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Jackalopes Late Charge to Victory

Odessa, TX – The Odessa Jackalopes opened the week down two points to the Amarillo Bulls for 5th place in the south division. A rare, Tuesday night matchup could have Odessa tied with the Bulls following game’s end.

The Amarillo Bulls were in town to stop any thought Odessa had at catching up, and they started well. Just over two minutes into the first period, the league’s leading scorer, George Mika, netted his 23rd of the season for Amarillo. It didn’t stop there as Amarillo would go on to score one more on the 5-on-3 power play before the end of the period.

The Jackalopes were on the power play and after Peyton Frantti was pushed into the visiting goaltender, they would send Frantti to the box for two minutes for goalie interference. An unhappy bench would receive a two-minute bench minor, resulting in the man advantage before killing off the initial power play of Odessa.

Amarillo would come down the ice in the 2nd period and net one more. The thing about this one was Jonny Hogue moved right to left across the crease and accidentally knocked the net off as the puck fell in. Officials would initially rule it a goal, and after words were exchange, the referees would eject Jonny Hogue, giving Jon Flakne his second straight relief appearance. The officials would go on to reverse the call and take the goal back, leaving the game at 2-0 in Amarillo’s favor.

That was when Odessa would go on to find the fire. Just over 13 minutes into the second period, Joe Kinsella found a pass from Chris Donaldson, wound up, and released a bullet towards the net that beat Amarillo’s goaltender, Brandon Bussi, for the clean goal.

Two and a half minutes later, Cooper Zech was able to clear the puck out of the defensive zone, and a misplay by Amarillo’s defense allowed Chase Thudium and Bastien Maia to put on a display of passes, eventually leading to another Odessa goal and tie game.

Needing one more to take the lead, Odessa’s Donaldson would pass to Nick Wilson who was just trying to keep the play alive as he shot one towards the net. Connor Wood and Zach Heintz provided traffic in front as Wood was able to redirect the puck down and under the large goaltender, Bussi, for the one-goal lead.

The Jackalopes knew one goal wouldn’t be enough as Connor Stuart swung a pass to Rowan Savidant who threw one through traffic to beat Bussi on the glove side.

“I accidentally scored a goal,” explained Savidant.

It would only take 30 more seconds for Odessa to score their fifth goal of the night. Joe Kinsella took a shot that Bussi saved, but Ludwig Stenlund shoveled a pass back to Wilson who wristed a shot towards the net. Bussi made the save but didn’t realize the puck was out. Maia and Thudium would rush the puck behind Bussi, with Maia touching it home for the 5-2 lead.

Amarillo would net one more on a breakaway from Nestor Plarsmo, but it was too little, too late as Odessa would go one to win the game 5-3. With the victory, Odessa would tie Amarillo for the 5th spot in the south division heading into the weekend.

The Jackalopes will take on the Topeka Roadrunners this Friday and Saturday for Legends Weekend. Famous alumni from the past 20 years will make their way to Odessa to help the Jackalopes celebrate 20 years in the Permian Basin. Saturday will see an alumni game at 3 pm and a meet & greet at 5 pm. Jackalopes will play at 7:05 pm on both, Friday and Saturday, with a special dedication to Bob Hards on Saturday night.

Host families are an important part of the junior hockey experience. A host family will house the Jackalopes players, as well as be their home away from home. If you would like to be a host family, please email kleisgang@jackalopes.org or call 432-552-7825 for more information.

— ODESSA JACKALOPES —