Tonight’s Matchup: Tonight, the Jackalopes battle the Wichita Falls Wildcats (15-4-0, 2nd in the South Division). In three games against the Wildcats this season, the Jacks are 1-1-0-1. On September 13th, the Jacks picked up a 4-3 victory at the Kay Yeager Coliseum. Jacks Forward Kenny Hausinger scored late in the third to give the Jackalopes an opening night win. On October 17th, the Jacks fell 8-5 to the Wildcats at Kay Yeager Coliseum. In a game that had no penalties, the Jacks rallied to tie the game before the Wildcats scored three-straight goals in the third period. On November 18th at Ector County Coliseum, the Jacks lead three different times in the game but could not secure a victory, falling 5-4 in a shootout. When the two teams meet tonight, 13 players on the ice will have NCAA Division I scholarships. That is the most combined commits playing in any NAHL game this season.
Last Time Out: vs. Corpus Christi (4-3 OTL American Bank Center 11/22/14) After trailing 3-0 11:00 into the 2nd period, the Jackalopes mounted a miraculous comeback and tied the game in the final minute on a powerplay goal from leading scorer Kenny Hausinger. In overtime, Wes Michaud was pulled down from behind and awarded a penalty shot. Michaud scored to give the Jacks the defeat, 4-3.
All-Time Series: The Jacks are 9-18-4 all-time against the Wichita Falls Wildcats since the 2011-12 season.
Between the Pipes:
Odessa: The Jackalopes backstoppers have struggled from the word “go” this season. Robin Johansson is ranked 56th of 65 goalies to play in at least one game this season in the NAHL. Since acquiring Forbes Ploszaj from Wenatchee, the Gilbert, AZ native is (0-5-0-1) with a 4.65 GAA and an .850 Save Percentage.
Wichita Falls: Princeton commit Austin Shaw has proved to be a top goaltender in the NAHL in his rookie season. In 11 games started this season, Shaw is 9-1-0-1 with a 2.28 GAA and .921 Save Percentage. Backing up Shaw is second year Wildcat David Zevnik, who comes into action tonight with a 6-3-0-1 record, a 2.67 GAA and .902 Save Percentage. Numbers that are down from last year when Zevnik started 36 games, and won 19.
Players to Watch:
Odessa: Kenny Hausinger
After a seven-game goal drought, Kenny Hausinger scored a big goal to tie the game in the final minute against the Corpus Christi IceRays last Saturday night. Don’t be surprised if this lights a fire under the league’s 10th ranked scorer. Hausinger has proved he can score in bunches when he put up 15 points in the first eight games of the 2014-15 season. Hausinger has five points in three contests against the Wildcats this season.
Wichita Falls Wildcats: Austin Beaulieu
No one has been hotter for the Wildcats over the last five games than rookie Austin Beaulieu. The University of Alabama-Huntsville commit has 6 points in his last five games, including a three-point night on November 21 against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. Beaulieu has two points in three games vs. Odessa this season.