Corpus Christi was swept on home ice over the latter part of the weekend and last evening by the Amarillo Bulls. It is a quick turnaround for the team though as the Texas Tornado swirl into town for two games on Thursday and Friday nights.
GAME #1: Corpus Christi 1-5 Amarillo: The Corpus Christi IceRays scored on their first shot of the game, but Nikifor Szczerba stopped the next 28 shots as the Amarillo Bulls controlled 59 minutes of play and beat the IceRays, 5-1, at the American Bank Center on Sunday afternoon. Beau Walker and Michael Benedict each had four-game point streaks snapped in the loss. Mason Murovich replaced Pheonix Copley in the second period and made 11 saves in over 39 minutes of action.
GAME #2: Corpus Christi 1-4 Amarillo: It was the same script, different night for the Corpus Christi IceRays as they could not make a first period lead hold up as the Amarillo Bulls scored four unanswered goals and swept the IceRays, 4-1, at the American Bank Center on Monday night.
UPCOMING PROMOTIONS…Thursday night is COLLEGE night at 7:05 PM. College students are invited to the game for just $5 dollars with a valid college ID. Friday night is the second BOY SCOUTS night of the season as the team will hold a silent auction for their special BOY SCOUTS uniforms. Friday night is also FROSTY FRIDAY with 24 oz. domestic drafts and sodas available for half off their regular prices.
PINK IN THE RINK DRAWS NATIONAL ATTENTION: The IceRays’ third annual Pink in the Rink Night drew national attention for the team’s tremendous donation to the American Cancer Society. Through a silent auction, donations, and a post-game jersey auction, the team raised $24,250 for the ACS. Over the past three seasons, the team has averaged a donation of $36,000 for breast cancer research and awareness. Brandon Marshall’s jersey went for the most after the game as his pink sweater fetched a $1,900 donation. Check out the story from the North American Hockey League website, online at http://www.nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=2352
AROUND THE SOUTH DIVISION: Corpus Christi currently sits fifth in the South Division with a record of 18-30-3 (39 points).
PLAYOFF PICTURE: Corpus Christi is still alive in the playoff hunt, but will need to play their best hockey of the season down the stretch to overtake the Wichita Falls Wildcats for the final playoff spot in the South. Currently, the IceRays trail their first-half rivals by nine (9) points with 7 games remaining for Corpus Christi. Wichita Falls has 8 games left on their schedule. The ‘Cats play at home against Topeka on Friday and on the road in Frisco against Texas on Saturday. Any combination of Wichita Falls wins and Corpus Christi losses equaling five (5) points or greater will eliminate Corpus Christi. The IceRays were 5-6-1 against Wichita Falls this season, playing all the contests during the first half of the season.
CORPUS CHRISTI’S RECORDS AGAINST THE SOUTH:
AMARILLO: 2-8-0 (2 games remaining, 2 on road)
NEW MEXICO: 7-2-1 (2 games remaining, 2 at home)
TEXAS: 1-7-1 (3 games remaining, 2 at home, 1 on road)
TOPEKA: 0-6-0 (series complete)
WICHITA FALLS: 5-6-1 (series complete)
GOALS: Michael Benedict, 23
ASSISTS: Beau Walker, 37
POINTS: Beau Walker, 55
PLUS/MINUS: Josh Obregon (E)
PENALTY MINUTES: Brandon Marshall, 200
SHOTS: Michael Benedict, 161
WINS: Pheonix Copley, 13
GOALS AGAINST AVERAGE: Pheonix Copley, 4.27
SAVE PERCENTAGE: Pheonix Copley, .878
MUROVICH INTRODUCES HIMSELF…Netminder Mason Murovich had been resigned to backup duty for nearly two months, before making his first start for Corpus Christi on Monday, March 7th in the 4-1 loss to Amarillo. He had not made a start since November 6th when he was a member of the Port Huron Fighting Falcons. The last time the Pittsburgh, PA native had played an entire game was on October 30th against Traverse City. He has replaced a starting netminder nine (9) times including twice with Corpus Christi.
