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, September 15, 2015 @ Lone Star Brahmas – 7:00 p.m. (pre-season)
Friday, September 18, 2015 @ Topeka RoadRunners – 7:05 p.m.
Sunday, September 20, 2015 @ Topeka RoadRunners – 6:05 p.m.
The Corpus Christi IceRays face-off in one pre-season game against the Lone Star Brahmas before the outset of the 2015-16 season to open a 12-day road trip. This is the first meeting between these two South Division foes in pre-season action. Last season, the IceRays played a home-and-home series against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, splitting the weekend with a 7-6 loss in Hidalgo, Texas and earning a 4-1 win at home. Format for the pre-season game will be the same as a regular season game: three 20-minute periods with 15-minute intermissions. The Brahmas won their first South Division crown last year with a 40-12-8 record. The IceRays and Brahmas are the only two South Division teams left to open their respective 2015-16 seasons.
For the third-straight season, the IceRays will open their campaign against the Topeka RoadRunners from Landon Arena inside the Kansas ExpoCentre. The RoadRunners finished the 2014-15 campaign with a 39-15-6 record and second place in the South Division, falling in the South Division Finals 3-1 to the Brahmas in four games. The IceRays earned a 1-2-1 record against the RoadRunners in their four-game season series, winning on Oct. 17 in a 4-3 overtime victory at home. Historically, the IceRays have not faired well against Topeka, owning a 2-17-3 record over the past five seasons. Their lone wins: Feb. 1, 2013 (3-2 SOW @ TOP) and Oct. 17, 2015 (4-3 OTW at home).
The RoadRunners began their 2015-16 campaign as the first game for the entire NAHL on Friday, taking down the Wichita Falls Wildcats 4-3 at home but faltering 6-2 the following night to split the weekend series. The series marks the earliest games for each team in their junior franchise histories. Returning forward Luka Maver led the way with three points (two goals, one assist) including the team’s first goal of the year on a shorthanded play Friday night. Four other players recorded two-point weekends: forward Ryan O’Connor (goal, assist), forward Andrew Hart (goal, assist), Max Harper (goal, assist), and Cam Strong (two assists). Slovakian goaltender Vladimir Cibulka earned the win on Friday, stopping 28 of 31 shots, while American net minder Tyler Johnson picked up the loss on Saturday, saving 25 of 31 shots.
South Division Standings:
Amarillo Bulls 1-0-0, 2 points
Wichita Falls Wildcats 1-1-0, 2 points
Topeka RoadRunners 1-1-0, 2 points
Corpus Christi IceRays 0-0-0, 0 points
Lone Star Brahmas 0-0-0, 0 points
Odessa Jackalopes 0-1-0, 0 points
The IceRays own a 2-2-1 record in season openers since becoming a junior franchise in 2010. In those five games, the IceRays have been outscored 14-13, saw two overtime games (1-1 record), and had one shoutout against them (Sep. 15, 2010 @ TC). Every game was separated by just a goal. Over the last two seasons against Topeka, the IceRays have yet to record a win on opening night, going 0-1-1 and being outscored 6-4. Last season, the IceRays lost both games in their opening weekend 4-3 (OT) and 5-2 in Topeka.
On Sunday, former IceRays defenseman Phil Pietroniro (’11-’13) signed an entry-level contract with the Utah Grizzlies, the ECHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. In three seasons of QMJHL play, the Quebec native earned 17 goals and 58 assists for 75 points with 180 penalty minutes and a -11 rating through 166 regular season games. In 61 games over parts of two seasons with the IceRays, Pietroniro recorded eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points with 97 penalty minutes and a -6 rating. He becomes the fourth former player and third since becoming a NAHL franchise to earn an affiliated professional contract, joining forward Ryan Garbutt (CHI) and goaltenders Pheonix Copley (STL) and Anthony Stolarz (PHI).
SportsRadio Corpus Christi returns as the flagship station for all IceRays road games for the second-straight season. This week, the IceRays will host all three games including their pre-season match on KSIX 1230AM. Tuesday's game will only be available on SportsRadio Corpus Christi, however FASTHockey.com will be available for both games in Topeka. Coverage begins on Tuesday just before 7:00 p.m., Friday at 6:40 p.m. for a special extended Countdown to Faceoff, and Sunday at 5:50 p.m. Updates will be provided on Twitter (@goicerays).
– Defend The Bend –