Saturday, 11.11.17 / 10:48 pm CT
Photo: Chip Pitcairn
The IceRays erased a two-goal deficit against the Topeka RoadRunners on Stars & Stripes Night, earning their fourth straight victory in an overtime thriller.
A much different change in pace was underway to start Saturday night’s game. A first period which yielded a whopping 27 shots on Friday saw only 12 the following night.
Playing with a chip on his shoulder after being scratched on Friday, Noah Roofe converted for the Rays just two and a half minutes into the contest. Garrett Hallford stormed the Topeka zone on his off wing and hay baled the puck through Connor Murphy’s crease, where Roofe was lurking to tap the puck into the net. Roofe’s goal was his second in as many games played and gave the Rays a 1-0 lead on their very first shot on goal.
Murphy responded effectively, shutting down the Rays for the rest of the opening segment. The RoadRunners’ most dangerous player, Nick Granowicz, scored his third goal in as many games against the IceRays after Sam Martel fed him a beautiful no-look backhand pass from the slot to the right circle. Jacob Acton, making his first home start for the IceRays, could not stop the heavy one-timer and the teams entered the first intermission tied up 1-1.
Topeka had an offensive surge early in the second period. Nick Schultze deflected a long-range shot by Sam Martel on a RoadRunners power play to give the visitors their first lead of the weekend. Just a couple of shifts later, Granowicz soared down the left wing, protecting the puck en route to the goal. He stuffed it past Acton to give the Runners a 3-1 insurance lead.
Going shorthanded late in the middle frame, the Rays came up with an answer to Topeka’s three straight goals. CJ Regula made an outstanding no-look breakout pass to Brendan Miller, who galloped down his off-wing to gain a step on the Topeka defenseman. He waited for Murphy to lunge out with a diving pokecheck, and then slipped it through his five-hole for his team-leading second shorthanded goal of the season. Miller’s tally cut the Rays’ deficit to a single goal heading into the second intermission.
The Rays carried their momentum from Miller’s goal into the next period, outshooting the RoadRunners 13-4 in the closing stanza. At 48:56, Larry Jungwirth converted after Aleksi Peltonen fed him a crisp pass at the side of the net. Jungwirth tucked home his fourth goal of the weekend to level the score 3-3, ultimately forcing overtime.
Two minutes and fourteen seconds into sudden death, Trevor Wilhelm flew down the right wing and snapped a shot past Murphy inside the near post to give the Rays a 4-3 victory. He remains the only IceRay to have scored an overtime goal this season, as he’s now been the hero on each of his two goals.
Corpus Christi improved to 8-10-2 with the home sweep of the RoadRunners. Acton made 13 of a possible 16 saves and earned his first victory as an IceRay. Murphy stopped 28 of 32 and was handed his first overtime defeat. The IceRays will return to the American Bank Center on Friday, November 17th, to host the Lone Star Brahmas. Puck drop is set for 7:05 pm CT.