Yesterday the Jacks played their first home game of 2023. It was against the New Mexico Ice Wolves, whom they have not seen since the end of September. The Ice Wolves won both of those games by a score of 5-2. A lot is on the line for Odessa every time they take the ice as they’re trying to climb their way up the South Division standings. As for New Mexico, they entered last night’s game in third place with 43 points.
Odessa started off the opening period with a Ryan Mansfield breakaway that was saved by Carsen Stokes. Shortly after that, Trevor Taulien had his first shift with the Jacks this season and made a massive hit on the opposition. “It was great, the fans were rowdy, and I saw the opportunity to step up on the guy and lay a hit. Just to let him know I was there, and it really set the tone for the night,” said Taulien. Odessa was able to feed off the hometown crowd by scoring the first goal of the game. The goal was scored by Ryan Kelly (10) while Odessa was on the powerplay. A minute later, Odessa had an odd-man rush, and Emerson Goode (19) was able to roof the puck past Stokes. Just as the first period past the halfway point, Goode (20) notched his second of the night. Making it a 3-0 Jackalopes lead. Odessa kept their foot on the gas for the rest of the opening period and was able to register another goal. Marking their most in any period this season. The goal was once again scored by Goode (21) after he let a slapshot go from the top of the slot. Emerson had this to say after scoring his first career hat trick, “I’m happy it happened but when I was at two, I wasn’t trying to overthink it and it turned out to be a good night.” The Jacks outshot the Ice Wolves, 14-8.
The Ice Wolves came out in period two throwing everything they had at Greg Orosz, who was playing in his 13th-straight game. Even with New Mexico putting up 18 shots in the period, they were unable to beat Orosz. The Jacks only increased their shot total by eight in the second period, but they were able to add one to the scoresheet. The fifth goal came from Cameron Dunn (2) after he deflected a point shot from John Wojciechowski. Odessa went into the second-period intermission with a 5-0 lead. So far this season Odessa is 11-0 when leading after two periods. In comparison, the Ice Wolves are 0-9-1 when trailing after 40 minutes of play.
Some early penalties in the third period resulted in four-on-four hockey. Dayne Hoyord (3) received a breakout pass from Goode and he was able to race down the ice and wrist a shot past Stokes. That was Hoyord’s first goal since Sep. 17, 2022. “It felt great, and as you could tell I celebrated really hard. It was good to get that off my back and I thought our line was buzzing tonight which made it really fun when we move the puck like that.” A few minutes later, Ryan Johnson (12) scored for New Mexico to end Orosz’s hopes at a shutout. As the final period kept ticking away, both teams continued to play a physical style of South Division hockey. The horn would sound to give Odessa a 6-1 win and their third straight. New Mexico outshot Odessa, 37-29. The Jacks went 1/4 on the powerplay and the Ice Wolves went 0/6.
Odessa has played eight games so far in 2023 and has only allowed one power-play goal on 28 opportunities. Head Coach Scott Deur had this to say following his team’s victory, “We had a really good start in the first ten minutes getting three goals and Emerson was on fire in that first period.” Deur went on to add, “Getting points in this league is always important and especially at this time and on home ice.” Game two is scheduled for tonight at 7:15 p.m. CDT.
Photo credit: Danne Braden