Friday, 03.10.2017 / 10:08 pm CT
By Alex von Keudell / Photo: Tracey Koby
Scoring four consecutive goals between the first two periods, the Wildcats became the first team to defeat the Corpus Christi IceRays in regulation since January 27th with a 4-3 victory on Pack the House Night.
A much stronger first period was in order for the Cats, who skated at a faster pace and made far more creative plays than they had the previous night. However, it was the IceRays who found twine first.
An untimely turnover behind the Wildcats net by Evan Moyse at 6:36 caused the puck to bounce right into the blue paint, where Matt Novo scored his second goal of the season.
The Cats would respond by scoring four straight goals. Jonathan Waring continued his red-hot scoring streak against the IceRays. He unleashed a heavy wrist shot from the left point which was deflected by Matt Hanewall past Camden Burggrabe to level the score 1-1.
At 19:08, just four seconds after the IceRays killed off a Wildcats power play, Ryan Orgel blasted a one-timer from the top of the left circle inside the right post past Burggrabe’s glove to give the Cats their first lead of the evening heading into the second intermission.
Despite dropping yet another power play to start the middle period, the Cats persisted in the offensive zone and kept the IceRays pinned for long shifts. Set up by his new linemate Jeff Skinner, Nick Rosa backhanded a shot from the right circle past an unsuspecting Burggrabe to give the Cats their first insurance lead of the series.
At 33:43, Ilya Skvortsov made the score 4-1 off a shot from a nearly impossible angle. Aleksi Poikola fed him a rink-wide diagonal pass from the left point to the right corner, where the Russian sniper fired a heavy one-timer from the goal line off Burggrabe and into the net. Burggrabe would then be pulled from the game in favor of Tomáš Vomáčka. The change in goaltenders had its intended effect, as the IceRays picked up their play significantly for the remainder of the game.
Just four minutes after Skvortsov’s bullet, Brendan Miller motored down the right wing after a lackadaisical turnover at the blue line on a Wildcats power play. Miller drove hard to the net and lifted the puck over Moyse’s pad to cut the IceRays’ deficit to two.
The Rays went to a power play and nearly drew to within one late in the second period, but the Cats got some friendly bounces and held a 4-2 lead going into the second intermission.
Corpus Christi put the Cats on their heels for the second straight night in the third period. Less than four minutes into period three, Mason Krueger worked the puck over to Josh Tripp right between the circles. He put it onto his forehand and beat Moyse with a short-side shot. Despite the referee originally waiving off the goal due to a dislodging of the net, the call was overturned and the goal stood.
The Wildcats survived another third period surge by the IceRays and secured a 4-3 victory. Evan Moyse earned his 15th win of the season, stopping 31 of 34 IceRays shots. Burggrabe was charged with his 5th regulation defeat of the season, going 23/27 in net. The Wildcats will close out their final three-game home stand of the season on Saturday night. Puck drops at 7:05 pm CT.