Controversial Tornado Goal Dooms Jacks 4-3



Nov. 3, 2012



Wojtala stops 42 as Texas sweeps weekend series.


FRISCO, TX– In the second of 12 scheduled regular-season meetings between the two teams, the Odessa Jackalopes mounted a determined third period comeback that came up short in a 4-3 loss to the Texas Tornado on Saturday at Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco, TX. With the loss, the Jacks fell to 3-10-2 overall this season and with eight points, remain alone in sixth place in the NAHL’s South Division standings. Saturday’s loss extended the Jackalopes’ season-long winless streak to eight games.

Still feeding off their 5-2 win over the Jacks on Friday, the defending Robertson Cup Champion Tornado started strong on Saturday, taking a 2-0 lead on back-to-back first period goals from Justin Greenberg and Scott Conway. In the second period, Anthony Olguin and the Jackalopes answered back, as the gritty Odessa forward notched his third goal of the season and second of the weekend just 90 seconds into the middle frame.

Texas extended the lead six minutes later on a Mitchell McPherson tally, but early in the third, relative Odessa newcomer Matt Volonnino snuck his first goal of the season and first goal as a Jackalope past Texas netminder Hunter Leisner on a feed from Mason Wyman to draw the Jacks within a goal at 3-2.

Then, at 11:23 of the final period, the Jacks were dealt a questionable hand by referee Robert Lukkason. After Conway snuck a puck underneath the outstretched left pad of Jacks goalie Blake Wojtala on a wraparound chance, the Odessa net was pushed off its moorings. Lukkason emphatically waved the goal off before changing his call after consulting with his linesmen and awarding the Tornado the goal and a 4-2 lead.

Seemingly motivated by sudden adversity, the Jackalopes rose up in the final ten minutes of regulation, peppering Leisner with scoring chances until Josh Racek was awarded with his first goal for Odessa at 12:57 thanks to assists from Volonnino and Ryan Doucet. Now trailing by just a goal, the Jacks’ effort simply wasn’t enough, as a last-second flurry with the extra-attacker on failed to bear fruit and Texas escaped victorious by a 4-3 margin.

In his second start in the Jacks’ last three games, Wojtala turned in a memorable performance, stopping a personal-best 42 pucks in the loss, tying him for Andrew Pikul’s 2012-13 single-game season high. While the Odessa power-play failed to convert on four chances, the Jacks’ penalty-kill jammed up the Tornado’s top-ranked man-up unit on three of four opportunities.

Next up for the Jacks, it’s a four-games-in-five-days homestand that begins on Friday against Wichita Falls at Ector County Coliseum with the opening faceoff set for 7:05 pm.

In 2012-13, the Odessa Jackalopes drop the puck on their second season as a member of the North American Hockey League. Season ticket packages for the Jacks’ sophomore campaign are available now starting at just $179. To reserve your seats, contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or log on to for more information.

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.