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Preview: Jacks vs. Runners (JAN 16)

Jackalopes (11-16-4) vs. RoadRunners (22-14-1)

Saturday, January 16, 2016 — 7:05 p.m.

Kansas ExpoCentre

Tonight’s Matchup: The Odessa Jackalopes and Topeka RoadRunners continue their three-game series Saturday night at Kansas ExpoCentre. The Jacks look for some redemption after a hard-fought loss on Friday. Odessa is 2-3-0 against the Runners this year after winning the first two games in early October. After Saturday, the two clubs will play each other four more times.

Last Time Out: The Odessa Jackalopes scored twice in the first, but the Topeka RoadRunners used a three-goal second and netted the lone goal in the third to beat the Jacks, 4-3, Friday night at Kansas ExpoCentre in Topeka, Kansas. Just 1:27 into the first, Hampus Sjodahl (16) got the Jacks on the board when he blazed past the Topeka defense and snuck a break away through the five-hole of Tyler Johnson. After Pierce Pluemer was called for tripping, Odessa caught the Runners napping on the power play when Sjodahl fed a two-on-one pass to Gray Marr (8) who ripped it past Johnson at 8:05. In the second, the RoadRunners took advantage of an early power play when Dominic Lutz (18) banged home a perfect backdoor feed from Sami Tavernier. Topeka then tied the game on a Marcus Russell snipe at 3:21 and took the lead when Lutz (19) netted his second at 4:55. With less than a minute left in the third, Eric Carreras fired a seeing-eye wrister under the left pad of Johnson at 19:41 to tie it at 3-3 after two. In the third, the RoadRunners’ Cam Strong (9) tipped a shot from the point past and Shatzer and despite a late flurry by Odessa the RoadRunners only needed the one third period goal to earn a 4-3 win. Dean Shatzer (4-9-3) was strong in the loss; making 23 saves on 27 shots. On the others end, Tyler Johnson (14-8-2) broke a three-game losing streak by making 34 saves on 37 saves.

Rising Stock’holm: Jacks center Hampus Sjodahl continues to pace Odessa offensively, the Swedish sniper netted his team-leading 16th goal less than a minute into Friday’s game and he then tacked on an assist with a great feed to Gray Marr on a two-on-one. The Stockholm, Sweden native leads the Jacks in goals (16), points (32), plus-minus (+11), power-play goals (5) and shorthanded goals (3).

Great Gray: First year Jacks forward Gray Marr has found instant chemistry this season on the top line with veteran center Hampus Sjodahl. Marr and Sjodahl teamed up for both opening frame goals on Friday and now have been a part of 15 of each others combined 24 goals. Marr is third on the Jacks in points with 23 (8 goals, 15 assists). The Twin Butte, AB, CAN native has 10 of his 15 assist on goals scored by Sjodahl.

Carreras Climbing: Odessa Jackalopes forward Eric Carreras netted his 13th goal of the season Friday. Carreras has arguably been Odessa’s most productive forward behind Hampus Sjodahl this year in his first full season with the Jacks. Carreras has five points in his last 10 games (3 goals, 2 assists) and is now fourth on the team in points (21) and second in goals (13).

Special Teams Influence: The Odessa Jackalopes scored its league-leading ninth shorthanded goal Friday. While the Jacks have been opportunistic when down a man, they have been on the PK the third most times in the league this season (169) compared to a league-low 109 power plays. The differential of 60 is the largest in the NAHL. On the other side, Topeka has been on the man-advantage 190 times and on the PK a 139 times, a reverse differential of 51.

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