Furious Rally Lifts Odessa to 2-1 Shootout Win



Mar. 3, 2012



Dramatic victory leaves Jacks six points shy of a playoff spot with ten games left in regular season.


ODESSA, TX– In a must-have game, the Odessa Jackalopes overcame a lengthy 1-0 deficit to earn an invigorating 2-1 shootout victory over the Corpus Christi IceRays Saturday at Ector County Coliseum in the final game between the two teams in their 2011-12 NAHL regular season series. With the win, the Jackalopes improved their head-to-head record against the IceRays to 5-2-2, bumped their overall mark to 20-25-5 and with 45 points, drew to within six points of their opponents for fourth place in the NAHL’s South Division standings and the final South Division playoff spot.

In a tight-checking, playoff-esque game that exuded intensity from start to finish, Corpus Christi struck first at 17:10 of the opening frame when leading IceRays goal-scorer Eric Purcell touched a deflected Connor Kingsbury shot past Odessa netminder Connor Hellebuyck at even strength to put Corpus Christi up 1-0.

After a scoreless second period, the Jackalopes entered the third with a palpable sense of urgency and after withstanding repeated Corpus Christi scoring chances, Taylor Portner evened the score at 12:33 of the period, when the Odessa centerman lifted a rebound chance off a Mikko Virtanen shot over an outstretched Anthony Stolarz and into the Corpus Christi net on the backhand for his fourth goal of the season.

Despite several close calls down the stretch, the Jackalopes couldn’t manage another score in regulation and after a scoreless overtime period, the Jacks entered a five-man shootout for the first time since February 4th with a vital extra point in the South Division standings at stake.

In another outstanding performance in net for Odessa, Hellebuyck turned aside 29 shots in regulation and overtime before stopping the first four Corpus Christi chances in the shootout, giving way to the fourth Odessa shooter, Tyler Cayemberg. After Stolarz stopped Jalen Krogman, Lawrence Cornellier and Portner in the first three rounds, Cayemberg skated in close on Stolarz, threw a shot fake on the lanky IceRays ‘keeper and buried a glove-side rocket that lifted the Jacks to victory.

Their work clearly cut out for them, the Jackalopes enter the final month of the 2011-12 regular season six points out of a postseason berth with ten games remaining on their schedule. Next up for the Jacks, it’s the first trip of the season to Wichita Falls for a two-game weekend series against the sixth-place Wildcats beginning Friday at 7:05 pm at Kay Yeager Coliseum.

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.