Saturday, 11.04.17 / 9:35 pm CT
The IceRays broke a four-game winless drought on Saturday night, triumphing 4-1 over the Topeka RoadRunners.
Both goaltenders were coming off of strong performances from the previous week, but each of them were charged with defeats in those games. Chad Veltri (Corpus Christi) and Connor Murphy (Topeka) earned the starts on Saturday.
Veltri was perfect through the first 13 minutes, but Nick Shultze drew first blood at 13:04 on a broken play, giving the Runners a 1-0 lead.
Just 88 seconds later, CJ Regula scored his first goal as an IceRay to level the score. Angus Scott stole the puck behind the Topeka goal line following a timely forecheck. He slipped it in front of the net, where Regula patiently waited for Murphy to fall helplessly out of position. Regula held it out on his forehand and lifted it past Murphy to tie the game 1-1.
Garrett Hallford gave the Rays their first lead in three weeks at 17:14. He and his linemates Noah Roofe and Bud Winter pressured the Runners in their own zone and forced a turnover. From the right circle, Hallford turned and smacked it through Murphy’s five-hole for his fifth goal of the season.
The second period was void of any scoring, but presented three power play opportunities. Two of those chances were abbreviated due to a four-on-four, and the best scoring chances of the period came from the teams which were shorthanded.
Nick Granowicz raced down the left wing and gained a partial shorthanded breakaway, but Trevor Wilhelm slashed him to prevent a shot. The penalty kept Topeka’s most dangerous player from getting a clean chance on Veltri, but it also sent Wilhelm to the box to initiate a four-on-four.
On an IceRays penalty kill, Brendan Miller flung the puck from the left wing over to Blake Coffey, who was trailing on the attack. Coffey ripped a slap shot on net, but Murphy flashed out his right arm to make the stop.
Just 3:04 into the closing period, Larry Jungwirth tucked the puck past Murphy’s right pad on a wraparound to extend the Rays’ lead and put Topeka in a two-goal hole. Pulling Murphy at the end did not pay off, as Rylee St. Onge tallied his first IceRays goal with an empty-net strike.
Veltri had another quietly dominant performance in net, stopping 27 of the 28 shots he faced. He allowed only one goal for the second straight night and earned his fourth victory of the season. Murphy made 30 of a possible 33 saves and was charged with his third defeat. The IceRays will finish their ten-game road stretch tomorrow night in Topeka. Puck drops at the Kansas Expocentre at 5:05 pm CT.