Referee: Jordan Solomon LINESMEN: Daniel Pecora, Kevin Blake
TONIGHT’S GAME…The Corpus Christi IceRays host the Wichita Falls Wildcats on Teddy Bear Toss Night at the American Bank Center. It’s the first of four games in one week between the two organizations as they wrap up their 12-game season series. The four games will go a long way in clearing up a playoff picture as the teams are separated by six points (three games) in the battle for the fourth and final playoff spot.
THE SERIES… Tonight’s game marks the ninth game between the two clubs this season and the fifth contest at the American Bank Center. Corpus Christi holds a 3-4-1 record against the Wildcats and a 2-2-0 record at home in the series. Wichita Falls is 5-2-1 against the IceRays and is 2-1-1 at the American Bank Center. The teams will meet a total of 12 times this season with the final meeting coming on December 17 in Wichita Falls.
TEDDY BEARS ON ICE?… After the IceRays tally their first goal of the evening, fans will throw teddy bears onto the ice on Teddy Bear Toss Night presented by CPL Energy. The bears will be collected and donated to the ARK and Emergency Shelter for youth.
LAST TIME OUT…Corpus Christi was swept on home ice by the Amarillo Bulls last weekend by scores of 3-1 and 5-2. On Saturday, the IceRays jumped out to a 2-0 lead but surrendered the next five goals to the Bulls. Beau Walker and Colton Saucerman had the goals in Saturday’s game for the team.
EVEN AT THE ABC… The IceRays have held serve at home this season. They are 6-6-0 when serving as the home team this season.
STRONG STARTS LEAD TO WINS…When Corpus Christi leads after twenty minutes of play the team is a perfect 4-0-0. They are a perfect 5-0-0 when leading after two periods of play. Corpus Christi has only scored two first period goals in eight games against Wichita Falls this season.
COMINGS AND GOINGS…Corpus Christi was once again busy on the transaction wire this week. Leaving the team this week were Ryan Gauthier (released) and Marco Wieser (traded to New Mexico). Joining the team are forward Joe Smereck (acquired from New Mexico), Bryce Hutton (acquired from Omaha Jr. Lancers), and goaltender Anton Olsson (acquired from the Texas Jr. Brahmas).
IF YOU CAN’T BEAT ‘EM, TRADE FOR ‘EM…The IceRays traded netminder Marco Wieser for New Mexico forward Joe Smereck. On the season, four of Smereck’s eight goals have come against the IceRays.
SAUCE SHAKEN UP…Colton Saucerman suffered a concussion last weekend against Amarillo and will not be in uniform this weekend.
TOP PROSPECTS…Corpus Christi sent three players to Boston earlier this week for the 2010 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament held in Walpole, MA. Forwards Beau Walker and Michael Benedict joined defenseman Kyle Hughes as Team Rafalski went 2-1-0 in the three games. Walker had two goals and an assist (+4) while Benedict collected an assist.
WICHITA FALLING…It has been a tough stretch recently for the Wildcats as they come to the American Bank Center having lost their last four games (one to Amarillo, one to Corpus Christi, and two to New Mexico). They had last weekend off. However, Friday should mark the return of Ryan Frost who was absent from the team’s last four games with an injury. The team signed forward Will Suter and defenseman Joe Adams.
MEET THE CAPTAIN… Defenseman BEN HUGHES (JACKSONVILLE, FL) was named the first captain in the history of the NAHL Corpus Christi IceRays following the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, MN at the beginning of the season. Hughes came to the IceRays from the Wenatchee Wild (NAHL) and also spent time with the Chicago Steel (USHL), Boston Jr. Bruins (EJHL) and Shattuck St. Mary’s. KYLE HUGHES (ROUND ROCK, TX) and SAM CHERASO (BRUNSWICK, OH) will serve as alternate captains for the team.
MEET THE COACH… Born in New Westminster, British Columbia, head coach Brent Hughes enjoyed a 12-year professional career. In 357 NHL with Boston, Winnipeg, Buffalo and the New York Islanders, Hughes scored 41 goals and tallied 39 assists for 80 points. He amassed 831 penalty minutes.
LISTEN TO THE RAYS… All IceRays’ games will be aired live on News/Talk 1440 AM KEYS available online www.1440keys.com with the voice of the Rays, Ryan Holt. In addition all games will be available through the league’s video website, www.fasthockey.com.