TOPEKA, KS – Led by Michael Benedict and Beau Walker, the Corpus Christi IceRays mounted a furious third period comeback, only to see a late third-period tying goal disallowed, and fell, 5-3, to the Topeka RoadRunners on Friday night at the Landon Arena. With the win, Topeka improves to 30-8-3 (63 points) overall while the IceRays slide to 17-25-2 (36 points) on the season.
Benedict and Walker each scored late third period goals for the ‘Rays, but it was not enough as Jason Souva’s apparent tying goal with 16 seconds left was waived of by referee Steven Thompson.
The IceRays hemmed in the Topeka offense through the opening twenty minutes of play, limiting the RoadRunners to just three shots on goal. Corpus Christi earned a five-on-three at the 17:05 mark when Nate Milam took a hooking penalty after Andrew White was already in the penalty box for tripping. Much like the previous game, the IceRays capitalized on the ensuing power play when Beau Walker (16) banged home a loose Colton Saucerman shot to put Corpus Christi in front, 1-0. The IceRays outshout the ‘Runners 11-3 after one period of play.
Topeka reversed the momentum in the second period and took control of the game with three unanswered goals in the second period. The first came at the 2:14 mark when Zach Schrotenboer (5) was left unattended in the right-wing circle, skated his way to the top of the crease, and backhanded a shot through Pheonix Copley to tie the game, 1-1. Topeka took the lead, 2-1, at the 8:24 mark of the period when a defensive zone turnover left Kyle Sharkey (9) all alone in front of Copley and he swept a low backhand past Copley’s left pad. The lead increased to 3-1 when Michael Hill (28) scored his fourth goal in two games after an odd-man rush for the ‘Runners 12:16 into the period. Topeka outshot Corpus Christi, 12-5.
The third period took 13 minutes to get interesting, but the IceRays picked up the intensity and looked to their scoring leaders for the comeback. Michael Benedict became the first IceRay to hit the 20-goal marker when his tally at 13:16 of the third period cut the deficit in half, 3-2. Then after two Topeka penalties put Corpus Christi on a five-on-three power play, Walker (17) added his second of the night, tying the game at 3-3, 14:52 into the period, off a loose puck in the crease which was slammed past Eric Rohrkemper by the West Richland, WA native. However, the tie game did not last long after the IceRays gave up consecutive penalties which put Topeka on the power play. The ‘Runners did not waste much time as Cory Ramsey (4) snapped a shot from the left-wing circle past Copley on the five-on-three power play to put the ‘Runners in front, 4-3 at the 16:53 mark. Controversy ensued in the final minute as the IceRays pulled the netminder on a power play creating a six-on-four man advantage. After a scramble at the top of the crease, Jason Souva’s apparent tying goal with 16 seconds remaining was waived off by referee Steven Thompson after he deemed the puck was frozen. Hill (29) added an empty-net goal to seal the victory, 5-3, for Topeka. The ‘Runners outshot the ‘Rays 27-25. Corpus Christi went 2-9 on the power play while Topeka was 1-8.
RYAN HOLT’S THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
- Michael Hill (2-0-2)
- Kyle Sharkey (1-2-3)
- Beau Walker (2-0-2)
Corpus Christi plays their final game of the regular season series against the RoadRunners on Saturday February 5th. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 PM. Fans can catch the pre-game show on the flagship home of the IceRays, News/Talk 1440 KEYS, www.1440KEYS.com, with the voice of the IceRays, Ryan Holt, beginning at 6:50 PM. The game will be available online through the league’s pay-per-view website, www.fasthockey.com. For more information call the Rays’ front office at 361.814.PUCK (7825) or crash the net at www.goicerays.com.
“THE NEW ICERAYS…TOMORROW’S STARS”