Fists fly in 4-1 loss to Corpus Christi
The Texas Tornado were unable to complete a perfect three-game weekend on Sunday afternoon, falling 4-1 at the hands of the Corpus Christi IceRays. IceRays goaltender Anthony Stolarz stopped 33 of 34 shots for the win, while Tornado netminder Joakim Jutras saw 24 shots and made 20 saves. The Tornado fall to 24-10-6 on the season and stay two points ahead of Topeka for second in the South Division.
The IceRays opened up the scoring at 10:13 of the first period and took the first lead of the game. Beau Walker had the puck at the half-boards and found Joe Ginley waiting in the high slot. Ginley unleashed a wrist shot that went over the glove hand of Jutras and in for the goal and the 1-0 IceRays advantage.
Ginley’s goal was the only marker of the opening period, but Jordan Lovick remained hot with a goal of his own to tie the score at 4:39 of the second. With the Tornado on the power-play, Lovick started the breakout from behind his own net. He stickhandled through the neutral zone and gained the IceRays line, and when he decided a wrist shot was his best option, he took one from the right-wing circle and beat Stolarz for the unassisted power-play goal. It was Lovick’s 16th goal of the season, third of the weekend, and made it a 1-1 game.
But less than two minutes later, the already shorthanded Tornado took another penalty giving the IceRays a two-man advantage. Walker took a pass from Frank Misuraca and attempted a one-timer from the top of the circle. Walker nearly whiffed on the shot, but got just enough of his stick on it to direct it to Perry Darisso. Darisso was waiting at the near post and fired it into the open net to beat Jutras and give the IceRays a 2-1 lead, one which they would take into the second intermission.
Playing on possibly tired legs, Texas appeared to run out of gas in the third period, allowing two more unanswered IceRays goals. At 5:04, Michael Dery scored on a wraparound to give the IceRays a 3-1 lead. Just over two minutes later, Joe Smereck redirected a pass from Zachary Lindsay past Jutras and in for the final goal of the game.
But the excitement was far from over, however. The Tornado felt that Smereck had taunted their bench following his goal. Immediately following the center-ice faceoff, a melee ensued that resulted in a full-scale, 5-on-5 line brawl. After Skyler Spiller pulled down Darisso, he was swarmed by white sweaters, which led to all 10 skaters fighting at center ice. When all was said and done, Ladislav Hruska and Phil Pietroniro were handed game ejections for the IceRays, while Spiller and Mico Solorzano were shown the door for the Tornado.
The Tornado’s next games are this upcoming Friday and Saturday when the team travels to the Kansas Expocentre for the first time this season for a pair of weekend games against the Topeka Roadrunners.