The IceRays Weekly is a weekly recap and preview of IceRays news, games, and more. The IceRays Weekly will be released every Monday during the 2015-16 season.
Tuesday, December 29: Odessa Jackalopes 4, IceRays 5
Shots: Jackalopes 31, IceRays 42
PP: Jackalopes 0-for-1, IceRays 1-for-4
The Corpus Christi IceRays (11-14-3) battled back and forth but came away with a 5-4 overtime win over the Odessa Jackalopes (10-11-4) on Tuesday night at the American Bank Center.
Odessa forward Zach Zech (3:34 1st) earned the first goal on a rebound in the opening period before three-straight goals by the IceRays. Regen Cavanagh (13:45 1st) and Matthew Acciaioli (14:21 1st) scored less than one minute apart to take a 2-1 lead before the second period, and Carter Johnson (PP, 4:23 2nd) capitalized on the man-advantage to earn a 3-1 lead. The Jackalopes came back with three-unanswered of their own in the middle frame from Jon Russell (5:39 2nd), Gray Marr (12:30 2nd) and Oliver Celec (14:19 2nd) with the final coming as a 3-on-0 breakaway to gain back a 4-3 lead. IceRays forward Toby Kircher (9:35 3rd) forced overtime with the lone goal in the third period. Though IceRays defenseman Tucker Bender missed a penalty shot, forward Brad LeLievre (2:47 OT) earned the game-winner to take the 5-4 victory.
IceRays goaltender Graham Hunt (6-8-2) saved 27 of 31 in the win, and Jackalopes netminder Dean Shatzer (4-7-3) stopped 37 of 42 in the loss.
Wednesday, December 30: Odessa Jackalopes 1, IceRays 4
Shots: Jackalopes 33, IceRays 29
PP: Jackalopes 0-for-5, IceRays 1-for-8
The Corpus Christi IceRays (12-14-3) held firm and earned a 4-1 win over the Odessa Jackalopes (10-12-4) on Wednesday night to sweep the mid-week set at the American Bank Center.
Defenseman Colton Meekhof (19:11 1st) scored his first NAHL goal as a forward to put the IceRays up 1-0 late in the first period. IceRays forward Brad Power (PP, 12:02 2nd) doubled the lead, 2-0, on the team’s fourth power play chance, and forward Nathan Bryer (15:58 2nd) tapped in his second this month to triple the lead, 3-0. Jackalopes forward Hampus Sjodahl (3:56 3rd) put the road side on the board and cut the lead to two, 3-1, before IceRays forward Carter Johnson (9:21 3rd) gave the home team more cushion for the eventual 4-1 win.
IceRays goaltender Graham Hunt (7-8-2) saved 32 of 33 shots in the win, and Jackalopes goalie Gunnar Rivers (6-5-1) stopped 25 of 29 shots in the loss.
Friday, January 1: IceRays 3, Topeka RoadRunners 0
Shots: IceRays 24, RoadRunners 20
PP: IceRays 1-for-2, RoadRunners 0-for-4
The Corpus Christi IceRays (13-14-3) earned their first shutout of the year with a 3-0 blanking of the Topeka RoadRunners (21-13-1) on Friday night at the Kansas Expocentre.
IceRays forward Drake Lindsay (PP, 7:06 1st) started the scoring with a right-point shot to take a 1-0 lead. The IceRays capitalized on two turnovers in the second period to gain two more goals. Forward Brad LeLievre (2:29 2nd) poked the puck in from the crease to double the lead, 2-0, and forward Toby Kircher (9:41 2nd) did the same from the opposite side to triple the lead, 3-0.
IceRays netminder Graham Hunt (8-8-2) saved all 20 shots faced in his first NAHL shutout, and RoadRunners goaltender Tyler Johnson (13-7-0) saved 21 of 24 in the loss.
Saturday, January 2: IceRays 2, Topeka RoadRunners 1
Shots: IceRays 19, RoadRunners 25
PP: IceRays 0-for-6, RoadRunners 0-for-5
The Corpus Christi IceRays (14-14-3) came from behind to earn their first sweep of the Topeka RoadRunners (21-14-1) with a 2-1 win on Saturday night at the Kansas Expocentre.
