Friday, 10.27.17 / 9:46 pm CT
Hoping to remain undefeated against the Amarillo Bulls this season, the IceRays’ offense was silenced by a red-hot goaltender as they fell victim to a 4-0 defeat. It was the first time the Rays were beaten at the Amarillo Civic Center since February 20, 2016.
Corpus Christi had managed to draw first blood in its first two meetings against Amarillo, but could not do so a third time. On their fourth shot, the Bulls’ Simon Morberg slung the puck past Jacob Acton from the top of the left circle to open the scoring for the home side.
Making his IceRays debut, Acton responded effectively and kept the Bulls at bay for the remainder of the opening period. He made a strong lateral save on a 2-on-1 rush, as well as a point-blank stop after a defensive zone breakdown. Jason Grande kept the Rays off the scoresheet in the opening 20 minutes, denying all 13 shots sent his direction.
Amarillo had a borderline dominant second period and doubled their lead just 27 seconds into the middle stanza. The Bulls’ top scoring line went to work behind the Corpus Christi net, and Collin Price attempted to angle the puck off the back of Acton and into the net. Instead, it ended up on Morberg’s tape. The Swedish winger put the puck onto his backhand and roofed a shot over Acton’s glove to give Amarillo a 2-0 edge.
The Rays’ power play was stumped in the middle frame, being kept to the outside and well away from Grande. He was able to handily deal with anything and everything the Rays threw at him, and had a 24-save shutout going through the first 40 minutes.
Morberg continued to single-handedly dominate in the goal column, tallying another two scores in the third period to put the game out of reach for the Rays. Their power play again fell silent, dropping all six opportunities on the man-advantage.
Grande kept his shutout intact, making 39 saves on the night. Acton made 37 of a possible 41 stops and was charged with his first defeat as an IceRay. The Rays will close out the series tomorrow night at the Amarillo Civic Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 pm CT, but may be slightly delayed as the Bulls promote their Pink in the Rink Hockey Fights Cancer Night. The game will be broadcast on HockeyTV and on YouTube.