CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – Two goals in the first period by Connor Thie and another by Ian Mansfield was all the visiting Odessa Jackalopes needed as they handed the Corpus Christi IceRays their fifth straight loss with a 5-2 decision in front of 2,834 fans at American Bank Center on Friday night.
The scoring didn’t start until midway through the opening period and that started a flurry of goals including three that were tallied in a span of 1:37. It all started on an off angle shot by Ian Mansfield to break the ice for the Jackalopes. The forward took the puck below the goal line and banked it off the back of goaltender Ben Myers for his second goal of the year with an assist from Andrew McLean for a 1-0 lead at the 11:07 mark of the first frame.
Corpus Christi answered the call just six seconds later. Off the ensuing faceoff, Nick Monfils brought the puck inside the offensive zone letting go a long wrister that beat Odessa netminder Eric Hancock low on the glove side to tie the game at one goal apiece. The goal was Monfils’ 7th since joining the team with the lone assist to Tony Roisum at 11:13 of the first period.
After Corpus Christi knotted the game all up, the Jackalopes went back to work in the offensive zone. Just 1:47 later, Connor Chambers fired a shot low and through the screen from the left point. Connor Thie got his stick in front of the shot and deflected it by Myers for his second goal on the year and Odessa went back out to a one goal lead, 2-1.
Thie struck again with only 2:48 left to go in the first period. A bad pass by Malo Ville was intercepted by Thie right at the top of the offensive zone circles. The Seattle native let go a high wrister that beat Myers over the right shoulder and went just under the crossbar to take a two goal lead. For Thie, it was his second goal of the game and third on the year to give the visiting Jackalopes a 3-1 lead.
In the second period of play both sides traded excellent scoring chances but Myers and Hancock were perfect in net. After two periods were complete, the two teams were deadlocked in shots at 20 apiece.
A power-play goal for Odessa provided them with a 4-1 lead early on in the final period of play. A great passing play Chris Taff and Razmuz Waxin-Engback finished with a tap in goal for Leo Lumm. The power-play goal for Lumm was his 6th of the year and 5th as a member of the Odessa Jackalopes at the 3:39 mark of the third period.
The man advantage drought for the IceRays ended at 13:40 of the third period when Grant Hutton let go a rocket from the left side of the power-play that beat Eric Hancock top shelf with an assist from captain Kyle Froese to pull Corpus Christi within a pair of goals. That was Hutton’s 5th on the year and 11th point overall. For Froese, the assist was his second in as many games and 11th overall.
After the Hutton goal, the IceRays had a big chance with three great shots on net as players piled up in front of the net but the defense for Odessa and Eric Hancock in net somehow kept the puck out of the net to keep the two goal lead for the Jackalopes.
Lukas Laud recorded an empty net goal with one hand on his stick and the other keeping Nick Monfils away from the puck. The backhander was the 9th for Laub and he moved the ‘Jacks out to a 5-2 lead. That was the final.
IceRays goaltender Ben Myers denied 27 of 31 on the night while Eric Hancock stopped 23 of 25.
The IceRays host Odessa to finish out the series tomorrow night inside American Bank Center. Puck drops at 7:05PM, coverage begins at 6:50PM with the IceRays Pregame Show on sportsjuice.com, ustream.com, and fasthockey.com. Click LISTEN LIVE on the IceRays website for more information!
Stay current with the latest team news by visiting www.goicerays.com. In addition stay connected with the IceRays on Facebook (/corpuschristiicerays), Twitter (@goicerays), and the team’s Youtube channel ICERAYS TV (@goicerays)