Prince's hat trick leads Tornado to 6-2 rout of IceRays
Neither the Texas Tornado nor Corpus Christi IceRays had played in the last 11 days, but Texas captain Jack Prince made up for lost time with a hat trick in the team’s first game back from the holiday break, a 6-2 Tornado victory on Wednesday night. Jordan Greenberg chipped in with a goal and three assists, while Joakim Jutras made 18 of 20 stops and improved his record to 13-2-3 on the season.
It was a low-scoring first period, one that was scoreless through the first 19 minutes of play. Corpus Christi was unable to convert on its lone power-play in the first, but with time dwindling down in the opening frame, the Tornado picked up a goal with the man-advantage. Danny Fetzer was whistled for slashing after breaking up a Tornado 2-on-1, and the Tornado wasted no time taking the lead. 30 seconds into the power-play, Jordan Lovick came into the zone and found Jordan Greenberg in the high slot. Greenberg’s initial shot was stopped by IceRays goalie Anthony Stolarz, but the rebound kicked out to the left-wing for Jack Prince. Prince was crashing the net hard and put home the rebound for the opening goal of the game with just 35 seconds left in the first period.
The Tornado picked up right where they left off as the two teams took the ice for the second period, with Texas scoring just 48 seconds after play restarted. Jordan Greenberg had the puck behind the net and looked for a centering pass. His pass was blocked out in front but it deflected back towards Stolarz, who was unable to make the save before it trickled over the goal line to give the Tornado a 2-0 lead.
With the score still 2-0, Greenberg picked up his third point of the night on another Tornado goal coming late in the period, this one with just 25 seconds remaining in the second. After Lovick was robbed at the doorstep by Stolarz, the elder Greenberg brother had the puck behind the net once more. He connected with Lovick, who was waiting at the doorstep, and Lovick powered it past the reach of Stolarz to extend the Tornado lead to 3-0 as the second period came to a close.
Texas, who outshot Corpus Christi 46-20 in the game, continued their dominance in the third period as Prince picked up his second goal of the game with yet another power-play goal. Alex Temby, acquired in a trade with Fairbanks and playing in his first game as a member of the Tornado, earned the primary assist and his first Tornado point on Prince’s second goal, which gave the Tornado a 4-0 lead. Just two minutes later, however, the IceRays found themselves with the man advantage and tallied their first goal of the game. Eric Purcell received a pass from AJ Jarosz and took it coast-to-coast through all four Tornado penalty killers to cut the Texas lead to 4-1.
Less than two minutes after Purcell’s goal, Conner Burton netted his fourth goal of the season to make it a four-goal game once again. The Tornado broke into the IceRays zone on a 3-on-1 rush as Mico Solorzano dropped a pass to Burton in the high slot. Burton unleashed a wrist shot that beat Stolarz high-glove side to make it a 5-1 game. But 31 seconds later, Michael Dery got an extremely similar shot past Jutras—another wrist shot on the high-glove side—and it was once again a three-goal game.
With the game in its final minute and already in hand, all that was left was for Prince to complete his hat trick, which he did on a sharp-angle shot at the 19:02 mark of the third. It looked as if the Tornado captain would simply take the puck behind the net. Instead, though, Prince swooped behind the goal line and banked it in off of Stolarz for his third goal of the game and gave the Tornado a 6-2 victory.
The Tornado return to action on Friday in the first of two weekend games against the Odessa Jackalopes. Both that game and Saturday’s game are scheduled for 7:00 p.m. starts.
THREE STARS OF THE GAME
3. Mychal Monteith
2. Jordan Greenberg
1. Jack Prince