Game Preview: Jacks vs. Rays

Odessa Jackalopes (10-11-4) vs. Corpus Christi IceRays (11-14-3)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 – 7:05 p.m.

AmericanBank Center – Corpus Christi, TX

Tonight’s Matchup: After a hard-fought overtime loss on Tuesday night, the Jacks look for some redemption and a series split in the final game of the midweek two-game set against the Corpus Christi IceRays. Thus far this season, four of the five matchups between the Jacks and Rays have been decided by one goal, including three of the five going to overtime. Odessa is 2-1-2 against the IceRays on the year and 16-27-6 all-time (2011).

About Last Night: The Odessa Jackalopes led twice Tuesday night and even scored three unanswered goals, but the Corpus Christi IceRays proved too much earning a 5-4 overtime victory at AmericanBank Center in Corpus. In the first, Dean Shatzer weathered an early IceRays flurry, making tremendous save after tremendous save. Odessa took advantage and broke through first when Zach Zech (9) jammed home a loose puck past an out-of-position Graham Hunt. After Odessa struck first, Corpus countered with goals by Regan Cavanagh and Matthew Acciaioli less than a minute apart at 13:34 and 14:21 to make it 2-1 after one. In the second, Corpus looked to put the game out of reach when Carter Johnson broke through on the power play at 4:23 to make it 3-1. Down by pair, the Jacks cut the lead to one when Jon Russell (2) broke through on a spinning wrister at 5:39. Gray Marr (7) then tied the game at 12:30 on a quick snap shot from the far hash. The Jacks capped off the three-goal period and regained the lead on a nifty 3-on-0 move by Oliver Celec (8) at 16:38. Holding onto a one-goal lead in the third, Tobias Kircher connected on a one-timer to tie the game and force overtime at 9:35. After Tucker Bender had failed to score on a penalty shot in OT, Brad LeLievre (6) earned the Rays two points on a one-timer at 2:35 of the extra time. Dean Shatzer took the hard-luck loss, making 37 saves on 42 shots. Graham Hunt (6-8-2) earned the win, making 27 saves on 31 shots.

Winter Woes:  Since the Jacks swept the IceRays on November 13th and 14th, Odessa has gone just 1-6-3 in their last 10 games. Five of the 10 have been decided by one goal, and three have reached overtime. The Rays are one point ahead of Odessa in the South Division standings.

Celec Smooth: Jacks forward Oliver Celec, 19, scored his first goal of the season away from the friendly confines of Ector County Coliseum and his eighth of the year Tuesday night. The Niagara (NCAA D1) bound Swedish winger is tied for third on the team in points (19) and fourth in goals.

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 five games with Des Moines, Russell had zero points and a -1 one rating.

Magic Marr: Jacks winger Gray Marr, 20, buried his seventh goal of the year and 21st point with a second period snip Tuesday night. Marr is second on the team in points (21) and assists (14) and has the third most efficient plus-minus (+6).

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