Lone Star Brahmas vs Corpus Christi Icerays Preview


 

Before we get into the preview of the Lone Star Brahmas and Corpus Christi Icerays series, I want to take a moment to stop and consider who these players are and the things that put the games we love in perspective. Over the past couple of seasons there have been two events close to the Brahmas which help to bring into focus the fragility of the lives of those who play their hearts out to entertain us on a regular basis.

 

First it was the passing of Claire Blasé, younger sister of Brahmas’ Defenseman Nick Blasé. Now it has been confirmed that Forward Peter Halash of the Topeka Road Runners was killed in a single car accident on Saturday January 4th. Halash was in his second season with the Road Runners, so will be quite familiar to the veteran members of the Brahmas. While Peter may have been a tough foe on the ice, off the ice he was a member of the hockey family that touched the lives of many people. The thoughts and prayers of the BlackoutDallas.com staff go out to the Halash family and the Topeka Road Runners organization.

 

I encourage everyone who reads this to make a point of thanking the players for their efforts on a regular basis. You never know if it may be the last time you have an opportunity to let them know how much you appreciate them.

 

The Lone Star Brahmas will welcome the Corpus Christi Icerays into the NyTex Sports Centre for the first time this season on Friday night. The opener of the weekend series will be the fifth meeting of season between these two teams with the previous four all being played in Corpus Christi. The American Bank Center ice has not been very friendly for the Brahmas. Lone Star has lost all four contests while being outscored 18 – 4. Hopefully some home cooking will help turn things around.

 

The Brahmas are coming off a six road games in eight days stretch of their NAHL schedule that culminated with a visit to Rio Grande Valley. Lone Star managed to pull a single point out of the two games losing both games 3 – 2 with Saturday night’s game going to a shootout. In game one, the Killer Bees held a three goal lead until the 10:54 mark of the third period when Michael Crowley (Anthony Mousseau) finally got the Brahmas on the board. RJ Salvato (Sebastian Vidmar) made things interesting with a goal at 18:47, but the comeback fell just short despite some late game sustained pressure from the Brahmas’ offense.

 

On Saturday it was the Brahmas who jumped out to a lead on goals from two Defensemen. The first came at 12:17 of the first on an unassisted goal by Alexey Solovyev. Nick Blasé (Austin Thielges, Liam Stirtzinger) followed up at 9:53 of the second for a two goal lead. Unfortunately the Brahmas could not hold onto the lead allowing a goal late in the second and at 5:09 of the third to send the game to overtime and a shootout. Jett Salinas pushed the Killer Bees to six rounds in the shootout, but Stirtzinger was the only shooter in a Lone Star sweater that scored. It was Salinas’ second start against Rio Grande with both games going to a shootout.

 

Corpus Christi was on the road last weekend as well playing two games in Amarillo. The Icerays were doubled up by the Bulls in game one being outscored 6 – 3. Corpus Christi got goals in the first and second from Malo Ville to go along with a third period goal from Nick Monfils. Forbes Ploszaj was in net for the Icerays and faced 37 shots on the night stopping 32. In game two Wes Michaud and Connor Kelly provided the Icerays two goals in a 6 – 2 loss. The game featured a total of 138 PIMs. Ben Myers was in goal on Saturday and turned aside 34 of the 40 shots he faced.

 

 

Last 5 Games

W

L

OTL

Pts

Brahmas

1

3

1

3

Icerays

2

3

0

4

 

Special Teams

 

The Brahmas special teams play has been abysmal against Corpus Christi this season. The power play is 0 – 19 while the penalty kill has allowed 9 goals on 21 opportunities to account for one half of all Icerays goals in the season series.

 

Lone Stars home power play is surprisingly one of their few relatively bright spots on special teams. They are currently 10th in the league converting at 16.0% on 12 goals in 75 opportunities. Corpus Christi will bring in a road penalty kill that is also ranked 10th in the league at 86.0% with 13 goals allowed in 93 kills.

 

Unfortunately, the Brahmas home penalty kill is ranked 21st managing to kill off 69 of 85 penalties or 81.2%. The unit will be facing an Icerays road power play that may give them a chance to improve on those numbers. Corpus Christi is currently setting at 22nd in the league scoring on just 8 of 93 opportunities for an 8.6% clip.