COPLEY’S STREAK COMES TO AN END…Pheonix Copley’s streak of 16 consecutive starts came to an end in the 4-1 loss on Monday night when backup netminder Mason Murovich got the nod.
MARSHALL HITS 200…Brandon Marshall’s coincidental matching penalty with the Bulls’ Derek Hills on Monday night meant the Howell, MI native became the second player in the NAHL this season to hit 200 PIMs. Dakota Klecha leads the league with 242.
CHECK THIS OUT…Corpus Christi played four consecutive games against Amarillo this past week. In each of those four games the IceRays scored a power-play goal for the first goal of each game in the first period. Yet, the team went 1-3-0 against the Bulls as on two occasions, the first goal would turn out to be the only goal for the IceRays. The Bulls took seven of a possible eight points from Corpus Christi.
ISN’T IT IRONIC?…Despite a perfect shootout record (6-0) in which Corpus Christi has converted on 75% of their shootout chances, the team has been denied on two penalty shot chances this season including the latest bid from Josh Obregon on Monday.
TOUGH TIME TO HIT A RUT… The IceRays are 1-8-1 in their last 10 games.
“COP”ING OUT A VICTORY…Copley was tremendous for the IceRays on Saturday night, February 26th as he and the team won in a shootout over Amarillo. The 19-year old made 45 saves in regulation and overtime while denying Amarillo a perfect four times in the shootout. In addition, Copley denied Matt Johnson on a penalty shot in the second period to keep the game tied.
CAN’T BEAT COPS ONE V. ONE…Copley has been at his best when the pressure has been on him in one v. one situations. He has stopped five of six penalty shot chances (80%) this season. However, the North Pole, AK native has been the top goaltender in the NAHL when it comes to shootouts. He has denied 12 of 13 (92.3%) shootout opportunities this season.
SHOOTOUTS? NO SWEAT…Corpus Christi is a perfect 6-0 in games decided by a shootout. In 25 shot attempts, their 15 conversions (60.0%) are the highest in the NAHL. The team has allowed just 4 goals on 26 chances (74.6%) is tied for first around the league.
3 OR FEWER…The IceRays are 15-6-1 this season when they allow fewer than three goals to their opponents. When the team allows four or more they are 3-24-2 on the season, including an 0-19-1 mark when they allow five or more tallies.
20 SUITS BENNY WELL… Michael Benedict scored in the third period on February 4th in Topeka to become the first player in the NAHL IceRays’ history to reach the 20-goal plateau.
WALKER SIZES UP 20… Beau Walker sits two goals away from 20 on the season.
HALFWAY TO 100…Beau Walker became the first player this season to reach 50 points on February 11th with a first period assist.
THE BIG “O”…The other member of the IceRays’ top line with Benedict and Walker is left-winger Josh Obregon. Since joining the IceRays 28 games into the season, Obregon has collected eight goals and nine assists for 17 points in 22 games.
ON THEIR BEST BEHAVIOR… The IceRays collected just 10 penalty minutes in the game on February 10th v. Texas, their fewest of the season. Texas had four penalty minutes. Combined with Corpus Christi’s 10, the 14 penalty minutes were the fewest combined PIMS in an IceRays game this season.
ON THEIR BEST BEHAVIOR PT. 2…Corpus Christi continued their clean play the following night on February 11th matching their season-low with 10 penalty minutes.
RAYS ROBBED…Corpus Christi appeared to have tied Friday, February 6th’s game against Topeka with 16 seconds remaining in the third period, but Jason Souva’s apparent goal was waived off after referee Steven Thomson deemed the puck was covered.
SAUCE’S SEASON-HIGH…Colton Saucerman tallied four points against New Mexico on January 14th. It was a team-high for a single-game this season. On the night, “Sauce” tallied two goals and two assists.
STLOUKAL STRIKES AT THE BUZZER…Petr Stloukal tallied as the 3rd period buzzer sounded in the team’s 6-3 loss at Amarillo on Sunday January 29th. It was the latest goal scored by an IceRays player this season. The Czech Republic native has five goals and six assists for 11 points in 15 games played for Corpus Christi since being acquired from the Chicago Steel (USHL).
