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.
Friday, October 2: Amarillo Bulls 2, IceRays 3
Shots: Bulls 24, IceRays 24
PP: Bulls 0-for-2, IceRays 0-for-1
The Corpus Christi IceRays (3-4-0) opened their home schedule with a 3-2 win over the Amarillo Bulls (1-5-1) at the American Bank Center.
IceRays forward Carter Johnson (1:34 1st) began a swift opening period with his fourth of the year followed by the first by forward Nathan Bryer (3:57 1st) to jump out to an early 2-0 lead. The Bulls answered with strikes from forwards Joey Molinaro (6:45 1st) and Joey DiBenedetto (9:29 1st) to tie the game, 2-2. IceRays defenseman Michael Bevilacqua (3:46 2nd) provided the game-winner early in the middle frame and took a 3-2 win for the IceRays.
IceRays goaltender Graham Hunt (2-2-0) saved 22 of 24 shots in the win, and Anton Martinsson (1-3-1) stopped 21 of 24 shots in the loss.
Saturday, October 3: Amarillo Bulls 1, IceRays 2 (SO)
Shots: Bulls 39, IceRays 29
PP: Bulls 0-for-3, IceRays 1-for-4
The Corpus Christi IceRays (4-4-0) rounded out their home opening weekend with a 2-1 shootout win over the Amarillo Bulls (1-5-2) at the American Bank Center.
Bulls forward Joey Molinaro (14:32 1st) registered the lone goal for the Bulls on a redirection coming from defenseman Phil Fromberger. After a charge early in the third period, IceRays forward Jimmy O'Brien (PP, 15:31 3rd) jammed home his first of the year to tie the game, 1-1. After a scoreless overtime, IceRays forward Ryan Cusin scored in the third round of the shootout to seal the victory.
IceRays goaltender Dryden McKay (2-2-0) saved 28 of 29 shots in the win, and Anton Martinsson (1-3-2) stopped 38 of 39 shots in the loss.
Thursday, October 8, 2015 vs. Wichita Falls Wildcats – 7:05 p.m.
Friday, October 9, 2015 vs. Wichita Falls Wildcats – 7:05 p.m.
The Corpus Christi IceRays close out their four-game home stand against the Wichita Falls Wildcats at the American Bank Center leading up to Bikefest 2015. The IceRays and Wildcats begin the first of a 12-game season series and their only home series against Wichita Falls until Mar. 11. Last season, the IceRays recorded a 3-5-0 record against the Wildcats including a 2-2-0 split in games from the American Bank Center. Historically, the IceRays own a 17-23-6 record over the past five seasons and have split their 24 home games down the middle: 12-11-1.
PROMOTIONS: The IceRays lead into Bikefest 2015 with end-of-the-week contests at the arena. Friday night is a Frosty Friday with one-dollar beer and sodas all evening long.
The Wichita Falls Wildcats opened their 2015-16 home schedule with a 5-3 win over the Odessa Jackalopes from the Kay Yeager Coliseum. Forward Garrett VanWyhe (6:40 1st) opened the home season with the team's first goal before the Jackalopes overtook the Wildcats, 2-1, by the early stages of the second period. Wildcats forwards Aleksi Poikola (11:58 2nd) and Max Reisinger (PP, 16:21 2nd) helped to gain back momentum for the Wildcats and take a 3-2 lead. Following an early Odessa equalizer, Reisinger (9:55 3rd) and forward Nick Rosa (15:33 3rd) pushed the Wildcats to their eventual 5-3 victory. Wildcats goaltender Justin Kapelmaster saved 16 of 19 shots in the win, and Jackalopes netminder Dean Shatzer stopped 31 of 36 shots in the loss.
South Division Recap:
The Topeka RoadRunners vaulted ahead of the South Division with a weekend sweep of the Lone Star Brahmas to grab hold of the divisional lead over the Wichita Falls Wildcats and Brahmas with three more games played. The Brahmas did gain one point in a shootout loss to keep hold of third place in the division. With the Corpus Christi IceRays sweeping their home opening weekend, they leap frog up to fourth and back to a .500 record along. The Odessa Jackalopes dropped back to .500 with a loss in their lone game this weekend, and the Amarillo Bulls did pick up one point despite now dropping their last seven-straight games.
South Division Standings:
Topeka RoadRunners 6-4-0, 12 points
Wichita Falls Wildcats 5-1-1, 11 points
Lone Star Brahmas 4-1-2, 10 points
Corpus Christi IceRays 4-4-0, 8 points
Odessa Jackalopes 3-3-0, 6 points
Amarillo Bulls 1-5-2, 4 points
The IceRays capitalized on their first attempt in the new best-of-three shootout format adopted by the NAHL this season. Thus far, the NAHL has seen five shootouts and eight games end in the new three-on-three overtime period compared to eight shootouts and five games in overtime at this point in the 2014-15 season. Dating back to last season, the IceRays have won four-straight shootouts and are 2-0 in games ending after regulation. Forward Ryan Cusin owns the game-winners in each of their last three shootouts.
Since John Becanic became the head coach of the IceRays in 2013-14, the team has been perfect on home opening weekends at the American Bank Center. The IceRays are 3-0 in home openers and including a single-game and weekend to open the 2014-15 home schedule are 7-0-0 with three sweeps over the last three seasons. Historically, the IceRays are 10-4-0 in single-game plus weekend openers and 2-0 in single-game opening sets.
Jimmy O'Brien's power play goal on Saturday night broke a string of 18-straight chances without scoring with the man-advantage. Though the sample size remains small, the IceRays have not floated over a 15.00% conversion rate since scoring their first power play goal on Sep. 20 against Topeka and never sat higher than 12th in the NAHL in power play. The team has scored one power play goal in four of the team's first eight games and sits 20th in the league (10.81%).
IN THE COMMUNITY…
Members of the IceRays will spend time at the Casa de Mañana Apartments on Tuesday night from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. to sign autographs and spend time in the community and with the residents. Tuesday night is also National Night Out, which takes place on the first Tuesday of October.
On Wednesday evening, members of the IceRays will attend the Family Fun Festival at Grace Presbyterian Church on Yorktown Blvd. from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The event promotes Domestic Violence Awareness Month along with providing a family, fun atmosphere, free food, and live entertainment throughout the event. The IceRays attend to support domestic violence awareness and take part in the evening's festivities.
The IceRays will venture out to the Wilkinson Pre-Owned Super Center in Victoria, Texas for a Meet And Greet on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. Fans can get autographs and photos with the team while also spreading IceRays hockey to one of the Coastal Bend's neighboring towns. For more information on the event, contact the Wilkinson Pre-Owned Super Center.
– Defend The Bend –