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.
Wednesday, September 23: Johnstown Tomahawks 2, IceRays 1
Shots: Tomahawks 16, IceRays 26
PP: Tomahawks 0-for-4, IceRays 1-for-6
The Corpus Christi IceRays (1-2-0) opened the 2015 NAHL Showcase with a 2-1 loss to the Johnstown Tomahawks (2-1-0) on Wednesday afternoon from the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minn.
While play was four-on-four, Johnstown forward Luke Lynch (17:23 2nd) nudged the Tomahawks ahead 1-0 in a very even contest up to that point in the second period. Early in the third, Tomahawks forward Kelly O’Brien (2:20 3rd) doubled the lead, 2-0, before the IceRays picked up offensively. Late in the game, IceRays forward Carter Johnson (PP, 18:48 3rd) notched his first of the season on a five-on-three power play to draw within one, 2-1. However, the IceRays couldn’t convert on chances and faltered in the contest.
Tomahawks goaltender Jacob Gwillim (2-0-0) stopped 25 of 26 shots in the win, and IceRays netminder Graham Hunt (1-1-0) saved 14 of 16 shots in the loss.
Thursday, September 24: IceRays 3, WBS Knights 2 (OT)
Shots: IceRays 43, Knights 31
PP: IceRays 1-for-6, Knights 0-for-1
The Corpus Christi IceRays (2-2-0) rallied late in the third period and won 3-2 in overtime against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights (0-2-1) on Day Two of the NAHL Showcase.
Knights forward Tanner Bennett (SH, 12:40 1st) scored the first shorthanded goal in Knights history to take a 1-0 lead. The IceRays tied the game, 1-1, with a five-on-three power play goal by forward Stevie Bryant (PP, 3:57 2nd). The tie game didn’t last long with a goal by Knights forward Aiden Beck (7:59 2nd) and now a 2-1 lead. With the goaltender pulled, IceRays forward Carter Johnson (ES, 18:58 3rd) tied the game 2-2 and forced the first 3-on-3 overtime of the season. Once again, Johnson (2:38 OT) pulled through for the IceRays and gained a 3-2 win.
IceRays goaltender Dryden McKay (1-1-0) earned the win, stopping 29 of 31 shots, while Knights netminder Grant Valentine (0-1-1) picked up the overtime loss, saving 40 of 43 shots.
Friday, September 25: Springfield Jr. Blues 3, IceRays 1
Shots: Jr. Blues 33, IceRays 15
PP: Jr. Blues 2-for-8, IceRays 0-for-6
The Corpus Christi IceRays (2-3-0) let through three goals in the third period in a 3-1 slide to the Springfield Jr. Blues (2-1-0) on Friday morning on Day 3 of the NAHL Showcase.
IceRays forward Brad LeLievre (11:53 2nd) notched his first goal of the season to put the home side up 1-0 heading into the third period, but play unraveled for the IceRays. Jr. Blues forward Trevor Stone (5:13 3rd) got the Springfield scoring started and tied the game, 1-1, followed by a power play goal from defenseman Anthony Scarsella (PP, 6:42 3rd) to push ahead, 2-1. On a late power play, forward Brady Tomlak (PP, 16:40 3rd) scored the insurance goal to put away the IceRays, 3-1.
Jr. Blues netminder Tommy Nappier (2-0-0) saved 14 of 15 shots in the win, and IceRays goaltender Graham Hunt (1-2-0) stopped 30 of 33 shots in the loss.
Saturday, September 26: IceRays 1, Minot Minotauros 5
Shots: IceRays 23, Minotauros 30
PP: IceRays 0-for-4, Minotauros 0-for-4
The Corpus Christi IceRays (2-4-0) closed out their 2015 NAHL Showcase schedule with a 5-1 loss to the Minot Minotauros (3-1-2) on Day Four of the NAHL Showcase.
Minotauros forwards Troy Degler (10:30 1st) and Zack Bross (13:33 1st) kicked off the scoring in the opening period for Minot and gave the home side a 2-0 lead while commanding puck possession. After a scoreless middle frame, Minot forward Johnny Walker (5:07 3rd; 16:31 3rd) scored two one-time goals back door from the right circle to quadruple their lead, 4-0. Just 26 seconds later, forward Chase Springman (16:57 3rd) stretched the lead to 5-0 before IceRays forward Adam Canepa (19:54 3rd) disrupted the shutout and forced a final 5-1 scoreline.
Minotauros netminder Jon Flakne (2-0-1) saved 22 of 23 shots in the win, while IceRays goaltender Dryden McKay (1-2-0) turned aside 25 of 30 shots in the loss.
Friday, October 2, 2015 vs. Amarillo Bulls – 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, October 3, 2015 vs. Amarillo Bulls – 7:05 p.m.
The Corpus Christi IceRays open their 2015-16 home schedule this weekend against the Amarillo Bulls from the American Bank Center. The IceRays and Bulls will play 12 games against each other for the first time since 2011-12 and the third time in the past six seasons. Last season, the IceRays split their eight regular season games with a 4-3-1 record against the Bulls while going 3-1-0 on home ice. In six years of competition against the Bulls, the IceRays have earned a 15-35-2 record.
