The Corpus Christi IceRays bucked their five-game losing streak in a big way last weekend with two victories over New Mexico. Up next, the team travels for a three-in-three weekend with two games against New Mexico on Friday and Saturday followed by a 6 PM game on Sunday in Amarillo against the Bulls.
As the team hits the road, take a look back at the week that was at the American Bank Center.
GAME #1: Corpus Christi 5-2 New Mexico: The Corpus Christi IceRays scored three power-play goals, two from defenseman Colton Saucerman and added two of the shorthanded variety en route to a 5-2 victory over the New Mexico Mustangs on Friday night at the American Bank Center. Saucerman registered a team season-high four points while Beau Walker and Joe Smereck each had multiple point nights. Pheonix Copley was stellar for the IceRays, making 27 saves to earn the team’s first victory of the 2011 calendar year.
GAME #2: Corpus Christi 4-3 New Mexico: Beau Walker scored with 15.7 seconds remaining in the third period as the Corpus Christi IceRays erased a two-goal deficit after two periods of play and stunned the New Mexico Mustangs, 4-3, in front of 3,945 fans at the American Bank Center on Saturday night. Walker tallied two goals on the evening, both in the final ten minutes of the third period. Justin Lutsch scored his first goal for Corpus Christi as he celebrated his 19th birthday.
AROUND THE SOUTH DIVISION: Corpus Christi currently sits fifth in the South Division with a record of 15-20-2 (32 points).
PLAYOFF PICTURE: The IceRays are five (5) points behind the Wichita Falls Wildcats for the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division. Wichita Falls has played one fewer game than the IceRays. There are no remaining meetings between Corpus Christi and Wichita Falls. The Wildcats play Thursday and Friday in Topeka and then return home on Saturday to play Amarillo.
CORPUS CHRISTI’S RECORDS AGAINST THE SOUTH:
AMARILLO: 0-3-0 (9 games remaining, 4 at home, 5 on road)
NEW MEXICO: 6-1-1 (4 games remaining, 2 at home, 2 on road)
TEXAS: 1-6-0 (5 games remaining, 4 at home, 1 on road)
TOPEKA: 0-3-0 (3 games remaining, 3 on road)
WICHITA FALLS: 5-6-1 (series complete)
ICERAYS “FIRST HALF” LEADERS:
GOALS: Michael Benedict, 18
ASSISTS: Beau Walker, 26
POINTS: Beau Walker, 38
PLUS/MINUS: Mychal Monteith, +5 (-10 w/ Corpus Christi)
PENALTY MINUTES: Brandon Marshall, 161
SHOTS: Michael Benedict, 123
WINS: Pheonix Copley, 10
GOALS AGAINST AVERAGE: Pheonix Copley, 3.97
SAVE PERCENTAGE: Pheonix Copley, .885
BEAU’S BIG WEEKEND…Beau Walker was named “honorable mention” for his performance during last weekend’s games against New Mexico. On Friday night, Beau was named number two-star for his goal and assist. On Saturday night, Walker tallied twice in the final ten minutes, including the game-winner with 15.7 seconds remaining, to earn #1 star honors. On the weekend, Walker had three goals and one assist for four points.
SAUCE’S SEASON-HIGH…Colton Saucerman tallied four points in Friday’s game against New Mexico which was a team-high for a single-game this season. On the night, Sauce tallied two goals and two assists.
POWER PLAY CLICKING…The IceRays went 4-17 (23.5%) on the power play in two games against New Mexico.
PUTTING THE KILL IN PENALTY KILL…After a subpar effort against the RoadRunners on the penalty-kill, Corpus Christi righted the ship, killing off all 12 New Mexico power plays on the weekend. The team was also aggressive on the penalty kill as they scored two shorthanded goals on the weekend.
FINE JEWELRY OUTLET PLAYER OF THE MONTH…Michael Benedict (Eden, NY) received the FJO Player of the Month award for the month of December. During the month he tallied four goals and had two assists for six points in seven games played. The month included a two-goal performance at home against Wichita Falls in a 5-4 shootout victory. Benedict also tallied in the shootout.
ONE GOAL IS THE DIFFERENCE: The IceRays have had 18 of their 37 games decided by one goal. In those games, the team is 11-5-2 (24 points). The 11 wins are the most in the North American Hockey League.
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. Currently, the team is 2-3-0 at home in 2011.
NEW FACES: A total of 42 players have played in a game for Corpus Christi this season. The only player on the current roster yet to see the ice is goaltender Mason Murovich.
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 will send two players to the send Top Prospects Tournament to be held in Ann Arbor, MI on Feb. 20-22, 2011. The rosters will be determined by a Top Prospects Selection Committee and will be announced on Monday January 24, 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.
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 hits the road for three games in three days in two cities. On Friday and Saturday the team is in New Mexico for 8:30 PM CT start times against the Mustangs. The trip concludes on Sunday with a 6:00 PM CT contest in Amarillo. 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”