Dec. 3, 2011
LAST SECOND TALLY LIFTS JACKS
Cornellier’s buzzer-beating marker delivers Jacks dramatic 2-1 win.
ODESSA, TX– After trailing 1-0 for the majority of regulation, the Odessa Jackalopes rallied back with a pair of goals in the last four minutes of the third period Saturday to lift themselves to a 2-1 victory over the Wichita Falls Wildcats at Ector County Coliseum. With the win, the Jacks improved to 9-12-4 on the season and with Corpus Christi’s Saturday loss, now sit alone in fourth place in the NAHL’s South Division standings with 21 points.
Fresh off a 4-3 shootout victory over Odessa on Friday, Wichita Falls took a 1-0 lead on the Jacks Saturday when Zach Pochiro poked a loose puck past Connor Hellebuyck at 16:23 of the first period for his fifth goal of the season. That slim advantage stood up for the majority of regulation as Odessa hung tough, killing off a pair of critical second and third period penalties to stay within a goal of the Wildcats.
Then, on an innocent-looking one-on-three rush at 16:04 of the period, Jackalopes winger Sheldon Taylor wired a wrist shot past the outstretched glove hand of Wildcat goalie Matt Leon to tie the game at one. The goal, assisted by Alex Ostrowski and Ryan Atkinson, was Taylor’s tenth of the season, tying him for the team lead in goals with Odessa captain Willie Faust.
As time wound down, the Jacks looked to be headed to overtime for the fourth time in the last five games, but after sustained offensive-zone pressure on a final-minute shift, Lawrence Cornellier wheeled to the top of the slot in his offensive zone and let fly a wrister that fooled Leon and found the back of the net with just five seconds remaining on the clock, lifting the Jacks to their first-ever win over Wichita Falls. Jalen Krogman and Faust picked up assists on the game-winning tally, Cornellier’s second of the season and second in two games.
Odessa’s final-second surge was made possible by another stellar effort in net by Hellebuyck who, one night removed from a 45-save performance, stopped 38 of the 39 Wildcats shots he faced, increased his record to 8-9-4 in 21 starts in 2011-12. Next up for the Jackalopes, it’s a weekend series with the Wenatchee Wild, December 9th and 10th at Ector County Coliseum. The Jacks split a pair of games against Wenatchee earlier this season in Washington State.
The Odessa Jackalopes celebrate their 15th Anniversary in 2011-12 and drop the puck on their inaugural campaign as a member of the North American Hockey League. Season tickets, mini-plans, and single game tickets are available by calling (432) 552-7825 or by visiting the Jacks online at www.jackalopes.org.
Be sure to follow the Jackalopes on Twitter @LetsGoJacks all season long and don’t forget to ‘Like’ the official “Odessa Jackalopes” fan page on Facebook.
— ODESSA JACKALOPES —