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Game Preview: Jacks vs. Cats (FEB 5)

Tonight’s Matchup: The Odessa Jackalopes and Wichita Falls Wildcats continue their three-game weekend series Friday night at Ector County Coliseum as the Jacks look for back-to-back wins against the Cats after a 3-2 victory Thursday night. Odessa’s first win against Wichita Falls Thursday moved the Jacks to 11-30-4 all-time against the Wildcats and 1-6-1 on the year.

Last Time Out: Jon Flakne stopped 31-of-33 shots faced and the Odessa Jackalopes (15-19-4) earned their first win against the Wichita Falls Wildcats (32-8-3), 3-2, Thursday night at Ector County Coliseum. After an opening period penalty to Gray Marr gave Wichita Falls early momentum, Trent Dillinger (1) poked home an even strength goal at 14:48 to give the Cats an opening period lead. The Jacks settled into the period and found the equalizer when Derek Brown (6) snuck a backhand shot past Justin Kapelmaster at 17:46. In the second, Odessa used back-to-back slashing penalties against Wichita Falls to seize the second period momentum and took its first lead when Cooper Zech feathered a back-door pass from the point to his brother Zach (13) who snipped it in the open cage on the far side just before the Cats penalty kill expired at 7:34. The Jacks extended their lead to 3-1 in the third when Dakoda Menslage sniped a shot from the point on the power play past Kapelmaster at 7:07. The final period was littered with penalties but Ben Lown (8) got the Cats within one at 17:14. After Kapelmaster left his net with a minute one minute, 11 seconds remaining the Jacks weathered the Wildcats final flurry and held on for the win. Kapelmaster (23-5-1) took the loss making 24 saves on 27 shots.

Brown Town: Jacks winger Derek Brown, 19, snapped his 21-game scoreless drought last Saturday and made it two-for-two scoring again Thursday. The Niagara (Hockey East, D1) committed forward has 33 points this season (6 goals, 27 assists) and a +4 rating in 38 games played.

Sparkling Special Teams: The Jacks PK unit has been perfect in their last 17 straight attempts, including going 11-for-11 against Lone Star last weekend and 5-for-5 last night versus Wichita Falls. Despite a current hot streak, the Jacks are 14th (82.4%) in the NAHL when down a man. On the power play, Odessa potted a pair of power play goals Thursday and now have nine goals on the man advantage in their last 10 games.

ZZ Top: Jacks forward Zach Zech, 19, netted his 13th goal of the season Thursday night and now has 2 goals, 3 assists in eight games against the Wildcats. Zech has been on fire as of late scoring 3 goals, 2 assists in his last five games.

Southern Twang: All six Southern Division teams are in action Friday. The Amarillo Bulls (9-27-4) welcome the Topeka RoadRunners (26-16-1) to town for a pair of games at the Amarillo Civic Center while Lone Star (25-9-7) battles the Corpus Christi IceRays (17-18-4) at NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills.

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