Saturday, 04.14.18 / 9:52 pm CT
Playing an up-and-down, evenly matched game against the Shreveport Mudbugs on Saturday night, the IceRays dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 decision at George’s Pond and were pushed to the brink of postseason elimination.
The IceRays got off to an infinitely better start to the game than they did on Friday night. They dictated the pace and scored an early power play goal to gain their first lead of the 2018 playoffs.
At 7:25, Adam Kadlec unleashed a half-slap shot from the high slot on the man-advantage which sailed over Jaxon Castor’s glove and into the net. While the score was low after the first period, the penalty minutes were anything but.
In the first period alone, a total of 64 penalty minutes were called. Angus Scott got into a scrap with Jay Feiwell, Brendan Van Sweden fought Ryan Rosenberg before throwing his glove at the linesman Bryan Gorcoff, Derek Contessa sparred with Jayson Dimizio, Dakota Concannon with Andrew Lane, and Conor Yawney with Cam Cook.
Tempers were much calmer in period two. A total of just six 2nd period PIMS were called, but Shreveport was able to tip the scales in their favor.
On a Mudbugs power play at 6:27, Dominick Procopio received a pass from Brendan Gysbers in the high slot. The Bugs Captain took a wrist shot through a thick screen, and Cook redirected the puck in front of Veltri. The deflection led to a goal past Veltri’s glove, who had been perfect up until that point.
Just 18 seconds into the third period, Dimizio filtered the puck through a pair of Shreveport sticks to give Garrett Hallford an opportunity at the bottom of the left circle. The former Mudbug spun and scored his second goal of the weekend to regain the IceRays’ lead.
Five and a half minutes later, Procopio took another wrist shot from the left point. The puck landed at the left side of the net, where Ryan Burnett spun a pass to Contessa. Contessa rifled a shot past Veltri to re-tie the game early in the third.
With just 5:30 remaining in regulation, Lane released a wrist shot from the blue line through loads of traffic. The puck kissed off the inside of the right post and into the net, and the second-year Mudbug gave his team its first lead of the game.
The Rays pressed and pushed relentlessly in a last ditch effort to tie the game late. Brad Flynn called his timeout and pulled Veltri for a sixth attacker, loading up all his big guns on the ice at the same time. With 1.7 seconds left, it appeared as though the puck had crossed over the goal line as the net was coming off its pegs. The IceRays celebrated, but Trevor Wohlford conferred with his linesman and waived the goal off, saying the net had been dislodged before the puck crossed the goal line. It was a major letdown for a team which had clawed and battled so ruthlessly all night to even the series, and the IceRays now face a must-win at the American Bank Center on Thursday, April 19th.
Veltri made 35 of 38 saves in his second playoff defeat, while Castor denied 33 of 35 in his second postseason win. The IceRays will play Game Three of the South Division Semi-Finals on Thursday at the American Bank Center. Puck drop is set for 7:05 pm CT. The game will be broadcast on Hockey TV.com and on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (1230 AM, 95.1 FM, 96.1 FM). Tickets are available by calling the American Bank Center Office, or by visiting the Tickets tab on the IceRays’ website, goicerays.com. They will be Buy One, Get One Free if purchased by Wednesday, April 18th. Games Three and Four are presented by Autonation Ford.