N. RICHLAND HILLS, TX – Connor Kelly scored the game tying goal with 3:17 left to go and the game winning goal with just 2:48 remaining in the game on Friday night as the Corpus Christi IceRays picked up a must win 4-2 in comeback fashion in front of 1,606 fans at the NYTEX Sports Complex.
After back and forth action in the first period it was the Brahmas who took the first lead of the night in front of their home crowd. After a Joe Chitwood minor penalty Lone Star went on the power-play for the first time. A shot from the point was stopped by IceRays goaltender Ben Myers but the rebound sat just above the goal line where Kellen Wasell tapped it in for his eighth goal of the season for a 1-0 lead at 13:02 of the opening period. Anthony Mousseau and Austin Thielges with the assists of the man advantage tally.
The IceRays responded late in the first period on a rebound goal. Jason Lem took a pass from Maurin Bouvet at the right point and let a low shot go that was stopped with the right leg pad of former IceRays goalie Jett Salines. The Brahmas defense could not clear the puck out and Wes Michaud arrived jamming it through the pads of Salinas to tie the game scoring his eighth goal of the year with just 3:05 left in the first period of play. Lem and Bouvet added assists on the game tying goal.
In the second period of play, the IceRays put Lone Star back on the power-play and they converted once again to take a 2-1 lead. Sebastian Vidmar took the puck from behind the net and worked it out to the left post but Ben Myers pinched it trying to get a whistle. Vidmar kept jamming at the puck and finally got it over the line for his seventh on the year with 11:27 remaining in the period with assists from Thomas Aldworth and Matt Lison.
The comeback began at the 16:43 of the third period after the IceRays were awarded a power-play Connor Kelly moved the puck through the neutral zone and once he got over the blue line offensively let a wrist shot go and beat Jett Salinas low and to his left to tie the game up at two goals apiece, unassisted, with only 3:17 remaining in regulation time.
That was not all for Kelly in the third. After forcing an interception at center ice, Kelly started a two on one rush with Jake Durflinger. Kelly brought the puck to the left wing circle and beat Salinas top shelf over his shoulder for the second goal of the game and the period putting the IceRays ahead for the first and final time of the night 3-2 with only 2:49 left in the game. The only assist was added by Durflinger.
With Salinas pulled and on the bench for the extra-attacker, Luke Bennett picked off a pass at his own blueline and sent the puck all the way down the ice into the net for a two goal lead, 4-2, at 18:54 of the third period of play. The goal was Bennett’s eighth of the year in his first game back from suspension.
Ben Myers turned aside 22 of 24 shots on net for the win! With the victory and a Wichita Falls loss in Odessa, the IceRays pull within nine points of the Wildcats in the chase for the final playoff spot in the South Division.
The IceRays finish out the season series tomorrow night inside the NYTEX Sports Complex against the Lone Star Brahmas. Puck drops at 7:30PM, coverage begins at 7:15PM with the IceRays Pregame Show on 91.1FM KSGR, ksgr.org, ustream.com, and fasthockey.com.
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