CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – Two power-play goals and strong defensive play sparked the Amarillo Bulls to a split of the weekend series with the Corpus Christi IceRays, winning 4-1 in front of 4,126 fans at the American Bank Center on Saturday night. With the win Amarillo improves to 25-10-3 (53 points) while the ‘Rays fall to 17-23-2 (36 points) with the loss. Corpus Christi’s season-high, three-game home winning streak was snapped in the loss.
Sam Cheraso scored a goal in consecutive games for Corpus Christi in the defeat.
Amarillo tallied first for the second game in a row, despite getting just six shots off on Pheonix Copley. At the 8:36 mark, Mitch Rogge (8) found a free puck in the Copley’s crease and was able to stuff it past the 19-year old netminder to put the Bulls ahead, 1-0. Corpus Christi used a power play to elevate the offensive pressure on Nikifor Szczerba, but it did not lead to a tying goal. Corpus Christi outshot Amarillo, 10-6.
The Bulls had the better of the offensive opportunities in the second period as they extended their lead. On the power play, 18:24 into the second frame, Derek Hills (7) wristed a directional shot through a maze of bodies in front of Copley which hit the upper portion of the cage and doubled the lead, 2-0. Earlier in the period, Colton Saucerman was ejected for a fight instigator penalty after coming to the aid of Beau Walker in a fight with Ryan Taylor. Amarillo dominated the shot chart, outshooting the IceRays, 20-7.
The lead was extended to 4-0 when Amarillo tallied twice in the third period with goals from Joe Kozlak (14, 2:54) and Brooks Behling (11, 5:07) with the first tally of the period coming on the power play. Corpus Christi avoided the shutout when Cheraso (11) tallied for the second game in a row off of a tremendous centering pass from Jordan Miller, 7:52 into the frame on the power play. It would be as close as the ‘Rays would get through as the Bulls earned a split of the weekend series with a 4-1 victory. Final shots were 43-3 in favor of Amarillo. The IceRays were 1-4 on the power play while the Bulls went 2-3 with the man advantage.
THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
- Joe Kozlak (1-2-3)
- Mitch Rogge (1-1-2)
- Brooks Behling (1-1-2)
Corpus Christi begins February with a three-game set in Topeka against the RoadRunners beginning with a 7:05 PM start on February 3rd. 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”