Friday, April 8th, 2022
Shreveport 6, ICERAYS 3
The IceRays made the trek to Shreveport for a weekend series against the Mudbugs. The IceRays had a tough task as the Mudbugs have been hot as of late winning thirteen of their last fifteen games.
Early on, the two teams had a long feeling out stretch where only one shot on goal was found between the two sides five minutes in. The Rays found themselves in the sin bin twice in the first period, and Shreveport was able to strike on the first of the two power plays. The goal scored by Jacob Onstott and assisted by the Mudbugs leading scorer Austin Brimmer.
Later in the first, Shreveport was able to extend their lead to two with a goal coming off of a quick rush. Hayden Nichol was the one who fired it home for the Mudbugs and his first of the season. After twenty minutes of play, the Rays trailed 2-0 and were outshot 11-7 in the first period of play.
The Rays shined a bit brighter than the Mudbugs in the second period. Things started off in the second with the first NAHL goal off of the stick of Nicholas Zocco. Zocco is an affiliated player who also was playing in his first NAHL game on Friday night.
The Mudbugs had a response to regain a two goal lead, but it dropped back to one when the Rays found themselves with a beneficial bounce into the back of the net. Cam Crolley scored goal his tenth of the season to get the Rays back within one just forty seconds after the Mudbugs third of the night.
Once again, Shreveport had an answer to the Rays goal to move the score to 4-2, but the Rays found themselves on the power play for the first time on Friday night late in the second. Finding the back of the net didn’t take long for the Corpus power play, as Michael Casey struck six seconds into the man advantage. This brought the score to 4-3, which is where it sat for intermission number two.
The third period was a quiet one between the two sides for the majority of the frame. No goals in the first eighteen minutes of the period. Shreveport was able to strike late in the game to extend their lead to 5-3. Another goal would put the cherry on top as the Mudbugs went on to win by a score of 6-3.
Saturday, April 9th, 2022
ICERAYS 4, Shreveport 2
The IceRays came into Saturday night with an 0-3 record in Shreveport this season. Corpus Christi looked to get their first win at George’s Pond since March of 2019. Although Shreveport bookended the scoring in the contest, four IceRays goals in the middle became the difference as the Rays picked up win number 25 on the season.
In the first period, Shreveport was able to get one by IceRays goaltender Damon Beaver early. Beaver was making his first start of the weekend after coming in relief for Stefan Carney on Friday night. Scoring for Shreveport was Austin Brimmer, their leading scorer, to get the Mudbugs on the board early at 1-0.
Shortly following the Mudbugs opening goal, the IceRays found themselves on the power play. The man advantage had a lot to live up to following a perfect performance of one goal on one attempt on Friday night coming six seconds into the power play. The first time the Corpus power play hit the ice, they lived up to that expectation with Dylan Contreras burying his fifth goal of the season on a rush with Juraj Elias earning the assist. The Rays finished the night one for three on the power play and two for four on the weekend, which is quite the jump up from the team’s unit that sits around 15% on the season.
After skating to a 1-1 tie in the first twenty minutes, the IceRays found themselves their first lead of the weekend in period two. The go-ahead goal came off of a deflection from a Kevin O’Keefe shot from the point to get one past the Shreveport goaltender. The deflection came off of the stick of the captain, Jude Kurtas, who picked up goal number eleven on the season. The Kurtas goal would be the only tally marked onto the scoreboard in the middle frame, which meant a 2-1 lead at intermission for the Rays.
Corpus Christi was not only a perfect 6/6 on the kill on Saturday night, but early on in the third, the Rays were able to find themselves a short handed goal. The goal coming off of the stick of Michael Casey earns the IceRays twelfth shorty of the season, good enough for a tie of third in the league. For Casey, it marks the third straight game with a goal, his longest streak of the season. The goal down a man on the ice earned the Rays a two-goal advantage five minutes into the third period.
That two-goal lead stayed in tact throughout the majority of the third period and forced the Mudbugs to pull goaltender Simon Bucheler from his cage late in the period. The IceRays took advantage of an opportunity to extend the lead on a shot from their own end coming off of the stick of Casper Gillberg. Gillberg’s second of the season put the cherry on top for Corpus Christi who were destined for their first victory in Shreveport in three years.
Shreveport added a goal late to bring themselves back within two, but it was not enough as the IceRays skated away with a 4-2 victory. Four goals for the IceRays came at different situations of the game. A goal at even strength, on the power play, shorthanded, and with an extra attacker on for the opponent shows a complete game front to back for Corpus Christi. The win for the IceRays also spoiled Shreveport’s hope to move into the third seed in the south division, which makes the Rays victory feel that much better.
Corpus Christi is on the road once again next weekend to close out the 2021-22 season at the south division regular season champion Lone Star Brahmas. Although the Brahmas do not have to worry about home ice throughout the south division, they still have something to play for as they could earn a regular season league title if things break their way throughout the league on the weekend.
The IceRays will look to play spoiler once again this weekend. Puck drop in North Richland Hills is scheduled for 7:30 pm both nights with IceRays Pregame powered by H-E-B scheduled for 7:10 on Brewster Street Radio.