TOPEKA, Kan. – The Corpus Christi IceRays picked up a 7-5 win against the Topeka Pilots Friday night inside Landon Arena at Kansas Expocentre. Nicholas Seitz (2+1) broke the game’s third tie with the game-winning goal midway through the third period.

The IceRays (25-24-1-0, 51 pts.) improved their lead over the Pilots (18-25-2-5, 43 pts.) for fourth place in the NAHL South Division. Blake Bennett registered four assists.

Santeri Hartikainen became the first IceRays player to hit the 20-goal mark this season, opening the scoring at the 6:11 mark with a glove-side shot off a feed from Seitz. The IceRays then made it 2-0 thanks to a power play tally from Kyle Moore at 8:32.

Topeka got on the board late in the first period when Michael Muschitiello sent a shot over Brian George’s blocker at 16:31. The Pilots then tied the game at 6:23 of the second period thanks to Hugh Quinn.

49 seconds later, Mitch Walinski regained the lead for the IceRays, but Quinn tied the game once again at 14:45.

During a 5-on-3 advantage, Seitz put Corpus Christi back on top, receiving the puck on a sneaky switch behind the cage with Jake Stella and tucking the puck past Topeka netminder Emil Gransoe on a wraparound. Stella then scored one of his own in the final minute of the second period to put the IceRays up 5-3 at the second intermission.

The Pilots tied the game early in the third period off goals from Cole Thiessen (0:24) and Austin McCarthy (PPG, 4:30).

Seitz picked up the game-winner on a stick-side rebound of Hartikainen’s shot at 9:58. Moore then added an empty net goal with 57.4 seconds left to cap the game’s scoring.

The IceRays outshot the Pilots by a 42-28 margin.
The IceRays close their Sunflower State trip with a 7:05 PM rematch against the Pilots Saturday night at Landon Arena.


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