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Sunday Wrap-Up: Killer Bees blank IceRays

March 23, 2014

In front of a capacity crowd, the Soo Eagles beat the Johnstown Tomahawks, 4-3 on Sunday afternoon.

Corpus Christi IceRays 0 @ Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees 3 - Connor Pelkey scored the eventual game winner in the first period and Nick Schmit stopped all 21 shots he faced as the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees shutout the Corpus Christi IceRays 3-0 on Sunday afternoon inside State Farm Arena. Just like they did last night, Rio Grande Valley got on the board first courtesy of a defenseman.  After several shots were denied by goaltender Forbes Ploszaj, the puck came out to the right point and Connor Pelkey let go a shot low and through a screen in front of the net.  The puck found a way through that screen and beat Ploszaj for a 1-0 lead at the 7:20 mark of the first period of play.  Assists were handed out to Aleksi Luhtalampi and Jared Dedenbach. Corpus Christi had relentless pressure in the second period at certain times but could not find the scoring touch.  Rio Grande Valley took advantage of a failed scoring opportunity to turn it into a goal of their own.  After several chances were denied by Nick Schmit, the Killer Bees brought the puck down ice creating a great chance.  Marcus Ericsson trailed the rush and picked up the puck in the high slot, walking it in to the hash marks letting go a hard wrist shot that beat Forbes Ploszaj top shelf for a 2-0 Rio Grande Valley advantage with Luhtalampi adding his second assist of the night and Anthony Croston with the other. Late in the final period of play, RJ Burns added to the lead with a wrist shot right in front of the net for a 3-0 lead with only 1:47 left in the game assisted by Ben Greiner and that was the final goal of the night as the Killer Bees shutout Corpus Christi 3-0 heading into the final weekend of play. Forbes Ploszaj stopped 31 of 34 shots he faced on the night. Boxscore

Soo Eagles 4 @ Johnstown Tomahawks 3 - The Johnstown Tomahawks treated a near sell-out crowd to an exciting back-and-forth regular season finale against the Soo Eagles, but failed to earn any points in what the 3,721 fans in attendance hope would not be the last NAHL hockey played in the Cambria County War Memorial this season. A scoreless first period was highlighted by Johnstown goaltender Brett Young, starting in place of regular starter Alex Okicki (who was injured on the game-winning final save of last night's shootout), turning away all 11 Soo shots in the first, while the Eagles' Nathan Klebe saved all 9 Johnstown shots. Three minutes into the second period, the Eagles took a 1-0 lead when forward Denver Pierce beat Young with a one-timer close to the crease and began a scoring run that saw the Eagles spring to a 3-0 lead in the span of three minutes. The second goal came 4:05 into the period, when Chase Matson capitalized on a one-timer much like the previous Soo goal. Michael Sabatini completed the scoring run at 5:39 when he took a pass from below the goal line and beat Young with a quick shot under his blocker, making the score 3-0. Tomahawks captian Brandon Reinholz responded quickly, stopping the bleeding at 7:54 as he crashed the net and found a pass from defenseman Shane Cuckovich that he corralled and put past Klebe for his 6th goal of the year, red to make the score 3-1. Defenseman Dakoda Menslage was also credited with an assist on the play. Eight minutes later, the Tomahawks cut the deficit again with a power play goal from forward Trevor Recktenwald, his 10th goal of the year. Parked in front of the net, Recktenwald slammed a series of shots into Klebe's pads, finally beating the Soo netminder on his third attempt. The goal was assisted by Menslage and Tyler Basham.The Tomahawks tied the game at 5:53 of the third, when Matt Meier sniped a rising wrist shot into the net from near the blue line for his 21st goal of the year, assisted by Mitch Hall and Casey Linkenheld. The Eagles, however, struck again with a late goal to chill the near-capacity crowd at 18:37, when defenseman Bradley Mueller scored off a slap shot from the point to take the lead. Soo withstood a final onslaught from the Johnstown offense with the extra attacker on in place of Young for the final minute of the game, holding on to win 4-3 and claiming their first win of the weekend's three-game series. Boxscore

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