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 18: IceRays 2, Lone Star Brahmas 4
Shots: IceRays 22, Brahmas 30
PP: IceRays 1-for-5, Brahmas 1-for-8
The Corpus Christi IceRays (22-25-6) allowed three goals in the third period en route to a 4-2 loss to the Lone Star Brahmas (35-11-7) on Friday night at the NYTEX Sports Centre.
Brahmas forward Tomas Brejcha (1:46 1st) opened the scoring with a shot from the slot early on, but IceRays forward Drake Lindsay (PP, 7:46 1st) tipped a shot from defenseman Colton Meekhof in front of the net to tie the game, 1-1. IceRays forward Toby Kircher (4:38 2nd) gave the IceRays the lead heading into the final period, but the Brahmas found answers early and late. Forward Alex Berardinelli (PP, 3:25 3rd) tied the game at 2-2 during a 5-on-3 power play, then newcomer Joseph Berg (16:56 3rd) scored the game-winner in the final minutes with Berardinelli (EN, 18:52 3rd) sealing the 4-2 win.
Brahmas netminder Corbin Kaczperski (22-6-2) stopped 20 of 22 shots in the win, while IceRays goalie Dryden McKay (12-11-2) halted 26 of 29 shots in the loss.
Saturday, March 19: IceRays 2, Lone Star Brahmas 1 (OT)
Shots: IceRays 29, Brahmas 31
PP: IceRays 0-for-6, Brahmas 0-for-6
Toby Kircher scored the game-winning goal as time expired to lift the Corpus Christi IceRays (23-25-6) over the Lone Star Brahmas (35-11-8) in a 2-1 overtime victory on Saturday night from the NYTEX Sports Centre.
Brahmas forward Carson Kelley (6:52 1st) struck first for the home side with a stick handle and wrap-around the sprawling netminder to take an early 1-0 lead. The game remained evenly contested throughout most of the contest until late in the third period, when IceRays forward Stevie Bryant (14:05 3rd) received a pass coming off the benched and launched a shot from the blue line to tie the game, 1-1. The game traveled into overtime, and as time expired, IceRays forward Toby Kircher (4:59 OT) slotted a shot from the slot through the five-hole to seal a dramatic 2-1 overtime win.
IceRays goaltender Dryden McKay (13-11-2) turned aside 30 of 31 shots in the win, while Brahmas goalie Corbin Kaczperski (22-6-3) stopped 27 of 29 shots in the overtime loss.
Friday, March 25 vs. Odessa Jackalopes – 7:11 p.m.
Saturday, March 26 s. Odessa Jackalopes – 7:11 p.m.
The Corpus Christi IceRays close out their season series with a pivotal two-game set against their opponents for the playoffs, the Odessa Jackalopes, this weekend at the American Bank Center. The IceRays swept the Jackalopes in their last meeting on the road to start the month, moving the season series to a 6-2-2 advantage. The IceRays can win the season series outright with a win on either night or earn one point in two games to take it by virtue of points. The IceRays are 19-4-1 at the American Bank Center against the Jackalopes since 2011-12 after being swept to end February.
PROMOTIONS: The IceRays host their first ever Bingo Night on Friday night to kick off the weekend set. Donate five dollars and receive three Bingo cards to be played starting in the second period. There will be cash prizes available to the lucky winner throughout the game. Friday is also a Frosty Friday, with one-dollar beer and sodas throughout the evening. Saturday's game is the annual Faith & Family Night, presented by TLC Complete Care and Ingleside Dentistry. A Shepherd's Song, a local group from Calvary Chapel of the Coastlands, will be performing following the evening's game, and local parishes will receive free tickets, courtesy of the sponsors. 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 Odessa Jackalopes played a four-game week to make up their games in-hand and split them with a 2-2-0 record, winning 4-1 on Tuesday night against the Amarillo Bulls, then falling 7-6 on Friday, winning 4-3 on Saturday, and dropping 7-2 on Sunday to the Topeka RoadRunners from the Kansas Expocentre. Three players earned seven-point weeks in their four-game stretch: Hampus Sjodahl (5 goals, 2 assists), Gray Marr (2 goals, 5 assists), and Derek Brown (goal, 6 assists) with Sjodahl scoring the opening goal in three of four games. Ten players earned multi-point weekends with being down four players. Goaltender Dean Shatzer played the first two games, saving 60 of 67 shots and earning the win on Tuesday. Eric Schuch picked up the loss on Friday, stopping nine of 10 shots in the third period in relief of Shatzer. Jon Flakne earned a win and a loss on Saturday and Sunday, halting 58 of 68 shots.
South Division Recap:
After a full week of games, there is only a slight separation in key races despite varying results throughout the South Division. The Wichita Falls Wildcats swept their home weekend against the Amarillo Bulls to improve to 12-straight wins at home. The Lone Star Brahmas earned three of a possible four points over the weekend and slipped to six points back of the top spot with six games remaining. The Topeka RoadRunners finished out a three-game week with two wins and in the process clinching the three-seed in the South Division Semifinals. The Corpus Christi IceRays and Odessa Jackalopes remain separated by just two points despite the Jackalopes making up their two games in-hand. The IceRays upset the Brahmas in overtime on Saturday to hold their lead, and a split 2-2-0 record for Odessa moves them two points closer.
South Division Standings:
x-Wichita Falls Wildcats 40-10-4, 84 points
x-Lone Star Brahmas 35-11-8, 78 points
x-Topeka RoadRunners 32-21-1, 65 points
Corpus Christi IceRays 23-25-6, 52 points
Odessa Jackalopes 23-27-4, 50 points
z-Amarillo Bulls 11-39-4, 26 points
y – clinched division
x – clinched playoff berth
z – eliminated from contention
IceRays forward Toby Kircher scored the game-winning goal in Saturday's thrilling 2-1 overtime victory against the Brahmas. The goal is officially the latest goal in IceRays franchise history, crossing the line fractions of seconds before time expired, taking over the record set last season by defenseman Anthony Cortese with one second remaining in overtime. Kircher has three game-winning goals this season with two coming with the IceRays, and all three have come in overtime: Sep. 26 vs. AMA (1:39 OT), Dec. 4 @ ODA (3:09 OT) and Mar. 19 @ LSB (4:59 OT). One-third of his goal total is overtime game-winning goals.
Saturday's overtime win had a few implications on the IceRays' season and historical statistics. The win broke a three-game drought starting on January 16 in Lone Star, giving them their first post-regulation win since December 29 against Odessa at home. The game also closed the season series with the Brahmas, finishing with a 4-6-2 record including a 2-3-1 record both at home and on the road. Additionally, for the first time in junior franchise history, the IceRays won two games at the NYTEX Sports Center, claiming a 5-2 win on January 15 and the 201 overtime win on Saturday. It's also the first ever overtime win in a road game against the Brahmas in three seasons and moves the all-time record to 3-3 in games ending in overtime or later.
– Defend The Bend –