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, March 25: Odessa Jackalopes 3, IceRays 1
Shots: Jackalopes 44, IceRays 35
PP: Jackalopes 0-for-5, IceRays 1-for-5
Two early goals halted the Corpus Christi IceRays (23-26-6) in a 3-1 loss to the Odessa Jackalopes (24-27-4) on Friday night at the American Bank Center.
Jackalopes forward Noah Poindexter (5:14 1st) poked home a loose puck for his first NAHL goal and put the road side up 1-0. Jackalopes forward Jon Russell (15:28 1st) came in on an earned breakaway and stretched across the crease to wrap around the netminder to double the lead, 2-0. The IceRays answered back in the third period when forward Brendan Miller (PP, 7:22 3rd) jammed home a puck caught in the crease to cut the lead in half, 2-1, but the Jackalopes solidified the win with an empty net goal from forward Derek Brown (EN, 19:07 3rd) to finish at 3-1.
Jackalopes goaltender Jon Flakne (14-9-2) stopped 34 of 35 shots in the win, and IceRays netminder Dryden McKay (13-12-2) turned aside 41 of 43 shots in the loss.
Saturday, March 26: Odessa Jackalopes 3, IceRays 2
Shots: Jackalopes 31, IceRays 48
PP: Jackalopes 3-for-6, IceRays 1-for-4
The Corpus Christi IceRays (23-27-6) were held down despite a hard offensive push in a 3-2 loss to the Odessa Jackalopes (25-27-4) on Saturday night at the American Bank Center.
Jackalopes forward Pierce Pluemer (PP, 9:59 1st) converted the game's opening goal to give the road side the 1-0 edge before IceRays forward Brad LeLievre (19:35, 1st) tied the game, 1-1, late in the period after receiving a pass from down low. The Jackalopes converted on three-straight power plays through the second period with two in the middle frame from forward Hampus Sjodahl (PP, 10:26 2nd) and defenseman Daniel Kiraly (PP, 13:07 2nd) to double their lead, 3-1. IceRays forward Mason Krueger (PP, 15:16 2nd) drew within one, 3-2, before the end of the frame but could not find an equalizer in the third period.
Jackalopes goaltender Dean Shatzer (11-15-3) halted 46 of 48 shots in the win, while IceRays netminder Dryden McKay (13-13-2) stopped 28 of 31 shots in the loss.
Friday, April 1 vs. Wichita Falls Wildcats – 7:11 p.m.
Saturday, April 2 vs. Wichita Falls Wildcats – 7:11 p.m.
The Corpus Christi IceRays begin their last home weekend of the 2015-16 regular season and a four-game stretch against the Wichita Falls Wildcats this weekend at the American Bank Center. The IceRays earned their first win against the Wildcats in their last meeting, breaking a seven-game winless drought from the start of this season. With the win, the IceRays are 1-7-0 against the Wildcats this season and 13-14-1 at home over the past six seasons. The Wildcats own the all-time series, pitting the IceRays to a 18-30-6 record.
PROMOTIONS: The IceRays open Pack The House Weekend with Country Night, presented by KFTX and Billy Bob's Western Ware on Friday evening. The first 250 fans entering the game will receive a free KFTX koozie, and fans can meet KFTX's Country Boy Don Williams, who will be providing the in-arena announcing throughout the game. In addition, Jim Dugan will perform throughout the night and post-game. Friday is also the last Frosty Friday of the season with $1 beer and sodas. Saturday is Pack The House For Charity, presented by the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Corpus Christi Harley Davidson, Kiewit, Mattress Firm, and the Port of Corpus Christi. The IceRays will be wearing their special Harley Davidson jerseys on both nights, and the jerseys will be auctioned to the public post-game in the Eddie Jackson Post-Game Jersey Auction. There will also be an in-game silent auction. Proceeds from the auctions will benefit Mission911. Saturday is also a Corpus Christi Caller-Times Family 4-Pack Night with four tickets, four hot dogs, and four sodas for just $46.
The Wichita Falls Wildcats continued their unbeaten streak at home with a sweep of the Topeka RoadRunners, winning 4-3 on Friday and 3-2 on Saturday at the Kay Yeager Coliseum. Forward Austin Albrecht turned in a strong campaign, leading the team with four points (three goals, one assist) with two of his goals coming on Saturday and being one of five players with multi-point weekends. Forwards Jonathan Lazarus (three assists) and Andre Pison (goal, two assists) picked up a trio of points as well over the weekend. Goaltender Justin Kapelmaster earned wins on both nights, halting 61 shots through 66 attempts throughout the weekend.
South Division Recap:
Thanks to their weekend sweep of the Topeka RoadRunners, the Wichita Falls Wildcats improved their home winning streak to 14 games and is now two points away from clinching the South Division title heading into the final month. The Lone Star Brahmas did their best to help their cause for the top spot in the division with a road sweep of the Amarillo Bulls, but they could only keep pace with Wichita Falls. The Odessa Jackalopes swept the Corpus Christi IceRays for the second-straight time at the American Bank Center, taking over the fourth playoff spot by a two-point gap while also holding the first tie-breaker (most wins).
South Division Standings:
x-Wichita Falls Wildcats 42-10-4, 88 points
x-Lone Star Brahmas 37-11-8, 82 points
x-Topeka RoadRunners 32-23-1, 65 points
Odessa Jackalopes 25-27-4, 54 points
Corpus Christi IceRays 23-27-6, 52 points
z-Amarillo Bulls 11-41-4, 26 points
y – clinched division
x – clinched playoff berth
z – eliminated from contention
The IceRays closed March on a sour note, dropping their last two games to fall to 4-4-0 through eight games in the last full month of the season. The IceRays began with wins in three of their first four games against Odessa and Wichita Falls before faltering in three of four against Lone Star and the Jackalopes. After opening the month outscoring their opposition 9-3, the IceRays slipped to a 15-10 deficit in their closing six games while being held to two goals or less in each of their last six contests. The team also slipped to fifth place for the first time in the month with their loss on Saturday night.
The playoff race comes down to the final four games, and the IceRays will need some help during the final month to clinch a playoff spot. Following a sweep at the hands of the Jackalopes, the IceRays remain two points back of fourth place and three points from sole possession. Odessa owns the first tie-breaker (most wins), so the IceRays will need to earn three more points than the Jackalopes over their final four games to clinch the playoffs. That means the IceRays can go no worse than 1-2-1 if Odessa were to finish the season winless, or if the IceRays ran the table the Jackalopes could do no better than two wins in four games. If the Jackalopes finished going 2-0-2 in a perfect four-game stretch for the IceRays, the third tie-breaker (head-to-head goal differential) would go to the IceRays after being equal in wins and the season series (6-4-2) with Odessa.
– Defend The Bend –