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Rayz close season, playoffs begin Friday night

March 24, 2007 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Corpus Christi IceRays News Release

The Corpus Christi Rayz capped off their 2006-2007 regular season Saturday Night falling 5-2 to the Laredo Bucks, but the real story of the night is what comes next for the Rayz. Corpus Christi will now wait to discover their first round opponent as the Rayz return to the American Bank Center on Friday Night to begin the 2007 CHL playoffs. The Rayz have locked up the three seed in the South and will host games one and two of the opening round of the playoffs presented by the Corpus Christi Caller-Times on Friday, March 30th at 7:05pm Saturday, March 31st at 8:05pm at the American Bank Center. New Mexico clinched the Southwest Division on Saturday Night and at the time of the Rayz finish, an Arizona win over Colorado would mean a first round meeting with the Sundogs. Should the Sundogs lose to Colorado, Sunday's Amarillo Gorillas game would dictate the Rayz first round opponent. Playoff tickets are on sale now and packages start at just $72. For more information, please call the Rayz at (361) 814-PUCK.

The story of the first period was former Laredo players who returned late this season sparking the Bucks. James Hiebert scored the game's first goal when he beat Brent Zelenewich upstairs from the slot at 4:02. The Rayz tied the game at one when Ryan Carter notched his 19th at 12:28. The Bucks then got a late goal to recapture the lead. Another late Bucks returnee, Steve Simoes scored at 19:55 to hand Laredo the lead after one period. The Bucks outshot the Rayz 13-12 in the first and took a one-goal lead into the second.

The Bucks increased their lead to two quickly when Jeff Bes beat Zelenewich upstairs from the top of the slot 59 seconds into the frame. The Rayz came back within one when Carter scored his second of the night on a shorthanded breakaway at 13:09. The goal matched his career high 20th goal of the season. The Bucks outshot the Rayz 9-7.

In the third period the Rayz debuted their newly acquired netminder, Kevin Couture. Couture played well turning aside 11 of 12 shots faced, but the Bucks put the game away in the third. Simoes scored his second of the night at 14:19 and Igor Pohanka added an empty net goal to cap the scoring at 19:42.

Zelenewich made 19 saves on 22 shots and fell to 13-10-3 on the year. Couture did not figure into the decision. Reiter earned the win, upping to 17-6-1 while making 22 saves on 24 shots. The Bucks outshot the Rayz 35-24. The Rayz went 0-6 on the power play and the Bucks went 0-4. Laredo finished with a 42-17-5 record for 89 points to top the South for the fourth straight year.

The Rayz will host games one and two of the opening round of the playoffs presented by the Corpus Christi Caller-Times on Friday and Saturday Night, March 30th and 31st at the American Bank Center. Playoff tickets are on sale now and packages start at just $72. For more information, please call the Rayz at (361) 814-PUCK. Corpus Christi is your town and the Rayz are Your Team! Join the Rayz as they head into the post-season.

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