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Game Preview: Jacks vs. Bulls (Nov. 22)

Tonight’s Matchup: On Sunday, the Odessa Jackalopes travel to the Amarillo Civic Center to face the Bulls for the first time since opening night on September 12. After losing 6-3 to open the season, the Jacks earned five of the possible six points during a three-game weekend versus the Bulls at Ector Coliseum on October 22-24. Odessa’s back-to-back wins versus the Bulls in October were the first back-to-back wins in team history (2011). Odessa is 0-18-2 versus the Amarillo in the regular season at Amarillo Civic Center since joining the NAHL in 2011.

About Last Game: The Odessa Jackalopes allowed three goals in the opening period and never were able to recover, falling to the Wichita Falls Wildcats, 8-3, Friday night at Kay Yeager Coliseum in Wichita Falls, Texas. Wichita Falls took a 1-0 lead in the first on a high-slot shot by Jonathan Lazarus that snuck under the right arm of Gunner Rivers at 3:22. After Odessa had taken back-to-back penalties, Wichita Falls proved why they have the second best power play in the League. Jeff Baum’s long distance shot beat a screened Rivers to give Wichita Falls a 2-0 lead at 7:08. The Cats capped off its three-goal period at 12:46 when Austin Beulieu scored on a short-side top-shelf toe drag. The Jacks struck first in the second frame when Derek Brown (4) tipped a shot from the point through Justin Kapelmaster’s five-hole. Wichita Falls countered with two more goals from Adam Goodsir and Nick Rosa to make it 5-1 and officially ended Gunner Rivers evening. Odessa salvaged the period at 17:16 when Gray Marr (4) poked home a puck that had snuck past Kapelmaster. After falling down 6-2 on an Erich Jaeger goal at 5:57 of the third, Odessa continued to stick around when Cooper Zech (2) buried a 2-on-1 feed from Derek Brown. Wichita Falls put the game out of reach when Goodsir scored his second on a high-slot rebound, and Nick Rosa finished of his sixth of the season to make it 8-3.

Downtown Brown: Jacks forward Derek Brown, 19, connected on his fourth goal of the year Friday night and his third in the last four games. Brown’s 15 points (4 goals, 11 assists) are now tied for second most on the team. In 17 games, Browns is a +8, with two shorthanded goals and one game-winning goal. In 2014-15, with Odessa, Brown was third on the team in points (48), third in goals (21) and third in assists (27) in 59 games.

All Day Gray: On Friday, Jacks forward Gray Marr, 20, scored his first goal since October 3 vs. Wichita Falls. Marr’s 15 points (4 goals, 11 assists) and 11 assists is tied for second on team. Marr played 2014-15 in Canada with the  Humboldt Broncos (SJHL) where he appeared in 52 games, totaling 42 points (10 goals, 32 assists).

Tuck’less: Jacks forward Brandon Tucker, 19, suffered a lower body injury in Friday’s game at Wichita Falls after attempting to block a shot. Tucker won’t be in the Jacks lineup as they take on Amarillo on Sunday. Tucker is tied for second on the team in points (4 goals, 11 assists) with a +1 rating.

Mean Dean: Odessa goaltender Dean Shatzer, 19, took a hard-luck loss on Tuesday and then came in for relief in Friday’s game after Wichita Falls had scored five goals on ‘tender Gunner Rivers. Although Shatzer allowed three goals himself, the Castle Rock, Colorado native made 20 saves in parts of the first, second and third period. Shatzer is 3-5-1 on the year with a 3.35 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage.

Hellebuyck Recalled: Former Jacks goaltender Connor Hellbuyck, 22, has been recalled by the National Hockey League’s Winnipeg Jets. In 10 appearances with the Manitoba Moose (AHL, Jets) this season, Hellebuyck has a .927 save percentage and a 2.41 goals-against average. In 2011-12, he appeared in 53 games, going 26-21-8 with a 2.49 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage before playing two seasons at the Umass-Lowell (NCAA D1). The Jets selected Hellebuyck in the fifth round of the 2012 NHL Draft.

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.