"Slap Shot" meets "A Season on the Brink" in this twisted tale of minor league hockey in the place with more pro teams than any place in North America: TEXAS!

Bat Droppings 12/20/02

By Jason Cohen

CORPUS CHRISTI


Go to net. Go to net. It's a mantra for any hockey player.

Thursday at Memorial Coliseum, it was the only tactic the Ice Bats needed. Austin's "STP" line of Brett Seguin, Gerald Tallaire and Dan Price combined for four goals as the Bats beat Corpus Christi 5-2.

"We played a good defensive game and waited for our opportunites," Ice Bats coach Brent Hughes said. "They eventually came. It's hard work going to net -- you take a lot of abuse, but I told the guys if they do it they'll score a lot of goals."

At home for the first time in three weeks after an eight-game, one-win road trip, the Ice Rays saw a frantic first period end with no goals by either team. Veteran Kurt Wickenheiser had the best opportunity, racing up right wing with open ice before Ice Bat Daniel Tetrault took him out with a hook across the chest. Austin's penalty killers held the Rays without a shot the whole two minutes.

The Bats took a 1-0 lead early in the middle period, with CHL points leader Seguin converting an across-the-slot set-up by Price 46 seconds in. But when Seguin went off for high-sticking later in the period, Ryan Prentice tied the game, deflecting Alex Kholomeyev's point shot around Dan McIntyre at 6:52.

Corpus Christi's forecheck controlled the action for much of the next 90 seconds, but when play broke back the other way the Bats seemed to be moving in slow motion, and the Ice Rays not at all. Seguin set up at the blue line, waited to get on sides with Price and Tallaire, then feathered a pass into the slot as Price drifted down the middle for the finish. Price's 17th goal of the season made it 2-1 at 8:32.

"Maybe [Corpus Christi] thought I was offsides," Seguin says. "I saw Price going to net so I just flipped the puck in his direction."

Tallaire and Wickenheiser traded power-play goals in the third period to make it 3-2. Tallaire struck again at 13:36, crashing the crease after Ray goalie Brad Erbsland failed to glove Seguin's shot from the circle, while Ian Larocque put a flashy backhand past Erbsland on a two-on-none at 14:19.

Austin (19-6-1, 39 points) remains the top team in the Central Hockey League.


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