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Rays Return from Break with Thursday Thriller

Thursday, 12.28.17 / 10:03 pm CT
Photo: Chip Pitcairn

The IceRays returned from their holiday break with a bang, taking down the first-place Mudbugs in electrifying fashion on Thursday night with a 2-1 overtime victory.

An early power play just three minutes into the contest was promptly quelled by the Shreveport penalty kill. Not long after, Larry Jungwirth appeared to have drawn first blood with a backhand shot on James Durham’s blocker side, but the goal was waived off as the referee deemed the Shreveport net-minder had stopped the puck before it crossed the goal line.

In his IceRays debut, defenseman Ryan Rosenberg found himself with an opportunity to avenge Jungwirth with a pair of backhand shots from the mid-slot with Durham out of position, but both attempts were blocked. The Mudbugs converted on their first power play late in the first period, courtesy of a Gueorgui Feduolov strike from the right circle. The goal marked the end of the Rays’ penalty-killing streak, which had successfully fought off 25 in a row.

Jacob Acton was perfect in net for the Rays during period two, turning aside all nine Shreveport shots and providing his team with the opportunity to level the score. A dozen minutes into the middle stanza, the IceRays did just that.

Jungwirth cleared the puck down the right boards past a pinching Mudbugs defenseman, which yielded a broken two-on-one for Rylee St. Onge and Aleksi Peltonen. St. Onge corralled the puck in the right corner and fed a no-look pass to Peltonen, who spun a shot on net and forced Durham to make an uncomfortable stop. St. Onge cleaned up the loose puck following the save and tucked it home to tie the score.

Eight and a half minutes into the third period, Jayson Dimizio and Andrew Lane threw their gloves off and fought at center ice. Dimizio made quick work of the undersized Lane and gave his team a needed boost. However, Acton and Durham kept the third period scoreless, and the Rays embarked on overtime for the seventh time in their last thirteen games.

Shreveport controlled the tempo for the majority of the sudden death segment, but the IceRays defenders managed to keep quality scoring chances at a minimum. Acton took care of the two shots which were sent his way during sudden death, and he bought his team enough time to strike back.

Blake Coffey fed Brendan Miller a pass in the high slot, where he tapped the puck along to Peltonen in the right circle. Rather than firing a one-timer, Peltonen received Miller’s pass, found an opening, stepped between the hashmarks, and rifled a wrist shot over Durham’s glove. The goal was Peltonen’s first overtime winner as an IceRay.

Acton earned his second victory of the season, as well as SportsRadio Corpus Christi Third Star of the Game recognition. He made 25 of a possible 26 saves, while Durham denied 29 of 31 in his second overtime defeat. The IceRays and Mudbugs will close the series tomorrow at the American Bank Center. Puck drop is set for 7:05 pm CT, and the game will be broadcast on and on YouTube.