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 11: Wichita Falls Wildcats 3, IceRays 1
Shots: Wildcats 39, IceRays 21
PP: Wildcats 2-for-5, IceRays 0-for-4
Special teams in the second period took down the Corpus Christi IceRays (21-24-6) in a 3-1 loss to the Wichita Falls Wildcats (38-9-4) on Friday night at the American Bank Center.
IceRays defenseman Colton Meekhof (1:49 1st) opened the scoring for the second-straight time against the Wildcats to give the home side an early 1-0 lead. Wildcats defenseman Noah Gilreath (PP, 8:14 2nd) tied the game, 1-1, with a shot from the left point followed by the go-ahead goal by Wildcats forward Austin Albrecht (PP, 14:05 2nd) to jump out to a 2-1 lead. Despite a leveling off by the IceRays and pulling their netminder, Wildcats forward Erich Jaeger (EN, 19:23 3rd) sealed the win at 3-1 with an empty net goal.
Wildcats goaltender Justin Kapelmaster (28-6-2) stopped 20 of 21 in the win, while IceRays netminder Dryden McKay (11-10-2) halted 36 of 38 shots in the loss.
Saturday, March 12: Wichita Falls Wildcats 1, IceRays 2
Shots: Wildcats 41, IceRays 36
PP: Wildcats 1-for-2, IceRays 0-for-4
The Corpus Christi IceRays (22-24-6) held on to their first period lead to hold off the Wichita Falls Wildcats (38-10-4) for a 2-1 win on Saturday night at the American Bank Center.
IceRays forward Brad Power (5:59 1st) opened the scoring by slotting in his own rebound to give the home side an early 1-0 lead. Less than one minute later, IceRays forward Drake Lindsay (6:59 1st) doubled the scoring by helping to capitalize on a turnover in the offensive zone. On the Wildcats' second and final power play opportunity, forward Aleksi Poikola (PP, 6:43 2nd) found the puck in an open area to the right of the net to draw within one, 2-1. After a disallowed goal in the second period and a press in the third period by the Wildcats, the IceRays halted the push to claim the win.
IceRays goaltender Dryden McKay (12-10-2) turned aside 40 of 41 shots in the win, while Wildcats goalie Justin Kapelmaster (28-7-2) stopped 34 of 36 shots in the loss.
Friday, March 18 @ Lone Star Brahmas – 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 19 @ Lone Star Brahmas – 7:30 p.m.
The Corpus Christi IceRays head to the NYTEX Sports Centre for the last time this year to close out the season series with the Lone Star Brahmas. The IceRays have claimed points in half of the 10 games during the season series against the Brahmas, going 3-5-2 with two wins at home and one on the road. The IceRays have won just twice at the NYTEX Sports Centre in three seasons through 12 games while going 11-11-4 all-time against the Brahmas. The second win on the road came on January 15 in a 5-2 win.
The Lone Star Brahmas played in a wild two-game set against the Odessa Jackalopes last weekend at the NYTEX Sports Centre, winning 6-4 on Friday and 6-1 on Saturday. Each team had one hat-trick in Friday's game, and Saturday turned into a slugfest with 188 combined penalty minutes including 146 penalty minutes in a three-minute span during the third period. Three players turned in five-point weekends thanks to the hat-trick on Friday and a pair of assists on Saturday from Alex Berardinelli, a four-point night from Hogan Davidson on Saturday, and three assists and a pair of points combined by Johan Lundgren. 16 different players earned points with half of those grabbing multi-point weekends. Both goaltenders earned a win with Conor O'Brien saving 15 of 19 on Friday and Corbin Kaczperski stopping 15 of 16 on Saturday.
South Division Recap:
Races are remaining tight at either end of the South Division following this weekend's events. The Wichita Falls Wildcats recorded a rare split weekend with the Corpus Christi IceRays with a win on Friday and loss on Saturday though still maintaining the top spot in the division. However, the sweep by the Lone Star Brahmas over the Odessa Jackalopes at home had effects on multiple teams. Their deficit for first place decreased to five points with eight games remaining, and the lead for the fourth playoff spot increased for the IceRays, who now hold a four-point advantage with Odessa making up their two games this coming week. The Topeka RoadRunners just edged out a road sweep of the Amarillo Bulls, almost securing themselves as the three-seed while simultaneously eliminating the Bulls from playoff contention.
South Division Standings:
x-Wichita Falls Wildcats 38-10-4, 80 points
x-Lone Star Brahmas 34-11-7, 75 points
Topeka RoadRunners 30-20-1, 61 points
Corpus Christi IceRays 22-24-6, 50 points
Odessa Jackalopes 21-25-4, 46 points
e-Amarillo Bulls 11-36-4, 26 points
y – clinched division
x – clinched playoff berth
e – eliminated from contention
The two-game set against the Wildcats was led by a defensive front that shut down the Wildcats potent offense for a majority of the weekend. The IceRays held the Wildcats to just four goals in two games including pinning them to just one goal on Saturday, which is just the third time a team has held Wichita Falls to one goal this season and the first since November 6. In addition, the IceRays owned five-on-five play, outscoring the Wildcats 3-0 in that instance as well as 3-1 in the first and third periods combined.
The first period is becoming a strength for the IceRays in their push for the playoffs, especially when it comes to striking first. The IceRays have netted the opening goal in each of their last four games as well as eight of 11 dating back to February 11. In their more recent run, the team is 5-2-1 when scoring the game's first goal and has outscored their opponents 16-9 in that 11-game span. Prior to this, the IceRays only scored the opening goal in 12 of 41 games. The IceRays are now 12-6-2 when scoring first this season.
IN THE COMMUNITY…
The IceRays will be out in full force on Tuesday afternoon. From 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., a few players and Stinger Ray will be visiting Get Air Corpus Christi on South Staples Street while the rest of the squad will visit VIP Carwash on Leopard Street from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to help dry cars for the afternoon and meet with patrons. Both events are open to the public.
– Defend The Bend –