 

Goaltending Comparison Last 5 Games

 

GP

W

L

OTL

SO

GA

GAA

SV

SV%

Brahmas

5

1

3

1

0

16

3.20

156

.907

Icerays

5

2

3

0

1

15

3.00

154

.911

 

Who is Hot (Last 5 Games)

 

Brahmas

G

A

Pts

Michael Crowley

1

2

3

Nick Blasé

1

1

2

Conner Enciso

1

1

2

Matt Lison

1

1

2

Alexey Solovyev

1

1

2

Sebastian Vidmar

1

1

2

Icerays

 G

A

Pts

Malo Ville

2

1

3

Wes Michaud

2

0

2

Kyle Froese

1

1

2

Joe Chitwood

1

1

2

Tony Roisum

0

2

2

 

Inside the Game

 

The nine power play goals scored by Corpus Christi against the Brahmas accounts for 23.7% of the total allowed by the Lone Star penalty kill in spite of the fact that games against the Icerays have accounted for only 11.1% of the schedule.

 

Corpus Christi is holding down the fifth spot in the NAHL South Division standings seven points ahead of the Brahmas. Lone Star does have one game in hand over the Icerays.

 

Lone Star has played much better at home this season where they are 7 – 8 – 1 compared to a road record of 4 – 14 – 2. The Icerays are 6 – 12 – 3 on the road.

 

Corpus Christi leads the league in Major Penalties with 39. Lone Star leads the league in 10 Minute Misconducts with 15. The Icerays are averaging 24.19 penalty minutes per game and the Brahmas are averaging 23.17 for second and third in the league.

 

If either of the games goes beyond regulation, the Brahmas hold the upper hand. Lone Star is 1 – 1 in games decided in overtime and 4 – 2 if the game goes to a shootout. Corpus Christi has yet to win a contest beyond regulation. They are 0 – 2 in overtime and 0 – 4 in shootouts.

 

In goals scored per game the Icerays lead the Brahmas slightly at 2.27 to 2.11. In goals allowed per game they lead by a wider margin of 2.89 to 3.53.

 

Brahmas Defenseman Donovan Gardiner 4G – 2A is leading the league in Defenseman Shooting Percentage at 16.7%.

 

Defensemen lead both teams in PIMs. Caleb O’Brien leads Corpus Christi with 96 tied for 6th in the league and Nick Blasé leads the Brahmas with 90 good for 9th in the league.

 

Captain of the Brahmas, Matt Lison is tied for 9th in the league in goals scored with 14 and tied for 11th in the league with 5 power play goals.

 

Brahmas Goal Tenders TJ Black and Jett Salinas would both be ranked in the top 20 in goals against average if they had played enough minutes to qualify for the league leaders. Black’s 2.34 would be 16th and Salinas’ 2.45 would be 19th. Salinas’ .919 save percentage would be tied for 15th while Black’s .916 would be tied for 19th.

 

During Wednesday’s Brahma Talk Radio Show on 97.7 KATX Head Coach Dan Wildfong was asked how he was going to keep the team going now that we have entered January. “We still have a lot of our season left and if we make a good push here we can start climbing up the ladder,” said Wildfong. “We just want to get better every day and we want to make sure that programs understand when you come to play against the Lone Star Brahmas its going to be a tough game every night.”

 

Recent Roster Moves

 

The Brahmas picked up Forward Hunter Stanley a 6’ 3” – 190 pound 1996 birth year native of California. “He is a big kid and he skates well,” Wildfong said of Stanley. “We have been after him for a long time and we finally got him.” In 18 games this season for the California Titans of the NAPHL Stanley had 15G – 13A to lead the team in scoring and rank second in the league. Seven of Stanley’s goals came on the power play. Stanley was the NAPHL Offensive Franklin Peak Performer for the week of October 29, 2013. He also has played 7 games in the NAHL this season, 5 with the Minnesota Magicians and 2 with Corpus Christi.

 

The Icerays have made two moves so far this month. Forward Sami Pokka was released on January 2nd and Forward Nick Felan was deleted due to league transfer to Topeka of the NA3HL. Pokka had played in 12 games with Corpus Christi this season with 1G – 1A. He was scoreless in three games against the Brahmas. Felan had been in 27 games for the Icerays with 2G – 3A. He had 1A in three games against Lone Star.

 

Update: In addition to the roster moves made by Corpus Christi above, it has been announced that Forwards Maurin and Mikkel Hojbjerg have left the Icerays to return to Denmark where they will play professionally. In 37 games played, Maurin was leading the Icerays in scoring with 24 points (11G – 13A) and leading the team in goals scored. Mikkel had played in only 17 games registering 4 points (1G – 3A). Maurin had accounted for 6 points (2G – 4A) in four games against the Brahmas this season while Mikkel had been scoreless in 2 games.

Tags: Featured Lone Star Brahmas NAHL