As a reminder, tonight’s game will be broadcast live at The Exchange, located at 224 N. Mesquite Street in Corpus Christi. The IceRays thank The Exchange for hosting this event and encourage any and all fans to attend. The IceRays front office staff will be there, and will be handing out ticket vouchers and t-shirts to a few lucky fans. We hope to see you there!
Last night was a sort of microcosm of the way things have gone for the IceRays of late. A slow start, followed by continued progression and gradual improvement, followed by a late third period push. At times, the Rays have been able to climb out of the early holes they’ve been falling into. Unfortunately, they fell just short last night.
Lone Star flipped the script and came out flying after their banner ceremony. Oftentimes, teams struggle in their home openers following a championship season, but the Brahmas put the Rays in a 3-0 pit in the first period. Shades of their early season misfortune were rekindled in the second period, as the Rays hit the post, the crossbar, and were denied by a handful of miraculous stops from Mitchell Gibson.
In the third period, Brendan Miller scored on a shorthanded breakaway, and Blake Coffey scored a consolation goal on a late IceRays power play. The late tallies were just two of the many positives to be taken from a game which would have been entirely different had they gotten off to a stronger start.
Sans the first period, the IceRays were the better team last night. After the opening 20 minutes, they outshot the Brahmas 16-9. Lone Star looked vulnerable at times with their full slate of new defensemen who are still trying to adapt to the Dan Wildfong style. They dangerously carried the puck in front of their own net a shockingly high amount of times and the Rays continuously forced turnovers because of it. Unfortunately, they could not convert off of them.
Perhaps overconfidence in Gibson is what was causing some of those blasé plays to be made in front of him, but he consistently bailed his team out and was the main reason Lone Star held onto its lead. If the Rays can capitalize on one or two of their forced turnovers and get off to a more convincing start, there will be an entirely new script in store tonight.
Josh Tripp took yet another bullet for the team and is expected to sit tonight’s game out as he recovers from a lower-body injury. Fortunately, there was nothing broken after he was taken out in the neutral zone yesterday. It was a concerning sight, seeing him being helped onto the bench by a pair of teammates and ultimately being escorted down the tunnel. His gritty style has already led to a handful of minor injuries this season, and none have kept him out for long.