WICHITA FALLS, Texas – Colin Staub picked up his 100th career point, and the power play scored three times, as the Wichita Falls Wildcats held off a late charge from the Corpus Christi IceRays to claim a 5-4 win at the Kay Yeager Coliseum.
Staub had a goal and an assist, and Jake Townsend potted a pair of goals for his second two-goal game of the season. Austin Beaulieu also had a multi-point night, netting a goal and two assists, while Paul Soubry also found twine for the ‘Cats in the win.
Cam Knight chipped in with two assists, and Matt Koch, Nick Farmer, Tommy Apap, Nikita Litviak and Alex Falconer each notched a helper. Austin Shaw made 26 saves in net to earn his 16th win of the year.
The first period saw Wichita Falls race out to a two-goal edge on a pair of power-play tallies, before Corpus Christi netted a man-advantage goal of its own to cut the score to 2-1.
After an offensive-zone penalty by the IceRays just 1:28 into the contest, the ‘Cats went to work on their first power play, with Apap taking the puck in the corner. The first-year center played a pass towards the middle, where Beaulieu punched it home for his first goal in seven games to give the red-and-black a 1-0 lead.
Corpus Christi took a penalty on that goal-scoring sequence, sending the Wildcats right back to the power play, and the result the second time around was the same as the first. This time, Staub controlled the puck in the corner and back towards the net along the goal line, before spinning a feed towards the slot. The loose disc fell to Townsend, who slammed it home to give Wichita Falls a 2-0 edge at 3:45 of the first, and to give Staub his 100th career point on the assist.
The ‘Rays cut into the deficit at 14:08 of the frame, as Ryan Cusin buried a centering feed from Tanner Lomsnes to make it a 2-1 contest, which is how the score stood entering the intermission.
The Wildcats came out the stronger side to start the second stanza, outshooting the IceRays 13-3 in the early stages of the period, before they made that pressure pay with another power-play goal.
With Joe Chitwood in the box for Corpus Christi, Wichita Falls worked the puck around the top of the zone. Knight let a quick shot go from the blue line that was turned aside by Andrew Lindgren, but Staub was on hand to mop up the rebound to make it 3-1.
The IceRays responded just as they did in the first, using a power play marker of their own to carve into the ‘Cats lead. This time, it was Lomsnes getting the goal, as he tipped home a Wes Michaud one-timer to pull Corpus Christi within one at 12:38 of the frame.
Wichita Falls and the IceRays traded a pair of goals in the third period, with the red-and-black striking first.
Barely 90 seconds into the third, Townsend ripped a slap-shot from just inside the blue line that eluded Lindgren to make it 4-2 ‘Cats on his second goal of the night.
That tally was cancelled out soon after by Lomsnes picking up his second of the night, but once again the Wildcats would push their lead to two, with Soubry getting credit for the goal after the ‘Cats forced the puck past Lindgren out of a netmouth scramble to make it 5-3 at 9:53 of the third.
A marker from Maksim Dzhioshvili took the score to 5-4 just 40 seconds later, as he jammed home a rebound from a Joe Chitwood breakaway, but that was all Corpus Christi could muster, as Wichita Falls held on for the 5-4 triumph.
The Wildcats and IceRays will conclude their two-game set when they reconvene at the KYC on Friday on Noisemaker Night. The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a free Wildcats noisemaker. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m., with doors scheduled to open at 6 p.m. Fans that cannot make it to the arena may follow all the action on FASTHockey.com, with an audio-only broadcast available via YouTube.
Single-game tickets for the 2014-15 Wildcats season are on sale now at the Kay Yeager Coliseum box office. Stay updated on the latest team news and notes by connecting with the Wildcats on Facebook (WFWildcats), Twitter (@WFWildcats), Instagram (WFWildcats) and on YouTube (Wichita Falls Wildcats).
NOTE: Staub is the fifth skater in team history to reach 100 points for his career; he is the first to do so since Adam Cardwell (189 career points), Skylur Jameson (135 career points) and Luke Salazar (110 career points) reached the century mark in 2007-08.
Wichita Falls – Austin Beaulieu (power play) (Tommy Apap, Cam Knight) 2:21
Wichita Falls – Jake Townsend (power play) (Colin Staub, Austin Beaulieu) 3:45
Corpus Christi – Ryan Cusin (power play) (Tanner Lomsnes, Wes Michaud) 14:08
Wichita Falls – Colin Staub (power play) (Cam Knight, Austin Beaulieu) 7:37
Corpus Christi – Tanner Lomsnes (power play) (Wes Michaud, Anthony Cortese) 12:38
Wichita Falls – Jake Townsend (Nick Farmer, Alex Falconer) 1:26
Corpus Christi – Tanner Lomsnes (Pierre Crinon, Taylor Karel) 4:22
Wichita Falls – Paul Soubry (Matt Koch, Nikita Litviak) 9:53
Corpus Christi – Maksim Dzhioshvili, (Joe Chitwood) 10:37