Despite a valiant effort, Jackalopes come up just short

ODESSA, TX — The Jackalopes did nearly everything right in a game they should’ve won. The effort was there, the plays and opportunities were there and the goals were timely. But unfortunately there were not enough of them on Friday night.

The Jackalopes (8-23-2-3) fell 3-2 in the shootout to the Lone Star Brahmas (25-11-1-0) at the Ector County Coliseum.

The game saw a scoreless first period lean in favor of Odessa as they laid seige to the Lone Star goal in the closing minutes of the first period. Though they were unable to score, it capped a period that was a far cry from Thursday night’s start. Though stymied in the first, the Jacks wasted no time in the second period as they took advantage of an early power play.

An initial shot by Joey Musa was saved, the rebound came to Fletcher Anderson in the slot who slid the rebound into the back of the net for his 10th goal of the season and gave Odessa a 1-0 lead. The Brahmas then spent most of the second period pouring pucks on net but Cooper Black was square to the task and was able to keep Lone Star off the board through two periods.

But Odessa’s biggest challenge loomed ahead. Three of their last four games were decided in the third period, Friday was no exception.

After a strong start to the third, the Jackalopes surrendered the tying goal off of a rebound in front. Tied 1-1, the Jacks showed great resiliency and fought back. Eventually, they were rewarded. A lifted pass by Anderson found Jack Musa bursting up the middle in stride. Skating at full speed, Musa quickly lost his defenseman and skated one-on-one with Lone Star goaltender Guy Blessing. Musa made no mistake as he rifled a shot into the top shelf to regain Odessa the lead 2-1.

Musa’s goal reinvigorated the Jackalopes and they tightened up defensively. It looked as if the Jacks would finally pull out thier third period win, but it was not to be. A goal scored onĀ  Black’s short side tied the game back up again at 2-2 with just under two minutes left to play.

The winner was to be decided in overtime.

The Jacks had a number of quality chances in the extra session, including a four-on-three power play but were unable to find the game-winner. In the shootout, Lone Star was able to put up back-to-back shootout goals while Blessing shut the door on the Jacks to earn at 3-2 victory for the Brahmas.

The Friday loss is frustrating, more so because the Jackalopes arguably deserved to win. But unfortunately, tiny mistakes in the third ended up costing the Jacks. Even so, there were plenty of positives to be had. The Jackalopes won special teams, going 1/7 on the power play and was a perfect 4/4 on the penalty kill. Odessa also showed a strong start to the contest and great resiliency to battle back after having thier lead taken away in the third.

The Jackalopes will look to use this positivity and build on it on Saturday as they close out the three-game series with the Brahmas at the Ector County Colosseum.

Photo Credit: DanneĀ“ Braden Photography