The Wildcats scored on both their first and last shots as they picked up a 4-3 shootout victory over the Corpus Christi Ice Rays on Friday night. Eliot Grauer had a pair of goals for the 'Cats.
It took only 40 seconds and one shot for the Wildcats to gain an early advantage as Kyle Bauman continued his hot streak, going top shelf on Ice Rays netminder Jett Salinas for an early 1-0 lead. Midway through the period, it was Bauman's linemate's turn as Eliot Grauer scored a power play goal from Erik Ouellette and Ben Kucera to make it a 2-0 game.
Grauer added a second goal, coming shorthanded after picking off a Corpus Christi pass in neutral ice and racing in on Salinas, putting the puck by him for a 3-0 game late in the second period.
But then penalty trouble struck for the 'Cats: after a skirmish late in the period, The Ice Rays ended up with a lengthy power play, and scored on a 5-on-3 man advantage as Travis Maxwell's shot from the high slot ended Evan Cowley's shutout bid. As the power play continued over to the third period, Ian McGilvrey cut the deficit to a single goal, followed less than a minute later by defenseman Jalen Schulz capping the comeback with a sloater from the high slot that snuck its way past Cowley's glove for a 3-3 game.
The penalty trouble continued late as Colin Staub and Scott Douglas were each called for checks from behind, the former coming late in the third, the latter in overtime. The Wildcats had to kill off 44 seconds of a rare overtime 5-on-3, but came up strong when needed, keeping it a 3-3 game.
In the shootout, it took ten shooters to finally decide it as Joey Sundgren picked up the lone goal as the last shooter, sliding the puck past Salinas through the five-hole for a 4-3 victory.
NOTES: Cowley stopped three breakaways, a penalty shot in the first period, and all five shots in the shootout, a perfect 9 of 9 when faced with a shooter one-on-one... The Wildcats are 5-4-0 all-time in their home openers, with four of those five wins coming in overtime or a shootout. Each of the last three opening weekends has seen the Wildcats win a game in a shootout.