Saturday, 04.07.18 / 10:09 pm CT
Hosting Pack the House Night at the American Bank Center, the IceRays wrapped up the 2017-18 regular season with an overtime defeat at the hands of the Lone Star Brahmas.
Both teams prodded at one another during the first period, trying to find a vulnerability in the opposing defense. However, the last lines of defense for both sides, Chad Veltri and Mitchell Gibson, were perfect in the opening period. Veltri turned aside all 13 shots he faced, while Gibson stopped all nine the IceRays threw his way.
Brendan Miller had an outstanding chance to light the lamp late in period one, stealing the puck from Wyatt Mathews at the blue line and getting a partial breakaway. However, Jakub Sirota caught up to him and forced him into an early shot, allowing Gibson to make the save with his stick.
The scoreless stalemate continued in the second period. Matt Novo had an opportunity to break the ice with a turnaround slot in the slot, but Gibson turned it aside with his blocker. Veltri responded with a handful of strong saves with his glove.
In the closing seconds, Grayson Gavin and Larry Jungwirth found themselves on a 2-on-1 rush. Gavin’s pass, which was partially impeded by Anton Sandberg, eventually reached Jungwirth, who had to lunge out his stick to try for a shot on goal. In doing so, he collided with Gibson and was given a two-minute minor for charging.
The Rays managed to kill the penalty which carried over into the final period. Eighteen total shots were taken in the third period, and they were all stopped by the red-hot goaltenders. For the second straight night, the IceRays and Brahmas went to overtime.
Friday night, it took Lone Star 1:53 of sudden death to spoil the party for the IceRays. Saturday night, it took only 1:27. Justin Addamo fed Julian Biondo on a 2-on-1 counterattack. Biondo put the puck onto his backhand and shoveled it past a sprawling Veltri to silence the crowd on Pack the House Night.
The IceRays will commence their quest for the Robertson Cup next Friday, April 13th, at George’s Pond Coliseum in Shreveport, Louisiana. They will square off against the Shreveport Mudbugs in Game One of the best-of-five South Division Finals for the second consecutive season. Puck drop is set for 7:11 pm CT. The game will be broadcast on HockeyTV and on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (1230 AM, 95.1 FM, 96.1 FM). Tickets for the playoffs will go on sale next Wednesday, April 11th. To purchase, visit the IceRays’ website at goicerays.com, or call the office at (361) 814-PUCK.