
A much stingier first period was on hand on Saturday night, which was expected to be the case. The plays which worked on Friday did not on Saturday, and goaltenders Chad Veltri (Corpus Christi) and Brett Epp (Odessa) kept the tilt scoreless through the opening twenty minutes.
Veltri had to make a number of unorthodox stops. Many of Odessa’s shots pinballed from sharp angles and made things difficult, but Veltri was equal to every challenge in the opening stanza. He was 12 of 12 in goal in the first period, while Epp was 11 of 11.
Pavel Koreshkov finally broke the ice early in the middle period. Just 2:19 in, he jumped on a rebound left out by Epp following a Michal Steinocher point shot. Koreshkov’s goal stood as the lone score through the opening 40 minutes of play. Steinocher and Angus Scott earned assists on the play.
CJ Regula was penalized for roughing late in the second period, and the questionable call came back to bite the IceRays.
Just a minute and three seconds into the third period, Lucas Andersson wristed a right point shot through a crowd of bodies and past Veltri, who never saw the puck. The goal tied the game early in the closing period, and Regula was again penalized just three and a half minutes later for slashing.
With one of the Rays’ top penalty killers back in the sin bin, Odessa again took advantage of its power play. Five minutes into the period, James Crossman fired a screen shot from straightaway. Ricky Carballo got his stick on the puck en route to the goal, and deflected it past Veltri to give the Jackalopes their first lead of the game.
In an attempt to tie the game back up, the Rays peppered Epp with chances. Flurries of shots in front of the Odessa net were all answered by Epp. He made 11 saves in the closing stanza, and the Jacks held on by the skin of their teeth to best the IceRays 2-1.
Veltri was sturdy in net throughout the game, stopping 32 of Odessa’s 34 shots. However, he was charged with his sixth regulation defeat of the season. Epp, on the other hand, was again stellar against the IceRays. He denied 37 of 38, earning his fifth win as a Jackalope and third against Corpus Christi. The IceRays return to the American Bank Center to host the Shreveport Mudbugs on Saturday, December 2nd. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 pm CT.