CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – Jake Durflinger had a hat trick to give the Corpus Christi IceRays a 6-3 lead in the third period, however the Topeka RoadRunners answered with three goals of their own including the game tying goal with 58sec left in the game and the overtime winner from Daniel Rzavsky 1:31 into the extra time to complete an enormous comeback with a 7-6 win over the IceRays in front of 2,539 fans at American Bank Center.
After a shutout last night for PJ Bridges he would help give the IceRays the early lead in the game. After going behind the net to play the puck, Bridges gave it up to the IceRays fore-check. Connor Kelly and Michael Mahan forced the turnover then hit Tony Roisum with the puck quickly at the top of the right wing circle. Roisum immediately released the shot that got to the net before Bridges could for his 6th on the year just 3:24 into the game for a 1-0 IceRays lead.
Topeka fired right back at the 5:27 mark of period one. After the IceRays failed to get the puck out just before the blueline, Sam Rennaker intercepted the puck at the top of the offensive zone circles for Topeka. Rennaker fired the wrister by goaltender Forbes Ploszaj to tie the game up 1-1 with the only helper being credited to Daniel Rzavsky.
Then on the first power-play chance of the night, the ‘Runners cashed in to take their first lead of the game. Willie Brown moved down the right wing wall into the offensive zone letting a shot go that was stopped originally by Forbes Ploszaj, however the rebound was pulled free by James Ring and he slide it through Ploszaj and into the back of the net for a 2-1 advantage at 10:15 of the game. Assists went to Willie Brown and Ryan Polin.
Like the RoadRunners did early in the period, the IceRays responded with a power-play tally of their own. Connor Kelly took the puck in the left wing offensive zone dot and worked it to the high slot letting a low shot go that was padded down by PJ Bridges but Brad LeLievre scooped up the rebound and easily tapped it into the net for his third goal in as many games to tie the game 2-2 with only 3:41 left in the first frame.
In the second period the IceRays scored two straight goal to take a 4-2 lead. The first came at the 2:40 mark when Jake Durflinger brought the puck into the offensive zone but lost it. He dove and hit the puck right to an oncoming Maurin Bouvet who let go a wrister that went by Bridges and gave the ‘Rays a 3-2 lead while on the power-play. The goal was Bouvet’s 9th of the season with the assists to Durflinger and Brad LeLievre.
Durflinger assisted the go ahead goal and scored the next one as well to give the IceRays a two goal lead. The puck was deflected into the left corner by PJ Bridges and Durflinger got to it first just spinning and swinging it to the net somehow finding the back of the net for his 10th on the season. The goal ended the night for PJ Bridges and he was replaced by Drew Vogler. Assists went to Maurin Bouvet and Nick Monfils.
With the IceRays now obtaining the momentum in the game, Sly Sutter ended that with 5:51 left in the period. Sutter took the puck from Ryan Polin and moved down the left wing side of the ice sending a hard shot over the shoulder of Forbes Ploszaj to pull Topeka within a goal.
Jake Durflinger picked up the next two goals of the game to complete only the second hat trick of the season for the IceRays team. The first goal of the final period came at the 1:20 mark of the third while the hat trick strike was tallied at 3:33. It was the 10th, 11th, and 12th goals of the year for the young forward. The IceRays led 6-3 at the point of the third period.
The comeback for Topeka began at 5:48 as Jake Kamrass beat Forbes Ploszaj with 14:12 left to go in the third period to pull the ‘Runners to a two goal deficit. Just 1:34 after the goal was scored, the IceRays pulled goaltender Forbes Ploszaj and replaced him with Ben Myers.
Topeka added another goal by Sly Sutter as he capped off a hot weekend against the IceRays to make the game separated by just a single goal still with only 8:12 left in the game. At that point the IceRays maintained a 6-5 lead all the way until 58 seconds remained when Jake Kamrass backhanded a puck from behind the night right to Tyler Poulsen who buried the game tying goal to force overtime and eliminate a three goal IceRay lead.
In overtime, it only took 1:31 into the extra time for Topeka to seal the deal as Daniel Rzavsky beat Myers on a breakaway for the 7-6 win.
The IceRays are on the road next Friday and Saturday night in Hidalgo, TX to battle the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. Puck drops at 7:05PM, coverage begins at 6:50PM with the IceRays Pregame Show on 91.1FM KSGR, ksgr.org, ustream.com, and fasthockey.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 the team’s Youtube channel ICERAYS TV (@goicerays)