Jacks (11-18-4) vs. Bulls (8-25-3)
All-Time vs. AMA (Since 2011): 5-34-3
Postseason: 1-2-1 (W, at AMA)
2015-16 Record: (12 Games)
In Amarillo: 1-1-0
Overtime Games: 0-0-0
Shootout Games: 0-1-1
Tonight’s Matchup: The Odessa Jackalopes and Amarillo Bulls meet up for the sixth time this season and the third at the Amarillo Civic Center. Odessa is 3-1-1 this year against Amarillo and 1-1 at the Amarillo Civic Center. The Jacks look to snap a six-game losing streak as they face their long-time rival. Last time these two clubs met up, Odessa was on the winning end of a 2-1 contest on November 22. The win was just one of two wins for the Jacks in their last 16 games.
Last Time Out: The Odessa Jackalopes allowed an opening period goal in the first period and then traded haymakers in the second last Sunday night at the Kansas ExpoCentre in Topeka, KS against the RoadRunners. After Andrew Hart made in 1-0 in the first, Danny Kiraly snuck into the high slot and ripped home a power play tally. After Tyler Hayes had recaptured the Runners lead, Hampus Sjodahl made it two-for-two on the power play to tie it 2-2. Topeka responded again on a Quinn Preston breakaway before Cooper Zech Jammed home the tying goal under a minute left in the second. In the third Topeka put the game away with three unanswered goals. First Cam Strong, then Yu Hikosaka and capped off by Andrew Hart. The Jacks took the loss despite going 2-for-3 on the power play while getting outshot 39-27.
Hungry Hampus: Jacks forward Hampus Sjodahl, 20, has arguably been Odessa’s best player this season. The 6’2” 201 lb centerman netted a pair of goals against the Topeka RoadRunners last weekend and now has 17 on the year. Sjodahl is firsts on the Jacks in goals (17), points (17+17=34), plus-minus (+8), power play goals (6) and shorthanded goals (3). Through 33 games the Stockholm, Sweeden native is just two goals shy of his season total last year (55 games) and has already surpassed his 15 assists from last year.
Cooper Commits: Jacks defenseman Cooper Zech, 17, accepted a full-ride scholarship to Alaska-Fairbanks (NCAA, D1) on Tuesday night. The youngest player on Odessa has been one of its steadiest contributors. The South Lyon, Michigan native collected his fourth goal of the year Sunday against Topeka and now has 16 points, +1 rating and 65 PIM.
Kiraly Crushing: Despite taking a high hit at the waning seconds of last Friday night's game that left him dazed and confused, Jacks d-man Danny Kiraly surprisingly only missed one game and returned to the lineup Sunday, scoring on the power play. Kiraly, who is committed to Alaska-Fairbanks (NCAA, D1), has eaten top power play and penalty killing minutes for the Jacks and the defense in scoring (6).
Bummed Bulls: 2015-16 has been the toughest years for the Amarillo since the club joined the NAHL in 2010. The Bulls have lost five in a row including an 8-0 loss at the hands of the Wichita Falls Wildcats and have yet to reach double-digit wins through 36 games. The Bulls who won a franchise record 25 games last year are on pace to win just 15 games this year. The Bulls won the Robertson Cup in 2013 but have been on the decline since.
Anton Exits: Bulls goaltender Anton Martinsson has been one of the few bright spots for the Bulls this season posting a 2.90 goals-against average and .928 save percentage despite an 8-20-3 record in 32 games played. On Saturday, Martinsson was ejected from the game for abuse of an official. When he left the game at 15:43 it was 4-0 Wildcats, the final was 8-0.
Jackalopes Broadcast: Join the voice of the Jacks’ Nick Nollenberger live for every game on the Jacks’ flagship station Classic Rock 102.1 FM and fasthockey.com