Tornado brawl with Ice Rays, but lose 2-1
In a game which featured a full 5-on-5 line brawl, the Texas Tornado scored just one goal for a second straight night. They fell to the Corpus Christi IceRays on Thursday, this time by a score of 2-1. Reid Mimmack made 17 of 19 saves, but was outshined by Ice Rays goalie Anthony Stolarz. Stolarz faced 40 shots in goal in the game and turned aside all but one en route to the victory.
The scrap took place at the 3:52 mark of the second period, when Stolarz made a save and all three Tornado forwards crashed hard to the net. Though it didn’t all happen at once, five different fights broke out after the whistle. When the dust finally settled, Corpus Christi was assessed an extra roughing minor, in addition to defenseman Chris Taff receiving a game misconduct for his second fight of the game. Texas was unable to capitalize on the power-play, however, and had to wait until the third period to score its only goal.
Meanwhile, Corpus Christi opened up the scoring just 1:26 seconds into the game. Eric Purcell intercepted a pass in the neutral zone, coasted into the attacking zone and put it past Mimmack for the opening goal on what was the first shot on goal for the IceRays. About 30 seconds later, Taff and Drew Allen dropped the gloves in the first of many of the game’s fights.
The game remained scoreless, though, through the rest of the first period and into the second, when the IceRays doubled their lead. This time, Brandon Smith earned the goal after receiving a pass at center ice by Dmitry Ermakov. Smith stickhandled into the zone, moved to the slot, and shot one past Mimmack to make it a 2-0 IceRays lead.
The aforementioned line brawl took place about 20 seconds after the goal, with Joe Mottiqua, Conner Burton, Skyler Spiller, Michael Hoy, and Nick Neville all receiving fighting majors. Mico Solorzano also dropped the gloves with Michael Dery later in the second, but the Tornado remained scoreless through the first 40 minutes.
It took until the 12:12 mark of the third period for the Tornado to get on the board, and it came on the power-play. Neville sent it to the right-wing circle for Justin Greenberg. Greenberg sent it towards goal, where it was deflected by Jack Prince and past Stolarz for the goal. Texas had a quick flurry of attack immediately following the goal, but a penalty to CJ Reuschlein stopped the flow of momentum. With 90 seconds left, the Tornado pulled Mimmack in favor of the extra attacker but couldn’t manage to get another one past Stolarz.
Tornado head coach Tony Curtale remains one win shy of the all-time United States Junior Hockey wins record. He’ll have his next chance to tie the record when the Tornado return to Dr Pepper Arena on Saturday night against Wichita Falls. Opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.