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.