(Photo: Troy Young)
CORPUS CHRIST, Texas – Behind a strong all-around defensive performance and a solid showing in net by Austin Shaw, the Wichita Falls Wildcats (37-14-3) upended the Corpus Christi IceRays (29-21-5), 3-2, at the AmericanBank Center on Saturday night.
Colin Staub scored twice in the contest for Wichita Falls, while Kevin Charyszyn also found twine for the ‘Cats, with his goal standing as his fourth game-winning goal of the season. Jake Townsend chipped in with a pair of assists, and Austin Beaulieu, Cam Knight and Nick Farmer also posted helpers in the win. In net, Austin Shaw turned aside 19 shots to earn his 24th win of the year.
The first period proceeded scoreless for much of the frame, with both netminders making strong saves, until the Wildcats broke the deadlock on their first power-play chance of the night.
Right off the initial draw, the puck was pulled back to Knight at the point. He quickly played a pass to Townsend in the high slot, who faked a shot and sent a slap-pass to the back door for Staub. The forward’s initial redirect attempt hit the post, but he reacted quickest in a mess of bodies to tap home the rebound for his 23rd tally of the season.
The IceRays responded less than 30 seconds later to level the score. A clearing attempt by the ‘Cats didn’t make it all the way over the blue line, which allowed Logan Gestro to play a hard pass to Joe Chitwood at the goal line. Chitwood then spun in front and tucked it inside the far post to make it 1-1.
In the second, Wichita Falls wasted little time regaining the lead as Staub picked up his second of the night on the period’s first shift.
After a nice keep by Townsend at the right point held the zone, he fed a pass to Beaulieu in between the hashmarks. Beaulieu’s quick effort was saved, but the rebound fell to Staub to stuff home at 47 seconds of the second stanza.
The ‘Cats pushed their edge to two goals in the third period to give themselves some breathing room following a good rush down the left-wing wall by Farmer. At the goal line, he put the puck on net where Charyszyn was waiting to punch it home for his team-leading 24th of the campaign.
Corpus Christi charged back however, and made things interesting thanks to a Nathan Bryer tally at 10:03 of the third, but that was as close as the ‘Rays would come, as Wichita Falls held on for the 3-2 win.
The Wildcats are next in action when they continue their season-ending road trip next Thursday and Friday against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. That series will also see the two teams complete their previously suspended contest from Dec. 13. Fans who will not be in attendance may follow all the action on FASTHockey.com, or by tuning into an audio-only broadcast available via YouTube.
Stay updated on the latest team news and notes, including postseason ticketing information, by connecting with the Wildcats on Facebook (WFWildcats), Twitter (@WFWildcats), Instagram (WFWildcats) and on YouTube (Wichita Falls Wildcats).
Wichita Falls – Colin Staub (power play) (Jake Townsend, Cam Knight) 16:18
Corpus Christi – Joe Chitwood (Logan Gestro, Brad LeLievre) 16:45
Wichita Falls – Colin Staub (Jake Townsend, Austin Beaulieu) 0:47
Wichita Falls – Kevin Charyszyn (Nick Farmer) 4:32
Corpus Christi – Nathan Bryer (Joe Chitwood) 10:03