Tornado downed 5-4 in back-and-forth affair
Though they jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, the Texas Tornado were defeated in a shootout by the Corpus Christi IceRays by a final score of 5-4 at AmericanBank Center on Friday. Skyler Spiller, Marc Biggs, and Alex Temby all had goals for Texas, while Jackson Leef scored for the third time in as many games. Hunter Leisner made 18 of 22 saves, but Anthony Stolarz saw 42 shots and got the win for Corpus Christi. The Tornado did pick up a point, however, and pulled even with Topeka for second place in the South division.
Texas picked up the early lead when, at 6:51 of the first period, Spiller picked up his third goal of the season. Temby raced into the zone and took the initial shot, which Anthony Stolarz was able to stop. However, the save produced a rebound and Spiller was right there to knock it home and give Texas a 1-0 lead.
Just over three minutes later, a power-play gave the Tornado a chance to double their lead. Biggs had control of the puck inside the IceRays zone, where he wound up and fired a huge slapshot from the high slot. The puck rang off the iron, but went bar-down for the goal at 9:54 of the first.
The power-play proved to be crucial for the IceRays, as well, as they earned a two-man advantage later in the first period and scored on both power-plays. First, it was Eric Purcell who unleashed a wrist shot from the right-wing circle past Leisner to cut the Tornado lead in half. Just 16 seconds later, Joe Smereck took a shot from nearly the same spot, and his power-play goal tied the score at two.
It remained a 2-2 game into the second period, but with just 2:10 gone by, the IceRays struck again. After a turnover in the Tornado defensive zone, Brandon Smith took control of the puck for Corpus Christi. His initial shot was stopped, but the rebound came behind the net for Jonathan Grebosky. Grebosky centered it to Smith, who beat an off-balance Leisner and gave the IceRays their first lead of the game.
Just over two minutes later, Temby answered with a goal of his own and tied the score at three. Drew Mayer had possession at the right wing but, under pressure, sent a pass out to the top. The puck dribbled out to the top of the right-wing circle, where the defenseman from Littleton, Colo. wound up and fired a slapshot past Stolarz to once again make it a tie game.
Under four minutes later, Corpus Christi regained the lead on Danny Fetzer’s eighth goal of the season. Purcell sent a pass from his own zone all the way down the right-wing boards and found Fetzer, who ripped a wrist shot past Leisner and gave the IceRays a 4-3 lead.
It remained 4-3 through the rest of the second period and most of the third before the Tornado earned a power-play and Leef tied the score once again. Almost immediately following a shot by Taylor Herndon that rang off the crossbar, Jordan Lovick won the puck at the side of the net and fed it out in front for Leef, who scored his sixth goal of the season and tied the score at four.
Neither team scored in the rest of regulation, while neither team got on the board in overtime either. Even the shootout needed an extra round, as only Biggs and Jonathan Grebosky scored for their respective teams in the first five. But when Justin Greenberg was stopped to start the sixth round, it opened the door for Beau Walker to deposit the shootout winner past Leisner and give the IceRays a 5-4 win.
The Tornado will be back in action on Saturday when they complete their two-game weekend series with Corpus Christi. Due to an event at AmericanBank Center opening faceoff has been pushed back from 7:05 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.