Tonight’s Matchup: The Odessa Jackalopes look to avoid back-to-back sweeps while also avenging their worst loss of the season suffered Friday night as they take on the Topeka RoadRunners in the game two of the weekend series Saturday night at Ector County Coliseum. Before last night the Jacks swept the Runners back on October 9th and 10th and are now 2-1-0 against Topeka this year. Since the Jacks joined the NAHL in 2011, Odessa is 5-22-2 all-time against the RoadRunners.
Last Time Out: The Odessa Jackalopes allowed four goals in the opening period to the Topeka RoadRunners and couldn’t muster a comeback Friday night at Ector County Coliseum, falling 7-2. The Topeka RoadRunners came into Friday’s game 12-1-0 when scoring first. John O’Connor (3) scored the first goal of the game on a seeing-eye slap shot from the point 6:56. Yu Hikosaka (8) then broke through on the power play with bodies in front of Gunner Rivers at 12:29. Less than a minute later, Ryan O’Connor (5) ended Rivers night with another long-distance shot with players impeding Rivers' view. After Matthew Rypien was charged with a five-minute game misconduct for elbowing, Topeka capped off its four-goal period at 19:37 on the power play. Odessa burned off the remaining 3:57 on the Rypien’s elbowing penalty in the second, and Hampus Sjodahl (12) got the Jacks on the board when he jammed-home a loose puck pinned against the far post at 17:37 to make it 4-1. In the final period, Topeka put the game out of reach when Marcus Russel (10) made it 5-1 at 5:35. Cooper Zech buried his third of the year at 7:45 on the penalty kill, but back-to-back Topeka power play tallies gave the Jacks their worst loss of the year, 7-2. Rivers suffered his fourth defeat in a row in less than a period of work making 11 saves on 14 shots. Dean Shatzer made 19 saves on 24 shots in two and half periods of relief. On the other end, Juho Niku earned the win (4-1-0) making 19 saves on 21 shots.
Red-Hot Runners: The Topeka RoadRunners 7-2 win over Odessa Friday night was the teams eighth straight. The steak ties Wichita Falls for the longest current winning streak in the NAHL. Before winning eight in a row, Topeka was hovering around .500, but the RoadRunners are now seven games above the even mark and in second place in the South Division.
Sjodahl Time: Jacks forward Hampus Sjodahl, 20, jammed home his team leading 12th goal of the season on Friday night. The Swedish sniper leads Jacks in points (12 goals, 11 assists) and plus-minus, +12. In his last 10 games, Sjodahl has 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists).
SuperDuper Cooper: Jacks defenseman Cooper Zeck, 16, buried is third goal of the season Friday on a shorthanded 2-on-1. Zech is now second on the team in goals among defenseman only behind Danny Kiraly and he is first in points with 12 (3 goals, 9 goals). Zech’s +6 is also the best rating among Jacks d-men.
OverPower Play: The Topeka RoadRunners had nine power plays on Friday night and scored on four of them. Their 27 power play goals this season is tied for third in the NAHL. On the other end, the Jacks broke through on one of their four man advantages and also scored its sixth shorthanded goal. The Jacks six shorthanded goals are the second most in the NAHL and the most home shorthanded-goals in the league.
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.