Saturday, 12.03.2016 / 9:58 pm CT
By Alex von Keudell
In their season’s first road trip to Corpus Christi, the Wildcats sailed past the IceRays in the third period Saturday night to skate to a 4-2 triumph.
Having been defeated the last three last three times they visited Corpus Christi, the Wildcats sought to turn around their fortunes at the Gulf and take two points out of the game. However, it was Corpus Christi which had the better start to the game.
The IceRays struck first 6:52 into the game in the very last second of a power play with Nick Rosa serving a two minute minor penalty for tripping. Griffin Loughlan, who was playing in his debut as an IceRay, slid the puck backdoor for an open David Thompson, who slammed home his team-leading 11th goal of the season.
Nearly ten minutes later, Jonathan Waring scored his third goal of the season and his third goal against Corpus Christi after firing a heavy wrist shot from the top of the right circle. The shot zipped through the traffic and found twine to tie the game 1-1.
Just 25 seconds later, Ethan Daniels sprung CJ Regula on a 2-on-1 with Nick Rosa. Rosa was covered, so Regula decided to unleash a shot from the right wing and was rewarded with his fifth goal of the season to give the Cats their first lead of the game heading into the first intermission.
Corpus Christi was rejuvenated to start the middle frame and skated to multiple odd-man rush opportunities. They were finally able to convert at 7:17 in the second period after Brad Power drove the puck down the left wing and slipped it behind Dempsey, through the blue paint, and onto Cole Gammer’s stick. Gammer tapped home the game-tying-goal to level the score at 2-2.
Despite generating a promising attack on three power plays in the middle 20 minutes, the Cats failed to convert as Tomáš Vomáčka held his ground. The Czech goaltender pitched a 10-save second period shutout.
The Wildcats had a clear edge in play in the third period. A relentless forecheck led by Jeff Skinner pried the puck loose five minutes into the final frame. It skittered through the crease where Ilya Skvortsov was ready to chop home his 8th goal of the season to regain the Wildcats’ lead.
Ten minutes later, the Cats finally converted on the man-advantage. Power plays were few and far between throughout a game which could have seen lots more called. Each side only had four opportunities with the extra man, and the Cats came through on their fourth.
Out of a goal-mouth scramble with Vomáčka down, Jonathan Bendorf lifted a shot over the Czech goaltender and scored his team-leading fourth power play goal of the season, adding an important insurance marker three quarters of the way through the third.
Wichita Falls coasted to its fifth straight win. Dempsey stopped 34 of 36 shots to win his 8th game of the season, improving to an impressive 8-1-0 on the campaign. Vomáčka denied 33 of 37 and was charged with his 9th regulation loss as an IceRay. These two teams will close out the series on Sunday afternoon on December 4th at the American Bank Center. Puck drop is set for 3:05 pm CT.