Thursday, 03.09.2017 / 10:31 pm CT
By Alex von Keudell / Photo: Tracey Koby
Opening their final three-game home stand of the regular season, the Wildcats fought off the Corpus Christi IceRays and snagged a 3-2 shootout victory.
A much better start was in order for the Cats, who had not led the IceRays for any duration of time last weekend in Corpus Christi.
Four minutes into the game, Kevin Fees (6’2” 210) dropped the gloves to fight Tucker White (6’3” 215). It was an evenly fought battle between a pair of heavyweights known for their strength.
Three minutes later, the Cats fed off the momentum gained from Fees’ scrap. Jonathan Waring ripped a shot from the right point which ricocheted off a body in front of Tomáš Vomáčka and deflected through his five-hole. Seven minutes into the contest, the Wildcats gained their first regulation lead against the IceRays since December.
Corpus Christi responded after Brad Power slung an off-speed shot from the high slot which snuck through Evan Moyse’s pads and tied the game up midway through the opening period. Just a few shifts later, Ilya Skvortsov spun an acrobatic pass to Ricky Carballo, who bounced it into the net with his skate. The referee ruled there was no distinct kicking motion, so the goal stood.
Both teams failed to score during the second period, as the IceRays dropped chance after chance. Power struck the outside of the post, Matt Novo was caught from behind on two breakaways, and an early whistle blown by the referee washed out one of Corpus Christi’s goals. Moyse made a number of critical, timely saves. The Cats were fortunate to enter the third period with a 2-1 lead.
After a dominant closing period by the visitors, the IceRays finally managed to tie the game. Brendan Miller found himself in a footrace for possession in the Wildcats zone at the end of a Cats power play. Forced to make a quick decision, Moyse raced out to try to jab it away from Miller’s reach. However, the IceRays forward won the race and just slid the puck into a gaping net behind Moyse to tie the game.
Despite a late IceRays onslaught, the Cats survived and forced overtime. From there, they managed to generate numerous opportunities to win the game, but Vomáčka stood tall. He and Moyse then went head-to-head in the shootout, and the Wildcats’ net-minder prevailed. At the bottom of the fifth round, Wildcats forward Jeff Skinner displayed soft hands as he fooled Vomáčka and roofed a backhand shot over his pad for the game-winning shootout goal.
Evan Moyse remains perfect in the shootout this season, as he went 5-for-5 in Shreveport and against Corpus Christi. He earned his 14th victory of the season, stopping 41 of 43 IceRays shots. Vomáčka stopped 31 of 34 as he was charged with his third shootout defeat of the season. The Wildcats will host the IceRays on Friday, March 10th on Pack the House Night at Kay Yeager Coliseum. All tickets are $2. To purchase them, contact the KYC Box Office at (940) 716-5555. Puck drops at 7:05 pm CT.