Tomorrow the Odessa Jackalopes begin their 2022-2023 season at NAHL Showcase in Blaine, MN. They will play four games in four days. Three of their opponents have won the Robertson Cup Championship in the last six years (New Jersey, Aberdeen, and Fairbanks). Odessa is coming off a very historic season. While they finished in fifth place with a record of 29-26-1-4 (63pts), they scored the most goals in a season in Jackalopes history (193). They also became the fastest Jackalopes team to reach 100 goals, doing so in only 31 games. Odessa will be returning 12 players from last season. Ten of which are seniors. This year’s team will once again be led by Head Coach Scott Deur and Assistant Coach Chris Francis.
The Jacks first game will be against the New Jersey Titans on Wednesday at 2:45 pm CDT. New Jersey won the East Division with a record of 41-16-3 (85pts). With their 3-0 win over the Anchorage Wolverines in last year’s NAHL Robertson Cup Championship, it marked the first time in NAHL history that a team from the East Division won it all. The Titans are returning 12 players from last year’s Championship roster. The last time Odessa and New Jersey squared off against one another was September 9, 2018. It was during the NAHL Showcase and the Jacks won, 4-3. New Jersey will enter tomorrow’s game already 0-2 after being swept by Maryland this past weekend.
The Jacks second game will be against the Aberdeen Wings on Thursday at 7:15 pm CDT. They won the Robertson Cup in 2019. It is the first time in franchise history that the Jacks and Wings will go toe-to-toe. Aberdeen finished last season with a record of 31-24-3-2 (67pts). Which was good enough for third place in the Central Division. They lost in the Division Finals, 3-1, to the St. Cloud Norsemen.
Their third opponent are the North Iowa Bulls, who the Jacks also have never played before. That game will be held on Friday at 7:30 pm CDT. Last year was the inaugural season for North Iowa. Prior to last season, the franchise was called the Amarillo Bulls. North Iowa finished last in the Central Division after tallying a 22-28-4-6 (54pts) record through 60 games.
Odessa’s final opponent at the NAHL Showcase will be the Fairbanks Ice Dogs on Saturday at 12:45 pm CDT. Last season they won the Midwest Division by finishing with a 37-20-1-2 (77pts) record. Since entering the NAHL in 2003-04, the Ice Dogs have never missed the playoffs. They have won the Robertson Cup three times (2011, 2014, 2016). The last time Odessa faced Fairbanks was on September 23, 2016, at the NAHL Showcase. Odessa went on to win that game, 3-0. At the time, Scott Deur was in his second year as Assistant Coach for Fairbanks. The Ice Dogs are already 2-0 on the season after sweeping the Minnesota Wilderness this past weekend.
The Odessa Jackalopes home opening weekend is October 14-15 at 7:15 pm against the El Paso Rhinos. To secure your seats click here!