Saturday, 02.17.18 / 9:47 pm CT
Photo: Bryan Williams
Hopeful to sweep the Topeka RoadRunners a third straight time, the IceRays played a gritty and scrappy game on Hockey & Heels Night and bested the Runners with a 2-1 overtime result.
The Rays could not find the same electrifying start they had on Friday night, where they scored just 89 seconds into the contest. However, they did dominate the tempo of the first period, allowing only two shots on their goal.
In the late stages of period one, Rylee St. Onge jolted down the left wing with speed and room, and fired a hard wrist shot on net from the circle. Sam Metcalf knocked the puck aside with his glove, and it rebounded near the right circle. Julian Makary took a second shot on net, but Metcalf managed to secure his attempt, as well.
Having only generated two shots in the opening 20 minutes, Topeka began the second period with a buzz. Just over a minute in, Hugh Quinn split the defense and raced down the slot on a breakaway, but was denied by Chad Veltri.
Veltri, who had been coming off back-to-back shutouts, stopped all 20 second period shots he faced. About halfway through regulation, Garrett Hallford blocked a Topeka slap shot from the blue line on an IceRays penalty kill. He immediately scooped the puck up and accelerated down the right wing, with Makary trailing closely behind. Hallford took the puck wide and centered a pass for Makary, who buried his first goal as an IceRay with a shorthanded snipe over Metcalf’s glove.
After nearly 59 minutes of continuously prodding at Veltri, the RoadRunners were finally able to solve him. At 58:52, Lucas Herrmann released a wrist shot from the right point through a thick screen. Unable to track the puck, Veltri was finally beaten and conceded his first goal since returning from his injury. He was the first goaltender in IceRays junior franchise history to record a shutout in back-to-back games.
The disappointment in the crowd did not last long, as the Rays were able to end the game just 46 seconds into overtime. After forcing a turnover at the right point in the Corpus Christi zone, Brendan Miller turned on the jets and gained a 2-on-0 breakaway with Adam Kadlec at his four o’clock. The January Dillard’s Player of the Month decided to take the shot, and he buried it under Metcalf’s blocker to give the IceRays their third consecutive win. The goal marked the captain’s 15th point in as many games.
Veltri came just a minute and eight seconds away from his third consecutive shutout, but still earned the win and the third star of the game. Having stopped 30 of 31 shots, Veltri collected his 15th victory of the season. Metcalf played a solid game for Topeka, denying 23 of 25. However, he was charged with his second overtime defeat on the campaign. The IceRays are now halfway through their eight-game home stand, and will play their next game at the American Bank Center on Friday, February 23rd on Catholic Diocese Night against the Amarillo Bulls. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 pm CT and the game will be broadcast on HockeyTV.com and on YouTube.