Earlier today the Jacks faced off against the Corpus Christi IceRays for the first time this season. While the Jacks did not play Friday or Saturday, the IceRays did. Corpus spilt their weekend series with Wichita Falls meaning that a Jacks win over the IceRays would move them into sole possession of first place. It would also tie their best start to a season since 2016-17 (through the first 10 games).
In the opening period the Jacks had constant pressure on Stefan Carney. About halfway into the period, Liam O’hare passed the puck to Dayne Hoyord (2), who sent a rocket into the back of the net while on the power play. Moments later, Rylan Yates (2) would put the Jacks up by a pair. Although in the final minutes of the period Daniel Nekhamiyev scored his first NAHL goal to cut the lead in half. Odessa finished the first period almost averaging a shot-per-minute as they put up 18. The IceRays managed to get six shots on Noah Rupprecht. This was Rupprecht’s first start since the Jacks played Springfield at the NAHL Showcase (Sept. 16th).
The middle period saw a lot more back and forth as the shots finished in favor of Odessa, 11-10. However, one of Odessa’s shots managed to find the back of the net. Hoyord (3) once again got on the score sheet as he managed to thread a shot from below the right circle and past Carney. The Jacks would head into the locker room after 40 minutes of play up 3-1.
Colby Seitz (1) scored a power-play goal 8:45 into the final period of regulation to pull the IceRays within one. The Jacks though continued to get pucks deep and towards Carney. Odessa eventually found the back of the net again and this time it was Chris Duclair (6). With a 4-2 lead the Jacks were in the driver’s seat and looking to add more to their total. Dayne Hoyord (4) was not done scoring as he picked up his third goal of the game, earning him his first career NAHL hat trick. It was the first hat trick by a Jackalopes player since February 16, 2019 (Joseph Winkelmann). “I was really excited when I saw the 3rd go in, but the best feeling was how happy all the guys were for me,” said Hoyord. He went on to add, “I wasn’t thinking about getting the 3rd at all after the 2nd because I wanted to focus on finishing the game and getting the win, but I ended up getting a lucky bounce at the end and was fortunate enough to put it in.” The Jacks outshot Corpus Christi 32-25 through 60 minutes.
Rupprecht made 23 saves to earn his first win of the season. Head Coach Scott Deur had this to say regarding Rupprecht’s win tonight, “You need goalies that can step in and win you games and Rupprecht did that tonight.” With the Jacks earning two points they now sit firmly at the top the South Division. This Friday and Saturday they will travel to El Paso for the first ever meeting between them and the Rhinos. El Paso is currently in last place in the South (3-5). It is also home opening weekend for the Rhinos. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. MDT both nights.
Photo Credit: @TaylorCraveyPhotography