Corpus Christi came out buzzing in the first period against the Texas Tornado and if not for the strong play of Hunter Leisner between the pipes the Icerays would have taken a lead into the first intermissions. Leisner stopped two Corpus Christi breakaways in the period including a two on none break by Perry D’Arrisso and Rudy Sulmonte. D’Arrisso skated in on Leisner then hit Sulmonte on the backdoor, but Leisner went post to post to slam the door shut and kick the puck into the near corner. The Icerays controlled the entire first 20 minutes of play outshooting the Tornado 14-7.
Head coach Tony Curtale must have had some choice words for the team in the locker room as they came out with some jump in the second period reversing the flow from the first and firing 21 shots at Ben Myers. Unfortunately for the Tornado Myers was up to the task and turned aside everything that was thrown his way.Texas kept up the pressure in the third period and finally broke through at 7:46 off an offensive zone draw to Myers’ left. Jackson Leef pulled the faceoff back to CJ Reuschlein who walked it to the high slot and fired a shot over the crossbar. Louie Rowe flipped the rebound back out front and Leef who was just off the left post slammed it into the back of the net.
Approaching the mid point of the period the Icerays were putting pressure on in the Tornado zone and a scrum for the puck in front of the Tornado net almost tied it up as Leisner was knocked off his skates by the heavy traffic. With Leisner seemingly down and out, Charles Baldwin reeled in the loose puck in the slot and fired a wrister at the open net. Leisner threw up the blocker and swatted the puck away to preserve the Tornado lead.
The Tornado had to weather two penalty kills in the last half of the period allowing Corpus Christi only a single shot on goal with each man advantage. Then with time winding down and the Icerays net empty for the extra attacker, Justin Greenberg broke up a pass in neutral ice along the far boards and hit Scott Conway at center. Conway went into the zone, deked Beau Walker and fired it into the empty net to seal the deal. Time of the goal was 19:57. The shutout was Leisner’s first of the season.
After having only seven shots in the first period the Tornado finished with 44 on the game while Corpus Christi had 29. Neither team converted a powerplay opportunity as the Tornado were 0-4 and the Icerays were 0-3.
Elsewhere in the NAHL South Division, the Amarillo Bulls took a tongue lashing from head coach Dennis Williams following last night’s loss to Topeka. “Our powerplay was terrible,” Williams said. “Our penalty kill was terrible. They are better at special teams, and right now we look like third-place hockey team. Up 3-1 and losing is unacceptable.” Tonight they rolled over the Roadrunners 7–2 in another game filled with rough stuff and 78 combined penalty minutes. In Wichita Falls the Wildcats cruised to a 9-3 victory over the Odessa Jackalopes in another rough and tumble affair that had three fights of its own.
The Texas Tornado have now won six in a row and 11 of their last 12. They will return home next weekend to face Odessa who was the last team to defeat the Tornado.