AMARILLO, TX- Three different IceRays had multi-goal nights, Chance Creger scored his first NAHL goal, and the Corpus Christi IceRays scored a season-high 10 times as they drubbed Amarillo, 10-3, on Sunday night at the Cal Farley Coliseum. With the win, the IceRays conclude the road portion of their schedule and improve to 19-33-4 (42 points) on the season. Amarillo has now lost four of its last five games and drops to 35-14-6 (76 points) overall. Corpus Christi ends their six-game winless drought with the victory and concludes the season series with a record of 3-9-0 against Amarillo.
Brandon Marshall was snakebit on a few chances in the first period, but scored two goals in nine seconds during the third period. Colton Saucerman and Joe Smereck also had two-goal efforts for the IceRays. Beau Walker tallied his 20th goal and went over the 60-point mark with a three-point night. Terry Portra dished out three helpers and was plus-4 +4 on the evening while Justin Lustch did not register a point, but was strong defensively in a plus-4 (+4) effort.
The game started well for the IceRays as Colton Saucerman (7) scored his first non-power-play goal when he deflected a Josh Obregon pass over Nikifor Szczerba just 35 seconds into the first period to put Corpus Christi in front, 1-0. It was the quickest opening goal of the season for the IceRays. Amarillo took the momentum from Corpus Christi after the tally though and sprinted ahead with two goals in the period. Michael Erickson (12) scored at the 4:00 mark of the period after a two-on-one rush with Mitch Rogge to tie the game at 1-1. Erickson (13) added his second of the period, 16:47 into the period, as he poked a loose puck through Pheonix Copley’s pads which pulled the Bulls into the lead, 2-1. Corpus Christi had multiple odd-man rush opportunities, but could not convert. The IceRays outshot the Bulls, 14-9.
Corpus Christi’s offense came alive to the tune of four goals in the second period, a feat they had not accomplished since October 2nd. Saucerman (8) knotted the game at 2-2 with his second of the night as his shot caromed off a Bulls defenseman’s stick in front and past Szczerba at the 5:24 mark. Chance Creger (1) scored his first NAHL goal, 7:50 into the period, when his shot from the blue deflected off two bodies and into the back of the net to put the ‘Rays on top, 3-2. Corpus Christi extended their lead to 4-2 just 20 seconds later when Beau Walker (20) took a slap shot from the top of the left-wing circle which beat Szczerba. The goal chased Szczerba from the game and he was replaced by Gregg Gruehl. The Bulls cut into the deficit on the power play when Sean Keane (18) squeezed a shot from in close through Copley’s arm at the 13:06 to pull the Bulls within one at 4-3. However, it would be the last goal the Bulls would get in the game. Corpus Christi regained their two-goal lead at the 15:06 mark when Joe Smereck (15) tallied his first of the evening. The IceRays held their 5-3 lead into the third period as they outshot Amarillo 9-8.
Not to be outdone in the third period, the IceRays scored a season-high five goals in the period en route to the drubbing of the Bulls. Sam Cheraso (12) made it 6-3 when his backhanded shot beat Gruehl along the ice at 4:32 of the period. Then, Brandon Marshall (4, 14:58; 5, 15:07) turned in the two quickest goals of the season as he scored twice, just nine seconds apart to put the IceRays in commanding control at 8-3. Smereck (16) potted his second of the evening when his wraparound effot beat Gruehl on the power play at the 16:28 mark. Twenty seconds later, Jordan Miller (6) scored a power-play goal of his own to push the final winning margin to 10-3. Corpus Christi outshot Amarillo 37-30 while going 3-5 on the power play. Amarillo went 1-4 on the man advantage.
THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
- Colton Saucerman (2-0-2, +3)
- Brandon Marshall (2-1-3)
- Terry Portra (0-3-3, +4)
The IceRays conclude the regular season on home ice with two games against the New Mexico Mustangs beginning on March 24th at 7:05 PM at the American Bank Center. Fans can catch the pre-game show on the flagship home of the IceRays, News/Talk 1440 KEYS, www.1440KEYS.com, with the voice of the IceRays, Ryan Holt, beginning at 6:50 PM. The game will be available online through the league’s pay-per-view website, www.fasthockey.com. For more information call the Rays’ front office at 361.814.PUCK (7825) or crash the net at www.goicerays.com.
“THE NEW ICERAYS…TOMORROW’S STARS”