Saturday, 10.28.17 / 9:33 pm CT
For the first time since February 22nd, 2014, the IceRays were shut out in back-to-back performances and were swept by the Amarillo Bulls, falling 1-0 on Saturday.
The Rays knew they had to help their goaltender out as much as possible, given how often Amarillo shoots the puck. The Bulls only managed nine shots on goal, but allowed just five.
Net-minders Chad Veltri (Corpus Christi) and Jason Grande (Amarillo) were perfect through the opening 20-minute stanza. The IceRays had an opportunity to draw first blood after a four-minute double-minor penalty was called against Marcus Chorney, Amarillo’s top defenseman. However, they struggled to maintain a foothold in the Bulls’ zone and were shut down on their extended power play.
No penalties would be called in the middle frame, but the scoreless tie was finally broken. At 24:21, Nikita Sokolov unleashed a wrist shot from the right point. His bid was blocked by his own teammate, Brett Abdelnour. The Bulls forward would pick up the puck near his right skate and just turn it on net from the slot. He tucked it inside the right post to beat Veltri over the glove and break the ice early in the second.
Abdelnour’s snipe would hold out to be the game-winner, as the Rays failed to pierce Grande in any way. Bud Winter probably had the best chance of the period to tie the game, as the puck found him at the bottom of the left circle with Grande out of position. Winter quickly fired the puck off his stick, but missed the left post by a few inches.
Pulling Veltri late in regulation for a sixth attacker was ineffective, as Brad Flynn had already used his timeout and was not able to give his team a breather. The Rays’ power play went 0-for-6 for the second consecutive game.
Veltri had a strong performance, stopping all but one of the 32 shots he faced. Grande lived up to his name and earned a second consecutive Second Star of the Game nomination. He made 27 saves in his third shutout of the season. The IceRays will head to Topeka next weekend to take on the RoadRunners on Saturday, November 4th. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:15 pm CT. The game will be broadcast on HockeyTV.com and on 1230 AM SportsRadio Corpus Christi.