Friday, 02.09.18 / 9:45 pm CT
Photo: Chip Pitcairn
Playing in his first game since January 13th, Chad Veltri earned a 25-save shutout and led the IceRays to a series split against the Lone Star Brahmas on Friday night.
Just over five minutes into the contest, a frightening play silenced the 3,207 in attendance at the American Bank Center. Kaelan Taylor was checked from behind into the end boards by Owen Farris, who was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit. Taylor would return to the game.
However, a delay of game penalty was called against Veltri, who inadvertently cleared the puck directly out of play. The Rays could not convert on an ensuing 5-on-3 power play, but they managed to hold the Brahmas to just five shots in the first frame.
Just a minute into the ensuing period, Garrett Hallford stole the puck near the left corner following a ruthless forecheck in the Lone Star zone. He spun a pass in the direction of Jayson Dimizio, who shoveled a backhand shot over Harrison Feeney’s glove to give the Rays a 1-0 lead.
Having scored the first goal for the third consecutive game, the IceRays rode out their momentum and outplayed the Brahmas for the majority of period two.
At 37:24, Dimizio met up with Jakub Sirota in the right corner. The two of them collided and promptly agreed to drop the gloves. A lengthy scrap ended with Sirota face-down on the ice and Dimizio with a cut under his left eye.
Lone Star pressed hard to tie the score early in the closing stanza. Suddenly, the crowd was electrified after Adam Kadlec made a spectacular play in his IceRays debut. He took the puck down the left side and patiently waited for a passing lane to open, dipping his shoulder to elude two Brahmas defenders. He fed the puck through the crease to Rylee St. Onge, who fired a shot home for his 16th goal on the season and seventh against Lone Star.
St. Onge’s strike gave the Rays a late boost, but the Brahmas pulled their goaltender with over two minutes remaining in an effort to tie the game. As he had done all night, Veltri turned aside anything and everything thrown his way. He capped off the night with a 25-save shutout, and Blake Coffey scored his third goal in as many games with an empty-net strike for good measure.
Veltri’s shutout was his first of the season and second of his career as an IceRay, and he earned his 13th victory on the campaign. Feeney had a solid night for the Brahmas, making 21 of 23 saves en route to his third regulation defeat. The IceRays return to the American Bank Center to host game three of their eight-game home stand on Friday, February 16th against the Topeka RoadRunners. Puck drop is set for 7:05 pm CT and the game will be broadcast on HockeyTV.com and on YouTube.