A back-and-fourth games between the Icerays and the struggling Hitmen had over 100 shots on goal combined, not many penalties and lots of great chances, but when the dust settled the Icerays came away with the teams first win of the year in another close hard fought game where the early jitters from yesterday's game against the Traverse City North Stars were gone.
And went full throttle starting in the middle of the first period as Sam Cheraso scored a SH Goal to lit the fire of the Icerays after getting shutout yesterday. The Icerays are starting to show the NAHL that they can be a strong force in the league's South Division.
The 2nd period was when things starting getting heated when the Icerays made it 2-0, but after that, the Hitmen used 2 late goals to take a 3-2 lead going into the third.
The third period had a slow start getting started because of the penalties, but two Icerays goal by Ben Hughes and Kevin Crowe got the Icerays going again and a 4-3 lead. The lead and momentum didn't last long when James Albrecht scored with 4 minutes left to tie the game at 4-4.
In a game where the Icerays would head to OT, both teams were looking for a hero when Jacob Diamond scored with just 12 seconds left to give the Icerays their first win in the North American Hockey League.
So far through 2 games, it's hard to tell what kind of team the Icerays are going to be, but we have seen they will not be allowed to be blown out like we saw yesterday when despite getting out-shot by huge margins against Traverse City, the team only lost 1-0.
Then it could have gotten out of control late in the 2nd but they fought back midway through the 3rd period that lead to the win. This team is going to opponents frustrations and make them fight for every inch this season regardless of what kind of team the Icerays have.
From Greg Rajan of the Corpus Christi Caller
Chicago Hitmen 4 Corpus Christi Icerays 5 (0-1, 3-1, 1-3)
From Blaine, Minnesota: The goals finally came for the Icerays. And after a few hair-raising moments, they skated off the with their first North American Hockey League Showcase Victory.
Corpus Christi rallied for three third period goals, including Jacob Diamond's winner with 12.3 seconds left, to edge the Chicago Hitmen 5-4 on Thursday Afternoon at Schwan Super Rink.
"Honestly, I don't think it's something to be taken too seriously," Diamond said of his team's first victory. "I think it's a start and shows everyone what we can do. I don't think we should take it out of proportion because it means that we have to come back and continue to build each game."
Diamonds goal was capped off a wild few minutes that saw the Icerays take the lead, lose it and then win it thanks to a nice step-up from line-mate Beau Walker.
With the clock ticking towards extra time, Walker - who finished with a goal and two assists - carried the puck wide on the left wing and sent a crossing path to Diamond charging down the opposite side. Diamonds quick redirection beat goalie Michael Coulter to break the deadlock.
"It was a great play on Beau Walker's part," coach Brent Hughes said. "He got the puck, drove it wide and brought a a lot of time for Diamond to go to the net, and Diamond finished off. That's exciting hockey right there."
The Icerays - who were shut out in 2 preseason games and again in Wednesday's Game against Traverse City - finally found the net, taking the 2-0 lead on goals from Sam Cheraso and Walker.
But Chicago responded with three second period goals, the latter two on the power play, and seemed to have the momentum.
But the Icerays got momentum from their penalty kill, which erased a two-minute, five-on-three Chicago Advantage after Hughes was given a bench minor for berating referee Stephen Thompson because of an 8-to-1 power play disparity in Chicago's favor.
"That was the game," Hughes said of the critical penalty kill.
Minutes later, Icerays defensemen Ben Hughes tied the score with a power-play goal from the left point at 13:25. Just 20 seconds later, Kevin Crowe beat Coulter from the left circle to give the Icerays the lead.
After managing just 17 shots on Wednesday, the Icerays peppered Coulter with 54 on Thursday, shooting from everywhere.
"We felt like as a team the past couple games, we were passing up way too many opportunities from the blue line," Ben Hughes said. "We've just got to bear down and get pucks through. Coach was really stressing that to the defensemen today."
Then the Icerays had to survive a hairy five minutes. Chicago's James Albrecht tied the score with 4:34 left and Diamond's final tally, Icerays goalie Marco Wieser had to make three saves in the final seconds.
"Getting a win is the most important thing," Brent Hughes said. "We have a ton of work to do with these guys. We're slowly getting better and it's going to take some time."
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