Coming into the weekend, the IceRays sat three points back of El Paso in the division. Exiting the weekend, the two teams are tied for sixth in the division.
Friday, November 26, 2021
IceRays 2, New Mexico 1
The IceRays returned home on Friday night following a rough weekend in Amarillo. When they played the Wranglers on Saturday night, they faced off against the top team in the South Division. They had to face off against the top team again. This time, though, in the form of the New Mexico Ice Wolves.
With a win on Wednesday night, New Mexico had won three straight entering Friday night. The IceRays had faced off against the Ice Wolves four times prior to Friday’s matchup with all of the games taking place in Albuquerque. In those four games, Corpus Christi only won one game.
Friday’s matchup started in period number one with the IceRays striking first for the eighth time this season. It was Charlie Merkley scoring a deflecting a Kevin O’Keefe shot into the net. Merkley had not scored in the first sixteen games played, but he now has two in two games. The Rays took a one goal advantage into the intermission.
In the second period, the Rays struck quickly again in period number two with Jack Wandmacher burying a rebound. The goal was number two for the IceRays, and Corpus took that into the break.
The IceRays had to battle through some adversity in period number three as New Mexico cut the lead to one quickly in the third. The game went down the stretch with New Mexico getting plenty of chances. At the end of the night, Damon Beaver came up clutch for Corpus Christi.
Beaver ended the game with 49 saves on the night and earned the first star of the game.
Saturday, November 27, 2021
IceRays 4, New Mexico 3
After taking down what was at the time the first place team in the division on Friday night, the IceRays had to face off against New Mexico once again on Saturday. With the loss on Friday, the Ice Wolves had slid back into second place in the division.
On Friday, quick goals became the story for both teams with all three goals coming within the first five minutes of their respective periods. Saturday night, was about scoring with under five minutes for Corpus Christi.
As the puck dropped in period number one, the IceRays became the first to find the scoreboard. Dylan Contreras buried his first of the season just over eleven and a half into the period. Assists were awarded to his line mates on the night, Zach Dill and Jack Wandmacher.
A back and forth style of game was the trend with New Mexico’s Nicolas Haviar tying things up at one aside just under two minutes later.
The clock fell under a minute to go in the period when Stepan Kuznetsov found possession of the puck in the corner. He showed great use of his hands, got around a handful of defenders, and buried the puck in the back of the net with just over thirty seconds to go in the period.
After taking a 2-1 lead into the first intermission, the majority of the second was played at that score. Just under thirteen minutes into the period, New Mexico’s Haviar deflected one past Stefan Carney to bring the game back to a tie.
The Ice Wolves had a player sent to the box late in period number two. Just as the player stepped out of the box, new IceRay Juraj Elias sent one toward New Mexico goaltender Beni Halasz. The rebound found the stick of Persson in the corner who fed Charlie Merkley backdoor. Merkley slammed it home to continue his two-game goal streak to three and put the IceRays on top as they headed into the second intermission.
In the game’s final frame, the IceRays’ captain Jude Kurtas found himself in the penalty box. On the man advantage, New Mexico evened things up thanks to a JD Metz goal.
Tied down the stretch, New Mexico had a couple of chances in their offensive end. At the end of one of those chances, Stepan Kuznetsov picked up possession at the goal line. He outskated one of New Mexico’s best players, Dillan Bentley, shimmied around an Ice Wolves defender trying to hold the zone, and skated toward the offensive end. He took the puck right to the net where he beat Beni Halasz to give the IceRays a 4-3 lead with under two minutes to go in the third.
The Ice Wolves pulled Halasz in way for an extra attacker, but were unable to get one past Carney. This meant that the IceRays were able to take out the brooms against one of the top teams in the south division with a 4-3 win.
The IceRays move to 9-12-2 on the season, which brings them into a tie with El Paso for sixth place in the division. On the season against New Mexico, the IceRays have won three out of six matchups while taking eight out of twelve available points thanks to forcing overtime in two of the three losses.
The IceRays are back on the road this weekend as they face off against the Wichita Falls Warriors. Puck drop is scheduled for both days at 7:05 pm. Follow along the action all season long on Brewster Street Radio.