Saturday, 09.23.17 / 12:15 pm CT
Another late rally doomed the IceRays on Saturday morning, who surrendered a tying goal in the last minute of regulation and were beaten 3-2 in a shootout by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights to close the Showcase.
The IceRays played the first game of the final day of the 2017 NAHL Showcase, with the puck dropping shortly after 9:30 am CT. Needless to say, things unraveled slowly at the onset of the contest.
Goaltenders Chad Veltri and David Tomeo were perfect through the first 20 minutes. Only a handful of scoring opportunities presented to challenge either of them, the greatest of which came at the hands of Corpus Christi’s John Moncovich. He found himself in a one-on-one situation against Tomeo at point-blank range after Bradon Osmundson fed him a nice pass between the circles. Tomeo jolted his right pad over to cut off Moncovich’s shot and keep the game scoreless.
Matt Novo would eventually break the stalemate and become the first IceRay to score multiple goals at the Showcase. After a brilliant keep at the left point by Matt Acciaioli, Osmundson maneuvered behind the Knights’ net and set up Novo with another crisp pass. Novo buried his opportunity to give the IceRays their first lead of the Showcase.
Just moments later, it appeared as though Corpus Christi had built upon their lead with a Jayson Dimizio goal. However, his score was waived off due to a dislodged net. The Knights seized this fortunate turn of events and tied the game several minutes later.
Matt Kidney, who led Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in scoring last season with 44 points, burst into the zone on a breakaway and tucked the puck inside the left post to beat Veltri on his blocker-side. The teams entered the final stanza locked in a 1-1 tie.
Halfway through the third period, Angus Scott drove a heavy backhand shot over Tomeo’s shoulder to regain the IceRays’ lead. Victory was within reach, but things escalated in the final minute. Tomeo was ejected from the game after getting into a tussle with Larry Jungwirth and removing his helmet. Tomeo was replaced by Christian Stoever, who immediately went to the Knights’ bench for an extra attacker.
Michael Morrissey scored off a rebound with just 46 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime. The IceRays generated some good looks on the 4-on-3 power play, but could not end the contest in sudden death. A shootout would follow.
Stoever stumped Jungwirth, Moncovich, and Novo in the shootout, leaving Kidney as the lone player to score. The Knights escaped with a 3-2 victory.
Veltri had his best performance of the season, stopping 35 of 37 shots. Nevertheless, he was charged with an undeserved overtime loss. On the other hand, Stoever, who did not even anticipate playing on Saturday, was awarded the win. He made four overtime saves in relief, and denied all three skaters in the shootout. The IceRays will host the Odessa Jackalopes next Friday, September 29th at the American Bank Center for their home opener. For tickets, call (361) 814-PUCK.