TOPEKA, KAN. – The Corpus Christi IceRays lost to the Topeka RoadRunners, 5-2, on Sunday afternoon from the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, Kan. Six of the seven combined goals came on the power play with a combined 52 penalty minutes and two ejections.
For the second-straight game, the IceRays fell behind early in the first period, 1-0, when Willie Brown slotted a shot over the shoulder of Luke Pickar at 5:30. That goal came just nine seconds after IceRays forward Connor Kelly was called for holding. Yu Hikosaka was awarded the lone assist on the play. The IceRays would answer later on in the first period. After RoadRunners defender Jack Kelly went to the box for tripping, the IceRays fought for the net front with Nic LaBurn being the benefactor of a bounding puck up over the pad of Topeka netminder Matej Tomek at 17:21 to even the score, 1-1, on the power play. Assists were awarded to Kelly and forward Wes Michaud.
In the second period, the tide turned in the IceRays favor. With Brown in the box for roughing, Michaud found the back of the net for the second-straight game–this goal came on the power play–to give the IceRays their first lead of the season, 2-1, at 6:37 into the period with helpers from forward Tanner Lomsnes and defender Anthony Cortese. Markus Kojo laid a check from behind on Topeka forward Jasen Fernsler and was awarded a double-minor penalty and a 10-minute misconduct. He didn’t return to the game. Topeka evened the score, 2-2, at 8:01 of the period thanks to defender Shawn Brennan with the help of forwards Hikosaka and Kevin Fitzgerald. The IceRays killed of the second minor penalty, but a slashing call against Ryan Cusin would prove costly as Daniel Rzavsky scored at 17:15 on the power play to give Topeka the lead, 3-2. At 19:25 of the period, after Lomsnes and defender Travis Howe were called for cross checking and unsportsmanlike conduct, respectively, IceRays defender Trevor Heuser would be called for roughing at 19:25. On the scrum, Topeka defender Daniel Brickley was sent off with a game misconduct for grabbing Heuser’s face mask.
The IceRays killed off all three penalties that spilled into the third period, but RoadRunners forward Sly Sutter made it a two-goal game, 4-2, at 8:19 with an even-strength goal from Brown. One final power play goal met twine at 14:34, when Ryan Polin slapped a shot from the right point on a Joe Chitwood elbowing penalty to finalize the scoreline, 5-2.
Topeka led in shots the entire game, finishing the night with a 45-27 tally. Pickar (0-1-0) dropped his IceRays debut, saving a career-high 40 saves on 45 shots. Tomek earned the win (1-0), stopping 25 of 27 shots. The IceRays continue their opening road trip to Blaine, Minn., where they open the North American Hockey League Showcase against the Kenai River Brown Bears on Wednesday, September 17 at 1:30 p.m. with coverage starting at 1:15 p.m. with Countdown to Faceoff on FASTHockey.com.
Individual and season tickets for the 2014-15 season of IceRays hockey are on sale with packages starting as low as $74. Call the front office at 361-814-7825 for season and individual ticket details or check out the pricing and seating chart online at www.goicerays.com. Stay current with the latest team news by visiting www.goicerays.com. In addition, stay connected with the IceRays on Facebook (/CorpusChristiIceRays), Twitter (@goicerays), and YouTube (IceRays TV).