Friday, 03.16.18 / 9:57 pm CT
Photo: Bryan Williams
The IceRays jolted into a late second period lead with three special teams goals, but fell behind in the third and could not recover as they were bested 6-3 by the Amarillo Bulls on Friday night.
Starting the period with a bang, the IceRays delivered a handful of heavy body checks in the first couple of shifts. However, it was Amarillo who struck first.
Cameron Bartkoski unleashed a slap shot from above the right circle, and the puck deflected off an IceRay and past Chad Veltri, giving the Bulls a 1-0 lead at 8:58.
Jared Domin doubled the Bulls’ lead less than two minutes later. Following a takeaway at his own blue line, he rushed down the slot on a breakaway and fired a shot through Veltri’s five-hole. The Rays forced a scramble at the other end with just three seconds remaining, but Trevor Micucci kept the puck out of his own net amidst the chaos.
Brendan Miller propelled the IceRays to their most epic penalty kill of the 2017-18 season. After Rylee St. Onge was penalized at 22:31 for roughing, the Rays went back to their third PK of the game. Conor Yawney fired the puck around the boards and deep into Amarillo territory. Miller took possession behind the Bulls net, and stuffed it between Micucci’s pads.
Just 21 seconds later, he secured possession in the neutral zone and raced in on a shorthanded breakaway. He tucked the puck short side to tie the game, and tie Brookings’ Josh Boyer as the league leader in shorthanded goals, with five on the season.
At 35:46, Brett Abdelnour was given a penalty for slashing. Just eight seconds into the ensuing power play, Larry Jungwirth buried a cross-crease pass fed to him by Miller for his team-leading 24th goal of the season. The strike gave the Rays their first lead of the game.
Early in the third, Domin took a slap shot from between the circles to beat Veltri and re-tie the game with his second goal of the night. After an evenly played bulk of the closing period, the Bulls finally found an opening.
Egor Kurbatov fed a cross-crease pass to his countryman Nikita Sokolov at 56:02, and the defenseman tapped in his second goal of the season. Domin and Nic Griebenow would add empty-net goals to lift the Bulls to a 6-3 win.
Veltri turned aside 26 of the 30 shots he faced in his 12th regulation defeat, while Micucci denied 32 of 35 to earn his second victory of the season. The IceRays will close out the weekend series tomorrow night at the American Bank Center. Puck drop is set for 7:05 pm CT. The game will be broadcast on HockeyTV.com and on YouTube. Spring breakers enter for $5 by showing a college ID at the box office, and anyone wearing green will be allowed admission for $7.