PROMOTIONS: The IceRays kick off the home season with the Caller-Times Best of the Best Showcase on Friday night. The first 1,000 fans will receive free 2015-16 IceRays magnet schedules, courtesy of Janet's Cakery. Friday's game is also a Frosty Friday with $1 beer and soda all evening long. Saturday is the 2nd Annual Childhood Cancer Awareness Night, in memory of Brooke Hester. Fans can participate in a silent auction and donate to childhood cancer research. Proceeds benefit Brooke's Blossoming Hope for Childhood Cancer.
The Amarillo Bulls struggled this week at the NAHL Showcase, walking away with a 0-3-1 record and dropping to 1-4-1 to begin their season. Only five players earned multi-point weeks with forwards George Mike (two goals, one assist), Johan Lundgren and Joey Molinaro (one goal, two assists) leading the way with three points each. Michael Forman and Jacob Nitsche (goal, assist) each earned two points, and only Molinaro earned a multi-point game. Returning netminders Anton Martinsson and Jacob Weatherly each played two games with Martinsson going 0-1-1 with six goals-against and .912 save percentage and Weatherly dropping 0-2-0 with eight goals-against and a .895 save percentage.
South Division Recap:
The Wichita Falls Wildcats and Lone Star Brahmas powered through their respective NAHL Showcase schedules, each going 3-0-1 at the NAHL Showcase and holding a share of first place in the South Divison. Each side's only losses came in a shootout: the Wildcats fell 3-2 to New Jersey on Day 4 and the Brahmas 1-0 to Fairbanks on Day 2. The Odessa Jackalopes turned some heads with a 3-1-0 showcase record and only dropping 3-2 to Janesville on Day 2, propelling to their first winning record in junior franchise history following the NAH Showcase. The Topeka RoadRunners stayed stable during their week with a 2-2-0 record and resting just shy of the top spot in the division. The IceRays and Bulls both ran into hardships in the showcase with one win for Corpus Christi and only one point for Amarillo.
South Division Standings:
Wichita Falls Wildcats 4-1-1, 9 points
Lone Star Brahmas 4-0-1, 9 points
Topeka RoadRunners 4-4-0, 8 points
Odessa Jackalopes 3-2-0, 6 points
Corpus Christi IceRays 2-4-0, 4 points
Amarillo Bulls 1-4-1, 3 points
For just the second time in six seasons, the IceRays slipped to a losing record at the NAHL Showcase, finishing with a 1-3-0 campaign to round out their 12-day road trip. Their only other losing output came in 2013-14 with a 1-3-0 record at the showcase. In three seasons under Head Coach John Becanic, the IceRays have gone 4-6-2 at the NAHL Showcase and 11-10-3 over their six-year history at the event. The event completes their most grueling opening to a season, playing seven games (including one pre-season match) in 12-days, spanning over 2,500 miles and 30 hours worth of travel.
Despite the team's struggles offensively and their slipping record, the IceRays back end of the ice has been one of the stronger forces in the NAHL following the opening showcase. The team sits midway through the league in shots against per game (28.33) but rank ninth in goals-against per game (2.50) including their 5-1 loss on Saturday. It's also worth nothing that the IceRays own the league's 9th-best save percentage (.912) and one of nine teams above .910 on the season. Only one other South Division opponent has a better save percentage: Lone Star (.931, 2nd). Aberdeen ranks first in save percentage (.952).
While strengths and on-ice play remains spread throughout the team, scoring among IceRays skaters still rests among the team's top unit to begin the year. Forwards Ryan Cusin (goal, three assists), Drake Lindsay (four assists) and Carter Johnson (three goals), who all played the first five games on the same line, combine for 11 points through six games, encompassing 44.00% (almost half) of the team's total point total (25). Only one other skater has three points or more: Andrew McGlynn (two goals, one assist).
IN THE COMMUNITY…
The IceRays open the year with their annual Season Ticket Holder Kick Off Party tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Watergarden Room at the American Bank Center. Partial and full season ticket holders can pick up their tickets and parking passes while enjoying dinner and meeting the 2015-16 IceRays, coaches, and staff. Those attending should enter through the Convention Center entrance. Those looking to RSVP may do so to Amanda Marines by calling our office (361-814-7825) by 4:00 p.m. this afternoon.
The IceRays will have a public Meet The Team event with the 2015-16 IceRays at the La Palmera Mall Food Court on Thursday, October 1 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Fans can see this year's squad and meet their favorite players on the eve of the IceRays' home opener. The players will be helping to make blossoms for Saturday's Childhood Cancer Awareness Night, and fans are welcome to join the team in the community event.
On Saturday, October 3, the IceRays will be participating in the 2015 Corpus Christi Heart Walk beginning at 8:00 a.m. at Whataburger Field. The event is a 3.1-mile non-competitive walk that circles along Shoreline Blvd. and returns back to Whataburger Field. Check-in begins at 8:00 a.m. with the walk kicking off at 11:00 a.m. The IceRays support the American Heart Association in conjunction with this season's Heart Night in February. For more information and registration for the walk, click here.
Also on Saturday, M&G Chemicals will be hosting a Public Awareness Event from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the American Bank Center. Community members are invited to learn about their new facility as well as upcoming opportunities with M&G Chemical. The event preceeds the IceRays' Childhood Cancer Awareness Night.
– Defend The Bend –