Rays Triumph over Brahmas a Third Straight Time
Yesterday was yet another example of the IceRays overcoming a deficit and going to extra time. A three-goal surge within a ten-minute span was enough to carry the Rays into overtime, where they found themselves on two breakaways. Blake Coffey, who was the overtime hero the last time the Rays were in North Richland Hills, was denied by Mitchell Gibson’s glove on his rush.
Not long after, Chad Veltri made an enormous save on Steven Ipri in which he lunged out his right pad to rob the former Amarillo Bull in his Brahmas debut. Having given them a second chance, the Rays responded and took advantage of Veltri’s actions. Aleksi Peltonen intercepted the puck from Jakub Sirota and tucked a backhand shot past Gibson’s pad and across the goal line, scoring his second overtime goal on the season.
Tonight will be the last time the IceRays play at NYTEX Sports Centre for the rest of the 2017-18 season. Having dropped their first two games in Brahmaland this season, they’ve turned things around and have taken each of the last three. Tonight will also mark Lone Star’s final stint in their ten-game home stand, through which they’ve gone 3-3-3.
So far, half of Lone Star’s defeats throughout their underwhelming ten-game stretch have been against the IceRays, and they will want to make the most of their last home game before heading out to Alaska for the next two weeks. As for the Rays, their season will be 60% complete once tonight’s game ends, and they will play ¾ of their last 24 contests at the American Bank Center. Just under a month ago, the IceRays swept the Brahmas at NYTEX for the first time in their history. They have the chance to do so again tonight.
In three of their last four games, the IceRays have fallen into early deficits. Each time, they were able to mount a comeback and force overtime, winning two of the three. Having now taken points in 16 of their last 19 games, the Rays’ resilience has become a central component of their identity. During interviews yesterday, both Brad Flynn and Matt Novo mentioned that falling behind in games no longer has the same disheartening effect on the group that it once did. It’s been evidenced in each of the last two games, during which the IceRays erased two-goal deficits three separate times.
There’s no question Julian Makary has been an outstanding addition and has made an incredibly smooth transition from Joe Coombs’ defensive system. He’s racked up four assists in as many games since coming on board, two of which were primary helpers in yesterday’s second period rally. He already seems to have natural chemistry with Rylee St. Onge and Aleksi Peltonen, and his playmaking skills have helped spark the IceRays to back-to-back high-scoring games against two very stout defensive teams. He will likely remain with his two current line-mates until the spark fades—if the spark fades—even after Larry Jungwirth returns to the fold.