Last weekend, the IceRays were able to knock New Mexico out of first place and climb their way closer toward a playoff spot. This weekend, Corpus Christi travels to Wichita Falls to face off against the Warriors.
The Warriors and IceRays have met for a series once this season in early October. The Rays got the better of the Warriors on Friday night by a score of 3-2. The script was flipped on Saturday night, though, as Wichita Falls was able to skate away with a 3-1 victory.
Since then, the Warriors have had their ups and downs just like Corpus Christi. They have went 5-4-3 since the two teams met in October. In those twelve games, they played six against Lone Star and six against New Mexico. They were scheduled for a weekend set with the Shreveport Mudbugs along the way, but those games were postponed due to some in arena problems.
The Warriors are led by four players who average a point per game or higher with Michigan native Carter Korpi leading the way with 27 points. His point total puts him in second in the south division behind only Kristaps Skrastins of Amarillo at 28 points.
Wichita Falls also has the reigning NAHL South Star of the Week with William Lawson-Body. Lawson-Body recorded five points last weekend in the split against the Brahmas. His hot streak did not start last weekend, though, as he has recorded thirteen points over his past six games played.
The IceRays have a couple streaks of their own, which all starts off with Charlie Merkley’s goal streak. After starting the season off with sixteen goalless games, Merkley has found the back of the net in three straight games for Corpus Christi. Two of those goals coming off of deflections from Kevin O’Keefe shots on goal.
The other big streak for the IceRays is two straight wins. The IceRays now sit in a tie for sixth place in the division with the El Paso Rhinos, which could take sole possession of sixth place with a win on Thursday night. Corpus Christi also sits five points out of a playoff spot at the moment and twelve points out of first place in the division.
Goaltending has been important for the IceRays this season with Damon Beaver leading the way in net with seventeen games played. Beaver currently sits in a tie for eighth in the NAHL with a .923 save percentage among qualified goaltenders. Over the month of November, Beaver recorded a .940 save percentage, 2.50 goals against average, and a record of 2-3-0 in five appearances.
Beaver has not been the only goaltender with success as of late for the IceRays as Stefan Carney found his role with Corpus Christi in November. Carney appeared in four games in the month of November where he recorded a record of 2-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA and a save percentage of .944, which was toward the top of the league for the month. Needless to say, goaltending helped the IceRays earn the points they did in the month and will be important going forward.
The IceRays and Warriors face off on Friday and Saturday night in Wichita Falls. You can follow along with the action from home by watching the game on HockeyTV or listening on Brewster Street Radio. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 both days from Kay Yeager Coliseum.