FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Mar. 17, 2012
THREE GOAL THIRD PUTS JACKS IN PLAYOFF POSITION
Odessa rallies for 3-2 win over Wildcats, extends win streak to six.
ODESSA, TX– In their final home game of the 2011-12 regular season, the Odessa Jackalopes stormed back from down a goal in the third period to top the Wichita Falls Wildcats 3-2 on Saturday night at Ector County Coliseum. With the win, Odessa’s season-high sixth in a row and eighth in the Jacks’ past nine games, the Jackalopes improved to 25-25-5 overall and thanks to a Corpus Christi loss in Amarillo, pulled into a tie with the IceRays for the South Division’s fourth and final playoff spot. With Saturday’s victory, Odessa wrapped up their home schedule in their 15th anniversary season and inaugural NAHL campaign with a 16-13-1 record inside Ector County Coliseum.
Despite being previously eliminated from playoff position, the Wildcats came out firing in the first period on Saturday, outshooting Odessa in a scoreless frame before taking a 1-0 lead at 8:56 of the second period when Jakob Batcha took advantage of a Bryan Mitchell turnover and streaked the length of the ice, slipping an even-strength, breakaway chance through the wickets on Odessa netminder Connor Hellebuyck.
Entering the third period down by a goal, the Jacks put forth a determined effort in the final frame, breaking through at 5:48 when Lawrence Cornellier tipped home a Zach Mertes shot from the right point to tie the game at one and extend his individual point-streak to six games. As both teams clamped down in a tight-checking home stretch, the Jacks extended their lead five minutes later when Hellebuyck swept a dump-in to Jared Docken and after racing through the neutral zone, the speedy Odessa D-man fed Tyler Cayemberg in the high slot for a one-time, power-play goal that gave Odessa the lead for good.
Jacks winger Ryan Doucet was next to strike, extending his goal-scoring streak to four games at 15:29 when he wired home a brilliant two-on-one feed from Cornellier to make it 3-1 Odessa. Doucet’s 11th tally of the season ended up being the game-winner, pushing his team-leading total in that category to four.
Just when Odessa thought they could coast into victory lane, the Wildcats hung tough, burying a bad-angle drive with less than a minute to play off the stick of Brennan Parker to cut the Jackalopes’ lead to just one. After a frantic, six-on-five final minute with the Wildcats’ net empty, the Jacks came away winners again, hitting the .500 mark for the first time since October 20th.
Next up for the Jacks, it’s the first of a season-ending, five-game road trip beginning with a Wednesday night road game in Wichita Falls and with Corpus Christi idle, a victory would lift the Jacks into fourth place alone in the South Division standings.
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 —