RoadRunners forward Quinn Preston (7:24 1st) capitalized on a down-low play to give the RoadRunners the 1-0 lead and first goal of the weekend. Despite the low-shooting game heading into the third period, the IceRays struck twice in the final frame. IceRays forward Drake Lindsay (7:22 3rd) found an open puck on the right side of the crease to tie the game, 1-1. IceRays forward Mason Krueger (13:53 3rd) then split the defense and lofted a backhanded shot to take the 2-1 lead and hold off the RoadRunners in the final minutes.
IceRays goaltender Graham Hunt (9-8-2) saved 24 of 25 shots in the win, and RoadRunners netminder Tyler Johnson (13-8-0) stopped 17 of 19 shots in the loss.
Friday, January 8 @ Wichita Falls Wildcats – 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, January 9 @ Wichita Falls Wildcats – 7:05 p.m.
The Corpus Christi IceRays continue their six-game road trip with a two-game set against the South Division-leading Wichita Falls Wildcats on Friday and Saturday night at the Kay Yeager Coliseum. The IceRays haven't had the best luck against the Wildcats this season, dropping all four contests thus far with two at each team's home. This is the first game between the IceRays and Wildcats since Oct. 31 in Wichita Falls. The IceRays own a 17-27-6 franchise record and 5-14-5 record at the Kay Yeager Coliseum.
The Wichita Falls Wildcats returned from the holiday break with a sweep of the Amarillo Bulls in a home-and-home series, winning 4-2 on New Year's Eve in Amarillo and 2-1 on Saturday at home. Only two players earned multi-point weekends: forward Aleksi Poikola (two assists) on Thursday's game and forward Austin Albrecht (two assists) in each contest. In total, 15 different players recorded points during the weekend set and all six goals came off different sticks. Goaltender Justin Kapelmaster earned wins in both games, saving 25 of 27 shots on New Year's Eve and 26 of 27 shots on Saturday night.
South Division Recap:
The Wichita Falls Wildcats increased their lead in the South Division standings thanks to their sweep of the Amarillo Bulls returning from the holiday and also became the first team in the NAHL to eclipse the 50-point threshold. The Lone Star Brahmas ran into a persistent Odessa Jackalopes squad last weekend and came away with a split at the Ector County Coliseum, dropping behind the Wildcats by two more points but also securing second place by two points. The Corpus Christi IceRays earned a four-win week for the first time in junior franchise history, taking down the Jackalopes at home then the Topeka RoadRunners on the road for also their first sweep of the RoadRunners in franchise history. Odessa also played four games, winning only one of their four contests and walking away with three points.
South Division Standings:
Wichita Falls Wildcats 25-5-2, 53 points
Lone Star Brahmas 20-7-5, 45 points
Topeka RoadRunners 21-14-1, 43 points
Corpus Christi IceRays 14-14-3, 31 points
Odessa Jackalopes 11-13-4, 26 points
Amarillo Bulls 8-23-3, 17 points
IN THE NEWS…
The American Bank Center has updated their prohibited list and safety measures for the 2016 calendar year effective immediately. The SMG Staff has made changes to provide a safer entertainment experience at the American Bank Center and its various venues. For a complete list, please visit either www.AmericanBankCenter.com or www.GoIceRays.com. For questions or concerns regarding the list, please contact SMG at 361-826-4700.
The IceRays claimed wins in all four games last week, earning a four-game sweep for the first time in junior franchise history in their first attempt outside of the NAHL Showcase as well as their fifth-straight win. In their five-game win streak, the IceRays have outscored their opposition 20-8 while winning three of those five games away from the American Bank Center. In the process, the IceRays also earned their first sweep of the Topeka RoadRunners in junior franchise history and extend their season-best win total against Topeka to four games, overtaking their previous high of just one in two different seasons. With the recent run, the IceRays are also back to .500 for the first time since Sep. 20, which was the second game of the season.
IceRays netminder Graham Hunt has had a week to remember and been stalwart in his recent stretch. With Dryden McKay up at the USHL for the past few weeks, the 20-year-old has been tasked with taking the reigns in net. He has played in the team's last seven games and all five last week, going 5-0-0 with a 1.58 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage during the current win streak while also improving to over a .500 record for the first time this season and earning his first NAHL shutout. He's also improved his goals-against average from 2.78 to 2.46 (which is now 15th in the NAHL) and his save percentage from .912 to .919 (14th in the NAHL).
– Defend The Bend –