Behind three goals from the blue line, the Wichita Falls Wildcats bounced back to claim a 3-1 win over the Corpus Christi IceRays at the AmericanBank Center on Friday night.
Jeff Baum and Shane Kuzmeski both scored the first goal of their careers in the contest, while Cam Knight tallied his fourth of the year in the win. Evan Okeley, Matt Koch and Kevin Charyszyn each registered an assist to keep their respective point-streaks alive, and Austin Beaulieu, Max Reisinger and Johnathan Lazarus all notched helpers as well. Austin Shaw made 24 saves on 25 shots to earn his seventh win of the year.
Wichita Falls controlled the first period, outshooting the IceRays 16-6 in the frame, and created a couple of high-quality scoring chances to take the lead.
First, Beaulieu protected the puck in the offensive zone, walked towards the net and forced Andrew Lindgren to overcommit to him. He then fed a pass through the middle for an easy tap-in into an open net, but Nick Farmer couldn't pull his stick free to direct the disc home.
Then it was Austin Albrecht's turn to have a good look fall by the wayside, as a slapshot from the circle was turned aside by a great left-pad save by Lindgren.
In the second, the ‘Cats continued where they left off in the first, but this time they made the pressure pay as a pair of defensemen picked up their first-career goals.
With a little less than five minutes played in the stanza, Reisinger chipped a puck into the slot for Okeley, who tried to toe-drag and release a shot, but had it poke checked away. Baum followed the play perfectly, stepped onto the loose puck from the right point and wired it past Lindgren to make it 1-0.
Just over a minute later, the lead was doubled off a good forecheck by the Wildcats after Lazarus and Charyszyn combined to keep the puck in the zone down low. Charyszyn held onto the puck to let play develop, then rifled a pass through the slot to Kuzmeski sprinting down from the blue line to stash home.
Corpus Christi responded well and halved the deficit with just over two minutes remaining in the second, as Nathan Bryer beat Shaw from the slot to make it 2-1 at the 17:50 mark.
At the outset of the third, the IceRays continued to pile up chances, forcing Shaw to make a pair of remarkable saves in quick succession with the leg pad and glove, respectively.
Wichita Falls repelled the Corpus Christi attack however, and tacked on an insurance tally on the man-advantage. Out of a mad netmouth scramble, Knight somehow managed to work his stick free and poke the puck over the line to make it 3-1, which is how the game would end.
The Wildcats are next in action on Friday, Nov. 7 when they return to the Kay Yeager Coliseum to host the Amarillo Bulls on Military Weekend. The Wildcats will unveil their 2014-15 limited-edition Military Appreciation jerseys on Nov. 7, before taking on the Bulls on Saturday, Nov. 8 on The Ford House Military Appreciation Night.
Wichita Falls - Jeff Baum (Evan Okeley, Max Reisinger) 4:57
Wichita Falls - Shane Kuzmeski (Kevin Charyszyn, Jonathan Lazarus) 5:59
Corpus Christi - Nathan Bryer (Nate Colwell, Nic Laburn) 17:50