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Cats Sink Rays on Military Appreciation Night

Cats Sink Rays on Military Appreciation Night
Saturday, 1.9.2016 / 9:41 pm CT
By Alex von Keudell

In front of a raucous home crowd on Military Appreciation Night presented by The Ford House Wichita Falls, the Wildcats emerged victorious in a 6-2 win to earn their third sweep of the IceRays on the season.

The Rays came out in the first period displaying their thirst for a long-awaited victory over the Wildcats. For the first time in the season-series, the Rays opened the scoring against the Cats on a point-blank shot by defenseman Colton Meekhof after he was set up by Mason Krueger. Less than two minutes later, Domantas Cypas found himself in the Wildcats penalty box for an interference penalty.

The Cats’ penalty kill continued its dominance and prevented the Rays from generating any scoring chances. Adam Goodsir carried the puck from coast-to-coast and sniped a shot on Dryden McKay to score his second shorthanded goal on the season and his third goal in two nights. The teams would exchange chances evenly until the final minute of the period, when Krueger made another nice pass to set up Mike Bevilacqua, who managed to sneak a shot past Kapelmaster from a severe angle.

For the second straight night, the Wildcats had a major surge of momentum in the second period. The only difference was that Saturday night’s second period didn’t start with two quick IceRay goals like it did Friday night. The Cats dominated the second period, outshooting the Rays 21-11.

For the first dozen minutes, McKay and the IceRays managed to keep the Cats off the scoreboard. However, after Brendan Miller attempted to fight Noah Gilreath in the Wildcats’ goal-mouth, it was all downhill from there for Corpus Christi. Jonny Lazarus rifled a one-timer past McKay on an extended five-minute power play to tie the game up at two. Minutes later, Garrett Van Wyhe scored his eighth goal of the season off a rebound to give the Cats their first lead of the game.

Goodsir scored on an in-tight backhand shot after being set up in the blue paint by Austin Beaulieu, scoring his second goal of the game and his fourth in two nights. Shortly thereafter, Erich Jaeger found the puck on his stick after a fortunate bounce before firing away until he had shoveled the puck past McKay. The second straight four-goal surge in momentum further proved just how quickly the tide can turn in hockey.

The IceRays outshot the Cats in the third period in 13-8, but did not generate shots of a high enough quality to solve Kapelmaster. Lazarus would add a late goal after being dished a pass by Ryan Burnett, putting an exclamation point on a series and a night which went as well as anyone could have hoped.

Kapelmaster made 29 saves for his NAHL-leading 20th win of the season, while McKay made 32 stops for his 7th loss. The Wildcats travel to Amarillo to play the Bulls on Friday, January 15th.

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