Game Preview: Jacks vs. Brahmas

Odessa Jackalopes (10-12-4) vs. Lone Star Brahmas (19-6-5)

Friday, January 1, 2016 — 7:05 p.m.

Ector County Coliseum — Odessa, Texas


Tonight’s Matchup: The Odessa Jackalopes hope a new year can flip a recent losing trend as they welcome in the Lone Star Brahmas for the first time this season. Since the Brahmas joined the NAHL in 2013-14 (previous: Texas Tornado) Odessa is 3-13-3 against last seasons South Division Champs.

About Last Night: The Odessa Jackalopes allowed a late goal in the first and two quick tallies in the second and never were able to comeback Wednesday night at AmericanBank Center in Corpus Christi, falling to the IceRays 4-1. The first period saw minimal scoring chances with the Jacks and Rays combing for just 16 shots, but Corpus got the late bounce needed to earn a first-period lead. Nathan Bryer ripped a shot from the point that deflected off Colton Meekhof (3) and snuck through the five-hole of Gunner Rivers at 19:11 to give Corpus Christi a 1-0 after one. In the second, Odessa had the majority of the chances early, but it was Corpus who used its fourth power play of the game to extend its lead to 2-0 at 12:02 when Brad Power connected on his seventh of the year. Corpus then added to its lead when Nathan Bryer (3) jammed home a Brendan Miller wrap around at 15:58. In the final frame, Hampus Sjodahl (14) buried a loose puck in the crease at 3:56 to get the Jacks back within one but Carter Johnson (8) secured the win for the Rays with a high-slot snipe at 9:21. Odessa ended the night 0-for-5 on the man advantage while Corpus connected on one of their eight tries. Gunner Rivers (6-5-1) took the loss making 25 saves on 29 shots while Graham Hunt (7-8-2) earned the win making 32 saves on 33 shots.

Winter Woes: December wasn’t friendly to Jackalopes, who went 0-4-2 in the month. The Jacks are 1-6-3 in their last ten games and are currently three points behind Corpus Christi, who currently holds the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division. During the losing streak, Odessa has scored just one power play goal. On Friday, the Jacks put the 16th (14.4) best power play in the league against the Brahmas number one penalty kill (88.7%).

Stop, Hampus Time: Jacks center Hampus Sjodahl collected his team-leading 14th goal of the season Wednesday night against Corpus Christi. Sjodahl also leads the team in points (26) and plus-minus (+11).

Bygone Brahmas: Both forward Eric Carreras and goaltender Gunner Rivers were once Lone Star Brahmas before joining the Jackalopes. Rivers was traded to Odessa at the beginning of the season for a tender contract before ever appearing in a single game for Lone Star. Eric Carreras played 34 games for the Brahmas in 2014-15, collecting 17 points (9 goals, 8 assists) before being traded to the Jacks where he appeared in 16 games at the end of last season. Carreras is second on the Jackalopes in goals (11) this season and is tied for fourth in points (18). Rivers was red-hot after being traded to Odessa, winning his first four games. Rivers is 6-5-1 on the year with a 3.45 goals-against average and a .884 save percentage.

For-Jon Conclusion: Jacks forward Jon Russel has dazzled since joining Odessa from Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) less than a month ago. In four games Russell has six points (2 goals, 4 assists) and a +1 rating. The Harvard (NCAA D1) committed forward had four shots on net in Tuesday’s game with two points (1 goal, 1 assist) with a +1 rating.  In six games with Des Moines, Russell had zero points and a -1 one rating.

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