ODESSA, TX — After so many games of coming close, the Jackalopes finally broke through on Saturday night. Jackalopes netminder Cooper Black made 22 saves to record his first shutout of the season in a 3-0 victory for the Odessa Jackalopes (9-25-2-3) against the New Mexico Ice Wolves (13-24-1-2).
Despite having a majority of the chances in the first period, the Jackalopes ended the first in a scoreless tie.
In the second period the Jackalopes had to endure a little bit of adversity as they were assessed first a double minor for high-sticking and then another penalty for slashing soon after. The end result was a five-on-three disadvantage for over two minutes. The Jackalopes penalty kill held firm however as they were able to kill off both penalties. With momentum in thier side following the kill, the Jackalopes went on the attack. A sustained offensive fore-check pinned the Ice Wolves in thier own zone and allowed an opening for J.R. Perdion to send a pass into the low slot from the near left corner. His pass found Charles-Edward Tardif who sent a shot low to the right side and into the back of the net. Tardif’s first of the night broke the deadlock and put the Jackalopes up front 1-0.
Going into the third period, the Jackalopes faced a familiar situation, tied or up going into a third period of play. Four times in the previous six games the Jacks had faced this situation. This time they were determined to ensure they were on the winning side of the ledger.
The decisive moment of the third period came on a two-on-one rush with just over 12 minutes to play. Perdion led a rush up ice with Joe Schubert. instead of passing it over, Perdion elected to take the shot and he made no mistake. Perdion’s hard wrist-shot zoomed into the top shelf over the shoulder of Owen Parker and gave Odessa a huge insurance goal in the third period to put them up 2-0.
For the remainder of the contest, Black was solid in net for Odessa. He made tough saves look easy and easy saves look routine. His biggest moment game in the final minutes when New Mexico was pressing hard and Black was able to stone New Mexico’s leading goal-scorer Spencer Rudrud point blank with the left pad. But just as important to Black was the play of his defensemen and forward all night long blocking shots and getting in the middle of passing lanes to frustrate New Mexico offensively.
An empty-net goal by Mike Manzo in the final minute sealed the victory and ensured Black went on to earn his first shutout of the season for the Jackalopes. The win was a much needed spark for this group after a frustrating couple of weeks in which the Jackalopes played quite well against tough opposition but were unable to find the key goal to put them on top.
The Jackalopes will use this momentum as they travel on the road to face the Amarillo Bulls this coming Friday and Saturday.