500 Plateau Surfaced
For the first time this season, the Rays have passed the .500 mark in the standings. They have drawn to within a mere two points of the third-place Odessa Jackalopes and four points of the second-place Lone Star Brahmas.
Jake Acton had his best game of the season, stopping 26 of 27 Shreveport shots. He’s had two consecutive stellar showings after a rough outing against the Mudbugs on December 3rd. Shreveport is the third-highest scoring team in the league, yet the IceRays have done an outstanding job keeping them off the scoreboard of late. In their last two matchups, the Bugs have only lit the lamp three times.
Yesterday’s tilt was fairly evenly matched, with substantial shifts in momentum going both ways. The Mudbugs are an extremely difficult team to defeat in regulation. They’ve only been beaten in standard time five times all season, which is tied with Fairbanks for the lowest in the NAHL. Additionally, Corpus Christi has gone to extra time in seven of its last thirteen games.
Outside of the 5-1 Sunday afternoon defeat, which becomes a greater outlier with each passing day, the IceRays haven’t been defeated by more than two goals in over two months. Shreveport is the only team to have done the honors. Both of these squads are exceptionally competitive and are in solid midseason form. No team has been able to sweep Shreveport this season, and the Rays will have to keep the same fire they had during yesterday’s contest.
Makary, Rosenberg Impress in Debuts
Playing in their first games as IceRays yesterday, both Julien Makary and Ryan Rosenberg made strong impressions with their play. Makary brought a solid offensive presence and saw a good chunk of time on the power play, which is in serious need of improvement. Unfortunately, he was countered by the second best penalty kill in the entire league. However, he still made a number of slick passes and poised plays, earning a handful of scoring chances for himself throughout the night.
The IceRays have had a shortage of left-handed shooting defensemen for some time, and shutdown blue-liners can never be in overabundance. Ryan Rosenberg had a rock-solid night in his own zone, and even created two quality chances to score on his backhand following an offensive zone faceoff. He seemed like a natural partner to offset Trevor Wilhelm, who is a smaller, quicker, more offensive-minded defenseman.
PK Streak Ends
The IceRays’ longest Special Teams streak of the season sadly came to an end last night. Their penalty kill, which has risen to the top half of the NAHL leaderboards, had successfully fought off 25 straight shorthanded opportunities. Gueorgui Feduolov ended the streak with Shreveport’s lone tally late in the first period last night, but the penalty killers still had a strong performance overall and fought off four of five.