The Odessa Jackalopes began Saturday night knowing they were out of the playoffs, but were able to come out and play a very tough game before falling to the Amarillo Bulls 5-4 in a shootout.
The Bulls opened the scoring up on a breakaway that netted a goal for Alex Truscott. Cooper Zech tried to hold the puck in, but after receiving a stick to the face, it took him out of the play and allowed Amarillo to make their break. Luke Edgerton found Truscott who fired one past Jon Flakne for the 1-0 lead.
Odessa would retaliate as Noah Poindexter found Cooper Zach, fresh onto the ice. Cooper took the puck in deep before slinging a pass to Tyler Pietrowski between the circles. Pietrowski was able to shoot one past Nikita Babintsev for the tie game.
Two minutes later, Amarillo would net another as Steven Ipri launched one from the point that Luke Edgerton redirected between the wickets of Flakne for the one-goal lead again.
Amarillo would net another in the second as the Jackalopes were just coming back to full strength. Amarillo held the puck and turned it up the ice for a breakaway against Flakne. Brendan Furry was able to net his first career NAHL goal on the breakaway for the two-goal Amarillo lead.
Coach Greg Gatto speech in the 2nd intermission resonated with the team as they come out hotter than ever before. Zac Herrmann whistled a shot off the end board that found the stick of Levi Wunder in front of the net. Wunder had one of the easiest goals of his life with a tap in to the open net to bring Odessa back within one.
Shorthanded for the fourth time on the night, Nick Wilson found Chase Thudium at their own blue line. Thudium’s efforts forced a two-on-one Jackalopes breakaway as he found Ludwig Stenlund. Stenlund rimmed one off the far post and in to tie the game at three.
Stenlund would add a second goal later as the Jackalopes were on the power play. Once again, Thudium would find Stenlund, but this time, it would be an open net with Babintsev well out of position. Stenlund flipped it on net and in for the one-goal lead.
Amarillo ended up pulling their goaltender with just about a minute remaining in regulation that helped tie the game for the Bulls. George Mika swung a pass in front of Flakne that hit off a player’s skate and in for the 4-4 tie game with only 28 seconds remaining in the third period.
We would head into overtime where both teams had a couple chances, but nothing being able to fall for the win. The Jackalopes headed to a shootout for their second time this season. Stenlund, Thudium, and Chris Donaldson were all tagged to go for the Jackalopes, but unfortunately none of them were able to score. Amarillo got their first shootout contestant to net one as Brendan Furry ended up with the game-winning goal in the shootout.
The Jackalopes have been hot over their past 10 games, but with circumstances the way they were, it was just too little too late. Odessa returns home for the final five-games of the season, kicking off with Shriners weekend next Thursday, Friday, and Saturday against the Wichita Falls Wildcats.
The 2017-2018 Odessa Jackalopes season tickets are on sale now! To reserve your seats, contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or log on to www.jackalopes.org for more information.