POWER OUTAGE…Corpus Christi was shutout for the seventh time this season in a 6-0 loss to Topeka on Saturday, February 5th.
FINE JEWELRY OUTLET PLAYER OF THE MONTH…Beau Walker received the Fine Jewelry Outlet Player of the Month award for the month of January. During the month, he collected five goals and five assists for 10 points.
ONE OF TWO OVER 3,000…The IceRays are one of two teams (Wenatchee) who have averaged over 3,000 fans per game in attendance. Over 75,000 fans have watched the team at the American Bank Center in their inaugural season in the NAHL.
HOME ICE FOR SECOND HALF: Corpus Christi will need a strong second half of the season to propel themselves into the playoffs. They will be helped by the schedule as 15 of the team’s final 26 games are at the American Bank Center.
NEW FACES: A total of 45 players have played in a game for Corpus Christi this season.
NAHL GOALTENDER OF THE MONTH: Goalie Pheonix Copley was named the NAHL Goaltender of the Month for the month of November. In the month, Copley went 4-3-0 with a 2.56 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage. He became the first Corpus Christi player to win a monthly award.
SECOND PROSPECT TOURNAMENT…The Corpus Christi IceRays were represented by Michael Benedict and Beau Walker at the second Top Prospects Tournament held in Ann Arbor, MI on Feb. 20-22, 2011.
THREE TOP PROSPECTS: Corpus Christi was well represented at the 2010 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament in Boston held on Dec. 5-7. Michael Benedict assisted in Team Rafalski’s first game while Kyle Hughes was a plus-2 (+2). In the second game, Beau Walker scored a second period goal to help the team to victory. Overall, the team was 2-1-0.
COLLEGE-BOUND… Two members of the Corpus Christi defensive corps are both committed to Division-I schools. Colton Saucerman will suit up for the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (Hockey East) in the fall of 2011 while Mychal Monteith will play for Mercyhurst College (Atlantic Hockey) in 2012.
FEBRUARY FUNK…Corpus Christi did not pick up their first victory in the month of February until their final game on February 26th in Amarillo. Overall, the team went 1-5-1 in the month with the only victory coming in a shootout.
JANUARY JOLT…After dropping their first three games of January, the IceRays responded and won four of their next seven in the month to 4-6-0. It was the first month this season that the IceRays did not have a single game reach overtime or a shootout.
DREARY DECEMBER…The IceRays went 2-5-0 in the month of December after a strong month of November. The record includes two losses in the final minutes to Wichita Falls and Texas on the road.
I’LL BE GONE TILL NOVEMBER: Corpus Christi was on the road for the majority of November on a seven-game road trip. It was the longest road trip of the season. The Rays went 4-3-0 on the road trip and was 5-4-0 for the entire month.
A STRONG SHOWING AT THE SHOWCASE: Corpus Christi announced their arrival into the NAHL with a 3-1-0 record at the NAHL Showcase held in Blaine, MN on Sept. 15-18, 2010.
LARGEST SINGLE-GAME CROWD IN THE NAHL: On Saturday October 23, 2010, Corpus Christi set the benchmark for attendance in the NAHL with a crowd of 5,912 watching the team battle the Texas Tornado. It was Military Appreciation Night at the American Bank Center which honored various law enforcement and military personnel and their families at the game.
WHAT’S ON TAP?Corpus Christi is home to complete their four games in six days stretch Thursday, March 10th at 7:05 PM when the team hosts Texas. Fans can listen to all the action with the voice of the IceRays, Ryan Holt, beginning 15 minutes prior to the games on the Rays flagship station, News/Talk 1440 AM KEYS. The game is available for free online at www.1440KEYS.com or on the league’s pay-per-view website, www.fasthockey.com. Be sure to get your tickets now by calling the IceRays front office at 361.814.PUCK (7825) or crash the net at www.goicerays.com.
“THE NEW ICERAYS…TOMORROW’S STARS”