Friday, 03.03.2017 / 9:53 pm CT
By Alex von Keudell
Hoping to prolong their winning streak to four games, the Wildcats became just the second team in over a month to defeat the Corpus Chrsiti IceRays, ousting them with a 4-3 come-from-behind victory in overtime.
Going to an early power play just 3:50 into the contest, the Wildcats let the IceRays’ leading scorer Brad Power slip past them to gain a shorthanded breakaway down the left side of the ice. Power deked from his right to his left, where he managed to tuck the puck inside the left post and past Jared Dempsey to open the scoring for Corpus Christi 4:55 into the game.
Two minutes later, the Cats responded. Domantas Cypas unleashed a shot from the right point which was turned aside by Camden Burggrabe’s blocker. The puck bounced right to Nick Rosa, and the Wildcats’ Co-Captain buried his fourth goal of the season to tie the game up for the Cats.
Cypas would level a massive hit on Corpus Christi’s David Baskerville near the IceRays blue line thirteen and a half minutes into the contest. Brendan Miller, taking exception to the hit, decided to drop the gloves with Cypas. Though Cypas got the better of Miller in the fight, the David & Goliath nature of the scrap would inspire the IceRays and would give them waves of momentum shortly thereafter.
Less than a minute following the donnybrook, the IceRays won a puck battle behind the Wildcats goal. Their top goal-scorer David Thomson found the puck on his stick in the mid-slot, where he managed to rifle a shot over Dempsey’s glove to regain the lead for Corpus Christi.
With just seconds remaining in the opening period, Garrett Hallford brought the puck down the right side and centered it for Mason Krueger. The IceRays Captain had only to reach out his stick and deflect the puck past Dempsey to give his team a 3-1 lead to close out period one.
After a scoreless and evenly played middle period, the Cats cranked up the heat in the closing twenty minutes. CJ Regula scored his second goal in as many games against Corpus Christi this season with a nifty move to cut into the high slot. He fired a shot inside the right post to beat Burggrabe glove-side and rejuvenate the Wildcats’ bench.
It appeared as though the Rays would be able to hold the Cats off for the rest of the game. However, after the Cats pulled Dempsey from the game for an extra attacker, Ryan Orgel powered down the right side of the ice. He squeezed past a hip check and shot the puck off Burggrabe’s right pad to create a rebound chance. Rosa, lurking there, would bury his second goal of the evening to tie the game with just 1:11 remaining in regulation time to force overtime.
Despite Corpus Christi controlling much of the sudden death, it was the Cats who would capitalize. CJ Walker picked up the puck at the left side of the IceRays’ net amidst a great deal of confusion. The Wildcats’ youngest player spun around and whipped the puck between the legs of an unsuspecting Burggrabe to give the Cats the 4-3 victory.
Dempsey earned his 13th victory of the season, stopping 33 of 36 Corpus Christi shots. Burggrabe went 29 of 33, and was handed his second overtime defeat of the campaign. The Wildcats will close out the series against the IceRays tomorrow night at the American Bank Center. Puck drops at 7:05 pm CT.