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 2014-15 season.
Thursday, December 11: Amarillo Bulls 4, IceRays 8
Shots: Bulls 34, IceRays 35
PP: Bulls 0-for-4, IceRays 0-for-1
The Corpus Christi IceRays scored their highest goal total of the season and battled through the flu en route to a 8-4 win over the Amarillo Bulls from the American Bank Center.
Forward Mason Krueger (2:14 1st; 3:20 2nd) started the scoring in each of the first two periods to triple his previous goal total. Forwards Wes Michaud (7:00 1st) and Connor Kelly (7:39 1st) scored just 39 seconds apart to continue the momentum in the first period before Amarillo answered. In the second frame, it was defenseman Anthony Cortese (7:57 2nd) and forward Brad LeLievre (17:03 2nd; 18:39 3rd) to add two more goals on top of Krueger's to double the lead. Before LeLievre's final goal of the night, forward Tanner Lomsnes (SH EN, 16:51 3rd) tallied the team's first shorthanded goal of the season while placing the puck in an empty net to help seal the 8-4 win.
Amarillo forwards Trent Dillinger (10:51 1st), Charlie Combs (12:10 2nd), Riley Christensen (6:36 3rd), and Luke Novak (14:06 3rd) claimed the four Bulls goals on the night.
IceRays goaltender Luke Pickar (4-4-2) earned the win, saving 30 of 34 shots. Bulls netminder Jacob Weatherly (4-6-2) picked up the loss in a 22-for-26 save effort in relief of starter Anton Martinsson, who stopped five of eight shots in 7:39 played.
Friday, December 12: Amarillo Bulls 2, IceRays 3 (OT)
Shots: Bulls 28, IceRays 36
PP: Bulls 2-for-3, IceRays 0-for-3
The Corpus Christi IceRays scored with one second remaining in overtime, their latest regular season goal in franchise history, to complete the sweep of the Amarillo Bulls, 3-2.
The Bulls jumped out first with power play goals in the first two periods to take a 2-0 lead. IceRays forward Ryan Cusin (6:50 2nd) started the comeback with a great feed into the slot to set up the forward. Forward Connor Bucsis (1:53 3rd) tied the game, 2-2, early in the third period with a wrist shot from outside the left circle. After entering into overtime, it was defenseman Anthony Cortese (4:59 OT) to be the hero and help claim the 3-2 victory.
Forwards Will Harrison (PP, 13:52 1st) and Joey DiBenedetto (PP, 0:58 2nd) claimed the lone Bulls goals.
IceRays goaltender Andrew Lindgren (11-6-2) earned the win, turning aside 26 of 28 shots, while Bulls netminder Jacob Weatherly (4-6-3) picked up the overtime loss with 33 saves on 36 shots.
The Corpus Christi IceRays (15-10-4) will not play this weekend for an extended holiday break. Only one other team in the NAHL will be off this weekend: the Topeka RoadRunners (22-6-3). The IceRays will remain in fourth place in the South Division with 34 points when they return on Dec. 27 with a 13-point gap between they and the division-leading RoadRunners. They also stand currently five points behind the Lone Star Brahmas (19-6-1) and four behind the Wichita Falls Wildcats (19-5-0). No matter the result with the Wenatchee Wild (15-10-4) this weekend, they cannot eclipse the IceRays this coming weekend, trailing fourth place by five points.
South Division Matchups:
Lone Star Brahmas (2nd) @ Amarillo Bulls (7th) – Fri. & Sat. – 7:05 p.m.
RGV Killer Bees (6th) @ Odessa Jackalopes (8th) – Fri. & Sat. – 7:05 p.m.
Wichita Falls Wildcats (3rd) @ Wenatchee Wild (5th) – Fri. & Sat. – 9:05 p.m.
The overtime goal by Anthony Cortese on December 12 is the latest goal in franchise history for a regular season game. The only other time the IceRays scored with one second remaining in overtime came in an exhibition game on Oct. 10, 2009 against the Laredo Bucks of the Central Hockey League (CHL). Forward Maxime Boisclair's power play goal helped the minor professional IceRays to a 5-4 victory.
Forward Wes Michaud and defenseman Anthony Cortese continue to be recognized as two of the best players at their respective positions in the NAHL. Michaud shares second in the NAHL in points (38) with Lone Star's Sebastian Vidmar, and the two trail Fairbanks' Chandler Madry (43) by five points. Michaud also ranks third in assists (25), just four shy of Madry (29) for the league lead. Cortese leads all NAHL defenseman in goals (10) and points (27) and is the only defenseman this season to reach double-digit goals.
The IceRays and Wichita Falls share the second-longest active home winning streak in the NAHL with eight-straight wins. They both only trail Lone Star (16) for first. Their eight wins is also the third longest streak of the season, only trailing Topeka (9) by one home win. The IceRays also have the third-best home points percentage (.882) in the NAHL, trailing only Lone Star (.941) and Topeka (.912) for top marks.
IN THE COMMUNITY…
Be on the lookout later this week for the IceRays bus riding around the Corpus Christi area! The IceRays will be helping out the Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce with providing transportation for a city event this week.
– Go IceRays –