(Photo: Cody Wooten)
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The Wildcats and IceRays meet for the first pair of eight regular-season meetings scheduled for 2014-15. Wichita Falls had good success against their Corpus Christi counterparts last year, posting a 4-2-0 record in six head-to-head meetings, including a 3-1-0 mark at the American Bank Center. Historically, the ‘Cats have had great success against the IceRays, posting a 24-10-4 mark against Corpus Christi since the 2010-11 season. Colin Staub leads all active Wildcat skaters with six points (three goals, three assists) in 12 career games against the IceRays.
Corpus Christi Chatter
Corpus Christi enters this weekend’s set with a record of 6-5-4, and currently sit in fourth place in the South Division through 15 games played. The ‘Rays were kept in check by the Amarillo Bulls in their most recent action, losing in a shootout on Friday, 5-4, before falling 6-3 on Saturday last weekend. The IceRays will be excited to return home for this weekend’s action however, as they are 4-1-0 this year in games played at the American Bank Center, and have allowed 14 goals at home compared to 33 goals against on the road. Furthermore, Corpus Christi special teams enjoy greater success at home than on the road; the ‘Rays are fifth in the league in home power play percentage (23.1%), and boast the league’s third-best home penalty kill (93.5%). The IceRays’ attack is led by veteran forward Wes Michaud’s 17 points (six goals, 11 assists), while Tanner Lomsnes (seven goals, six assists) and Anthony Cortese (six goals, seven assists) are tied for second on the team with 13 points. Andrew Lindgren has seen the majority of minutes in net, posting a 5-2-2 record with a 2.71 goals against average and .917 save percentage.
When the Wildcats posted eight goals against the Odessa Jackalopes on Friday, Oct. 17, they re-wrote a bit of team history in the process. Combined with the nine goals scored against Amarillo on Oct. 10, the 17 tallies were the most in a two-game span in franchise history. The 17-goal glut surpassed the previous high-water mark of 15 goals in two games, which occurred on Jan. 11 and 12, 2013 against the Odessa Jackalopes, when the Wildcats posted 6-2 and 9-3 wins, respectively, to claim a weekend sweep.
Thanks in large part to their 17-goal output over their past two games, the Wildcats currently boast one of the league’s best attacks. Wichita Falls is averaging a league-high 4.45 goals per game through the first part of the season. The ‘Cats are also averaging the most shots per game (36.9) of any team in the league.
Ferocious in the Final Frame
The Wildcats’ strong start to the season has been helped greatly by strong showings in the third period. Wichita Falls has scored 22 of its 49 goals (44.9%) in the final frame, double the amount of goals against in the third. The ‘Cats have scored in the third period of every contest but two this season, and have registered multiple tallies in the third on seven occasions. Last season, the red-and-black were outscored 55-46 in the third period of play.
Former Wildcats defenseman Zach Trotman headlines this week’s alumni update after he was recalled by the Boston Bruins of the NHL. Trotman was called upon to fill the void left by Zdeno Chara’s injury, and will likely have an opportunity to make an impact at the NHL-level with Chara expected to miss from 4-6 weeks.
Elsewhere, it was a weekend of firsts for a trio of recent-alums. Tyler Ledford record the first point of his career when he picked up an assist in a 4-3 win for the Air Force Academy on Oct. 24. Sam Piazza and Kyle Bauman both skated in the first games of their respective collegiate careers, with Piazza skating for the Michigan Wolverines against Boston University and Bauman suiting up for Bemidji State University at Minnesota.
The Ford House Military Appreciation Night will return on Saturday, November 8 when the Wildcats host the Amarillo Bulls. The ‘Cats will wear special-edition, military-themed jerseys on Nov. 7 and 8, with a jersey raffle to follow the game on Nov. 8. Any person with valid military identification, including active and retired personnel and family members, will receive free admission to that evening’s contest. All uniformed personnel in attendance Nov. 8 will receive five (5) complimentary raffle tickets to enter the jersey raffle. Additionally, the Wildcats will offer $5 admission to anyone with valid military ID on Tuesday, Nov. 11.
November will also see the Wildcats partner with the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank to collect non-perishable food for area families in need as part of the Hockey Heals Hunger campaign. Fans that support Hockey Heals Hunger by donating three non-perishable food items will be entered into a raffle to win Wildcats prizes, including a signed jersey, game tickets and more. The Hockey Heals Hunger campaign will culminate in Hockey Heals Hunger Night on Friday, Nov. 21. On that night, any fan that brings five non-perishable food items for donation will receive free admission to that evening’s game against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees.