Friday, 9.16.2016 / 9:48 pm CT
By Alex von Keudell
The Wildcats put on an offensive clinic on Friday night, blowing out the IceRays 6-1 and earning their first win of the season in convincing fashion.
The first period of Friday night’s game was, without question, the best period the Wildcats have played this season. After two consecutive games of falling behind early, the coaching staff clearly addressed how important it was that the Cats got off to a better start. Just four minutes into the game, Ilya Skvortsov swatted the puck into the net out of a goal-mouth scramble for his first goal as a Wildcat. Later on an IceRays power play, Ryan Burnett found himself behind everyone on a shorthanded breakaway. He beat Tomáš Vomáčka high on the glove side to double the Cats’ lead.
Ricky Carballo also notched his second goal in as many games after he was given a picturesque cross-ice pass by Skvortsov. The Russian Wildcat had to IceRays in his face in the neutral zone, and split both of them with a pass over the blue line for a wide open Carballo, who beat Vomáčka over the shoulder.
Shortly after killing another penalty, Aleksi Poikola gave a pass to Burnett in the midst of a Rays’ line change, very similar to the pass Skvortsov gave Carballo, for another breakaway on the right side. Vomáčka was unable to bail his teammates out as the Cats jumped out to a 4-0 lead.
The second period brought more of the same dominance by the Wildcats, though Corpus’ defensemen and their goaltender picked up their play significantly. They held the Cats to just one goal in the middle frame, which came off a deflection by Poikola. Defenseman Jonathan Waring let rip a snap shot from the high slot which Poikola tipped past Vomáčka to extend the Cats’ lead to five. Three straight power play opportunities afterwards were quelled by the IceRays.
At the start of the third period, it was simply a matter of putting the final nail in the IceRays’ coffin. While Corpus Christi showed signs of life, they could not work their way back into the game. Evan Moyse stood his ground, quietly having a strong night in net for the Cats. Isaac Kobienia was fed a pass in-stride by the Wildcats’ newest addition, Daniel Goodwin. Kobienia capped off the play with his first goal as a Wildcat to open a 6-0 lead. Andy McGlynn ripped a shot past Moyse at the 12:08 mark to end the goaltender’s shutout bid and give the IceRays some life. However, the Cats buckled things down and locked up their first victory of the season.
Moyse earned his first win as a Wildcat, stopping 20 of 21 shots. Vomáčka was handed his first defeat, denying 25 of 31 Wichita Falls shots. The Cats will close out their three-game home stand against the IceRays on Saturday night at 7:05 pm at Kay Yeager Coliseum.
Photo: Cody Wooten