Saturday, 02.24.18 / 11:21 pm CT
Photo: Chip Pitcairn
Playing in front of a Heart Night crowd of over 3,200, the IceRays battled back against the Amarillo Bulls to split the series with a 4-2 triumph on Saturday.
A frightening scene silenced an otherwise wild crowd 5:45 into the contest, as IceRays forward Brendan Miller was slashed by Brendan Michaelian in the Amarillo slot. After screaming and laboring in pain, the Rays’ captain was eventually helped down the tunnel by a pair of teammates and would not return to the game. Michaelian received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the slash.
After a penalty parade from both sides, the IceRays found themselves on a 4-on-3 power play. Adam Kadlec kept the puck alive at the left point following an Amarillo clearing attempt, and skated into the high slot before releasing a heavy wrist shot over Jason Grande’s glove and into the net. The snipe was Kadlec’s first goal as an IceRay and was the first time the Rays had solved the Bulls’ goaltender all weekend.
The Rays dominated the tempo to start the second period. They generated eight consecutive shots on goal before Amarilo finally responded.
At 21:38, Julian Makary found himself in a scrap with Josh DeLuca, who was hoping to engage in a fight with the IceRays’ forward. However, Makary was not interested in partaking, and DeLuca was given a five minute major for fighting as well as a game misconduct for fighting an unwilling opponent.
Amarillo fought off the five minute major penalty, and eventually turned the momentum in their favor. Brad Flynn used his timeout late in the second period to turn the tide, and the teams would enter the second intermission with the same 1-0 score.
Five minutes into the third stanza, Stephen Rex fired a one-timer past Chad Veltri, who had been perfect in net until that point. However, the Rays had an answer midway through the period. Jayson Dimizio brought the puck down the left side and fed a cross-crease pass to Angus Scott, who tucked it past Jason Grande’s glove side. Scott’s tally was his fifth of the season and regained the IceRays’ lead.
Miller, who had returned from injury to start the third period, would bury an empty-net goal to seal the victory. Scott added another before Amarillo’s Brendan Datema was credited with a goal with just 16 seconds remaining off an awkward deflection.
Veltri denied 26 of the 28 shots he faced, earning his 16th win of the season. Grande fought off 30 of 32, but was charged with his 16th regulation loss. The IceRays will return to the American Bank Center next Friday, March 2nd, to host the Odessa Jackalopes. Puck drop is set for 7:05 pm CT. The game will be broadcast on HockeyTV.com and on YouTube.