Wildcats Sweep Rays on Halloween
The Wildcats earned their third sweep of the season on Saturday night at the Kay Yeager Coliseum and their second sweep against the IceRays, as they took down Corpus Christi by a score of 3-0.
For the third consecutive game, the Cats scored early in the first period to open the scoring. Jonny Lazarus took the puck down the right wing side and fired a shot on IceRay goaltender Graham Hunt. Hunt made the stop but mishandled the rebound, which bounced onto Austin Albrecht who buried the second chance past Hunt to give the veteran his fifth goal of the season. He is now tied among all Wildcats with Ben Lown for the lead in total points at 15.
The Wildcats goaltender Julian Sime was solid in between the pipes for the second straight game. In the first period, he denied a shorthanded breakaway on Corpus Christi’s leading scorer Drake Lindsay, and robbed Adam Canepa on a tight scoring chance.
The second period yielded five penalties and gave the Wildcats two power play opportunities. Not surprisingly, the Cats were able to convert on the man-advantage again. Lazarus was set up by Nikita Litviak for a point-blank chance in front of the net, on which he managed to tuck the puck past Hunt to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead and further improve the power play percentage, which is now ranked 2nd in the NAHL.
The final 20 minutes would be the best period the IceRays played throughout the game, but it was not enough to conjure a comeback. After a few more big saves were made by Sime, Austin Beaulieu found the puck on his stick in the offensive zone. He had plenty of time to take a high-quality shot, but instead slid the puck to a wide open Aleksi Poikola, who fired it into a gaping net. The Finnish center put the game all but out of reach for the IceRays, who failed to even score a consolation goal at the end of the game.
Both goaltenders had successful showings, as Julian Sime stopped all 17 shots he faced en route to earning his first shutout as a Wildcat. Graham Hunt made 33 saves in the defeat. The Wildcats play again on November 6th against the struggling Amarillo Bulls at the Amarillo Civic Center.