Jan. 21, 2012
FAUST STRIKES AGAIN, LIFTS JACKS TO 3-2 WIN
Odessa captain provides game-winner, leaves with injury in victory.
RIO RANCHO, NM– In the fifth of ten games between the two teams this season, the Odessa Jackalopes defeated the New Mexico Mustangs for the second consecutive night, storming back from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to emerge victorious by a final score of 3-2 on Saturday at Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. With the win, the Jackalopes improved to 14-18-5 on the season and 5-0-0 against New Mexico in 2011-12. With 31 points, the Jackalopes remain alone in fifth place in the NAHL’s South Division standings, six points behind the Corpus Christi IceRays for the final South Division playoff spot.
One night removed from a 10-3 rout of the Mustangs, the Jacks were slow out of the gate on Saturday, ceding an early lead to New Mexico just 1:39 into the game on the first of two Patrick Anderson power-play goals of the period. At 6:35 of the opening frame, Odessa centerman Josh Obregon evened the game at one, banking a wrister off the back of New Mexico goaltender Jake Stafford from below the goal-line for his 11th goal of the season and 15th point. Anderson’s second goal of the period came at 9:41 of the first when the Mustangs forward capitalized on a power-play rebound to stake New Mexico to a 2-1 lead.
The second period plodded along scoreless until the late stages, when Odessa’s Jalen Krogman took advantage of a beautiful set-up from linemate Lawrence Cornellier, stepped around a New Mexico defender and notched his third goal and 25th point of the season at 17:48, knotting the game at two apiece and pulling the St. Charles, Missouri native into a tie with Odessa captain Willie Faust for the team lead in scoring.
In need of an offensive push in the third, Faust obliged his teammates with a power-play marker in the opening minutes of the final stanza, tapping home a rebound from an Aditya Karandikar shot at 1:28 of the frame for his team-leading 16th tally of the season and what would prove to be the game-winning goal for Odessa. Later in the third, Faust was forced from the game by an upper-body injury that will keep the Stillwater, Minnesota native out of the lineup in Sunday’s series finale.
Jackalopes netminder Connor Hellebuyck was solid in the victory, stopping 40 of the 42 shots he faced to increase his weekend-long save percentage to an eye-popping .947. Next up for the Jacks, it’s the final game of their season-long seven-game “Rodeo” road trip, a Sunday afternoon tussle with the Mustangs at Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho with the opening faceoff set for 2:00 pm central time.
The Odessa Jackalopes celebrate their 15th Anniversary in 2011-12 and drop the puck on their inaugural campaign as a member of the North American Hockey League. Season tickets, mini-plans, and single game tickets are available by calling (432) 552-7825 or by visiting the Jacks online at www.jackalopes.org.
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.
— ODESSA JACKALOPES —