Game Preview: Jacks vs. Runners (March 18)

Tonight’s Matchup: The Odessa Jackalopes and Topeka RoadRunners begin a three-game series Friday night at Kansas ExpoCentre as the two clubs battle for the first time since mid-January. Odessa has lost five-straight to Topeka since winning the first two matchups of the year and are now 7-24-2 all-time against the Runners.

Last Time Out: The Odessa Jackalopes scored three goals in the 1st period and held on for a 4-1 win over the Amarillo Bulls Tuesday night at Ector County Coliseum. Hampus Sjodahl (30) gave the Jacks an early lead at 2:23 of the 1st when he jammed home a loose puck past Brian Baker. Danny Kiraly (9) then added on to the Odessa lead when he fired a shot just inside the blue line past Baker’s left pad and off the near post at 12:03. Pierce Pluemer (5) capped off the three-goal opening period with a power-play redirection off a Zach Zech shot from the point. In the second, Jake Levin pocketed his first of the year by sniping a wrist shot through Baker’s five-hole to make it 4-0 at 13:51. Nic Santoro’s second effort wrap-around ruined Dean Shatzer’s shutout bid at 15:09 and cut the Jacks lead to 4-1. In the final frame, Shatzer stopped all eight Bulls shots, and the Jacks held on for a much needed 4-1 victory.

Dirty 30: Jackalopes center-man Hampus Sjodahl potted his team-leading and franchise record 30th goal of the year Tuesday night. The Bemidji State (WCHA, D1) committed forward is first on the Jacks in goals, points (58) and plus-minus (+17). Sjodahl is second in the NAHL in goals and fourth in points. Sjodahl has eight goals and three assists in his last ten games.

Kiraly Crusin’: Jackalopes d-man Daniel Kiraly netted his 9th goal of the year Tuesday night and also tacked on an assist. The Alaska-Fairbanks (WCHA, D1) committed defenseman now has a franchise record 34 points (9 g, 24 a) for blue-liner.

Piercing Hot: Jacks left-wing Pierce Pluemer has scored goals in back-to-back games and now has five goals and five assists in 27 games with the Jacks this season. Plumer has scored all five of his goals in the last ten games.

Down South: In other South action, Wichita Falls welcomes in the Amarillo Bulls for two games this Friday and Saturday at the Kay Yeager Coliseum while the Corpus Christi IceRays travel to NYTEX Sports Centre to rumble with the Brahmas.

Red Label: Runners leading goal scorer Johnny Walker will be out of Topeka’s lineup Friday for what is deemed a lower-body injury. The Arizona State (Independent, D1) committed forward has five goals and two assists in eight games with Topeka since being traded from Minot where he had 17 goals and 20 assists in 44 games with the Minotauros.

Strong Gone: RoadRunners Captain Cam Strong, 20, will play his final game for Topeka Friday night. The Billings, MT native will turn 21 Saturday and due to Ivy League rules the Dartmouth College commit is not allowed to compete in junior college hockey after the age of 21. Strong is tied for third on the Runners in points (41), first in assists (28) and first in plus-minus (+20).

Jackalopes Broadcast: Join the voice of the Jacks’ Nick Nollenberger live for every game on the Jacks flagship station Classic Rock 102.1 FM and