TICKETS: Single-game tickets for the 2014-15 Wildcats season are on sale now at the Kay Yeager Coliseum Box Office, and can be purchased by calling (940) 716-5555. Stay updated on the latest team news and notes by connecting with the Wildcats on Facebook (WFWildcats), Twitter (@WFWildcats), Instagram (WFWildcats) and on YouTube (Wichita Falls Wildcats).
The Wildcats welcome the Corpus Christi IceRays to the Kay Yeager Coliseum this Thursday and Friday for the fifth and sixth tilts between the two sides this season. The red-and-black 3-1-0 against the IceRays this season, and are 2-0-0 at the KYC against their foes from the coastal bend. When these two sides last met, the ‘Cats cruised past Corpus Christi, sweeping a weekend set by scores of 7-1 and 8-2 on Dec. 5 and Dec. 6, respectively. Max Reisinger played a large role in that weekend’s success, as he posted six points (three goals, three assists) over the two-game set to pace the potent attack, while defenseman Shane Kuzmeski tacked on five points (one goal, four assists) over the two games. Reisinger leads all Wildcats in scoring against the ‘Rays this year (4 GP, 4-3-7), while five other Wichita Falls skaters are averaging over a point-per-game against Corpus Christi. Historically speaking, the ‘Cats have done well in head-to-head action against the IceRays, posting a 27-11-4 record dating back to 2010, and a 16-4-0 mark against the ‘Rays at the KYC.
Corpus Christi Conflicts
The IceRays enter this two-game set sitting in fourth place in the South Division with a record of 19-12-5, and currently sit nine points behind the Wildcats, who are currently third. Corpus Christi has been dominant at home this season but has struggled on the road, and finds itself in the midst of a seven-game road swing, which the IceRays opened with a split in Wenatchee last weekend. The ‘Rays stumbled to a 4-1 loss on Friday evening before claiming a 4-3 shootout win the next night, a win that marked their first road victory of the season. Corpus Christi is led on offense by veteran Wes Michaud, who has 14 goals and 27 assists for 41 points, and first-year skater Tanner Lomsnes, who enters Thursday’s game with 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists) in 34 games played. In net, Andrew Lindgren has seen the majority of minutes for the IceRays; the rookie netminder is currently 14-7-3 in 25 games played, with a 2.87 goals against average and .907 save percentage.
Special Teams Spotlight
When these two teams last met in December, it marked a meeting of two of the best the NAHL had to offer on special teams. Corpus Christi entered that weekend series with the league’s best power play, and third-best penalty kill, but has since struggled on special teams. The IceRays are just 4-for-41 on the man advantage since that sweep at the hands of the Wildcats, including a 0-for-24 spell that spanned across five games and just ended last Saturday against the Wenatchee Wild. The penalty kill has not fared much better in that time, as the ‘Rays have killed opposing penalties at a 70 per-cent clip (21-for-30) over their last eight contests. As a result, Corpus Christi has slipped to ninth in the league in combined special teams (power play percentage + penalty kill success rate) with a mark of 103.93 after leading the league in that category for much of the first half.
Recapping ‘Jersey Off Our Back’
Last Saturday, the Wildcats held their annual ‘Jersey Off Our Back’ Night fundraiser to benefit Children’s Miracle Network in what has become the organization’s signature event. Thanks to the support of family, fans and the community of Wichita Falls, the Wildcats were able to raise $36,007 for Children’s Miracle Network through the jersey auction and other related fundraising efforts. First-year head coach John LaFontaine saw his jersey fetch the highest bid, as it auctioned for $2,000. This year’s total marks an increase of over $5,000 from last year’s total, with all funds raised going to help CMN efforts at United Regional Health Care System.
Koch-ing Up Points
After posting 17 assists in 56 games played in his first year, defenseman Matt Koch has found his offensive stride in 2014-15. The second-year skater currently leads all North American Hockey League defensemen in scoring with 35 points, and also ranks fourth among all league skaters with 31 assists on the year; The 31 assists stand as a new team record for most assists by a defenseman in a single season. The Hastings, Minn.,-native enters this weekend as the Wildcats’ third-leading scorer (4-31-35), while leading the team in plus-minus with a plus-23 mark. The Air Force Academy recruit is also on pace to set a new team record for points in a single season by a defenseman, a record set just last season when Sam Piazza posted 37 points in 58 games played.
Spotlight on Staub
Wildcats forward Colin Staub reached a milestone when he took the ice in the team’s 3-2 defeat to Topeka on Jan. 10. The Colorado-native became just the fourth skater in team history to play in 150 career games, joining Skylur Jameson (231 GP, 2004-08), Adam Cardwell (176 GP, 2005-08) and Brett Hartung (159 GP, 2006-09). Staub is poised to pen another piece of history into the ‘Cats record books, as he currently sits at 99 points (36 goals, 63 assists) for his career. Should the veteran reach the century mark in career points, he would be just the fifth player in the club’s history to do so, and the first to accomplish the feat since Cardwell (189 points), Jameson (135) and Luke Salazar (110) did so in 2007-08.
Don’t miss Noisemaker Night on Friday, Jan. 23 when the Wildcats host the Corpus Christi IceRays. The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a free noisemaker as we “Restore the Roar” at the Kay Yeager Coliseum.
When the Wildcats host the Lone Star Brahmas on Feb. 4 and 18, all fans may take advantage of a 4-for-$24 ticket special good for any seats in the arena. Simply contact the KYC Box Office at (940) 716-5555 for tickets.