CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Corpus Christi IceRays (27-18-5) fell behind early and could not come back in their 7-3 loss to the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (22-21-8) on Tuesday night from the American Bank Center. The IceRays have now dropped the South Texas Vo-Tech Cup in consecutive seasons, earning five wins in 12 chances against Rio Grande Valley this season.
The Killer Bees edged on the scoreline first with a tap-in by forward Stathis Soumelidis at 10:33 to take a 1-0 lead. Just over a minute later at 11:40, Killer Bees forward Connor Wood took a slap shot from the slot and found the top of the net to double the lead, 2-0. The Killer Bees found one more before the end of the period at 19:04 on a touch-in by Dallas Gerads from the right side of the net to triple the lead, 3-0, heading into the first intermission.
The IceRays found life from their team-leading point-scorer Wes Michaud on the power play in the second period. After Killer Bees defenseman Evan Bell went to the box for holding, Michaud worked with the power play unit to knock home their first goal of the game at 11:08 and answer on the scoreline, 3-1. The surge was stifled at 16:12 with Killer Bees forward Cam Bleck going five-hole on IceRays netminder Andrew Lindgren coming off a strong offensive charge by the home side that ultimately put the Killer Bees up 4-1 after two periods.
Two early penalties by IceRays defenseman Travis Howe and forward Maksim Dzhioshvili sunk Corpus Christi early in the third period. Gavin Cummings took two shots from the blue line and found the back of the net on consecutive chances at 1:00 and 1:43 to pump the Killer Bees to a 6-1 lead. That spelled the end of the night for Lindgren, giving way to Luke Pickar. Killer Bees forward Zach Bennett blind-sided Michaud at 2:02 of the third period and ultimately put the IceRays on a five-minute power play. Howe chipped in his second goal in as many games at 5:48 to cut the lead down, 6-2. IceRays forward Mason Krueger patched a tally just after the end of the power play at 7:52 to give the IceRays a late beacon, 6-3. A five-on-three power play for the Killer Bees helped Elliot Lorraine tack on another goal at 12:08 to push the game to its final score, 7-3.
Killer Bees netminder Ben Johansson (13-8-4) earned the win, stopping 29 of 32 shots, while Lindgren (20-11-3) picked up the loss in a 19-for-25 effort, and Pickar stopped down six of seven shots in relief. The IceRays travel to North Richland Hills on Friday, March 6 to begin a two-game set against the Lone Star Brahmas at 7:30 p.m. from the NYTEX Sports Center. Coverage begins at 7:15 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX) and FASTHockey.com.
Call the front office at 361-814-7825 for season and individual ticket details or check out the pricing and seating chart online at www.goicerays.com. Stay current with the latest team news by visiting www.goicerays.com. In addition, stay connected with the IceRays on Facebook (/CorpusChristiIceRays), Twitter (@goicerays), YouTube (IceRays TV), Instagram (CorpusChristiIceRays), and Vine (@goicerays).