ODESSA, TX – The last time the Jackalopes defeated the Shreveport Mudbugs was on November 1, 2019.
Three months later the Jackalopes picked up their most emotional win of the season as Odessa (8-31-1-1) defeated the Shreveport Mudbugs (28-14-0-0) by a score of 6-3 at the Ector County Coliseum on Saturday night.
Like Friday, it was the Mudbugs who got on the board first, just over five minutes into the game. However, the Jackalopes countered with a power play tally later on in the first. Max Klanow deflected a slap-shot from Adam Kolcon on the power play and re-directed the puck into the back of the net. The Jackalopes took momentum into the locker room after the first period, tied 1-1.
In the second period the Jackalopes took control of the game. Klanow buried a juicy rebound in front to give the Jackalopes their first lead of the weekend after a shot from the half-wall was initially saved. This was followed up later in the period by Jack Rudin. Rudin stole the puck away at his own blue line and rushed up the ice on the left side. Rudin cut into the low-slot and rifled a shot in through the five-hole of Shreveport netminder Richie Parent.
Odessa, who has had a history of preforming well in games when they led after two periods, found themselves up 3-1 after the second.
The third period started off with high intensity on both sides as the Mudbugs would not go away and the Jackalopes refused to yield their lead.
Back on the power play, Vinny Desanctis fired a shot from the left circle that might have been tipped in front to put the Jackalopes up 4-1. It marked the first time all season the Jackalopes had scored multiple power-play goals in a single game.
Less than thirty seconds later Matt Hutton, the former Jackalope now playing for Shreveport, scored his first goal as a Mudbug to narrow the score to 4-2. The Jacks struck back 14 seconds later however. Off a face-off from the left circle, the puck came to Isaiah Huempfner in the slot and he shot one in off the cross-bar to re-establish Odessa’s three-goal lead and put the Jacks up 5-2.
Shreveport found some life a little over ten minutes later, as they scored to pull themselves to 5-3, but the Jackalopes defense held firm. Rudin picked up an empty net goal to ice the game and secure the Jackalope’s first victory since November 15. Odessa goaltender Andrew Takacs made 31 saves in his Jackalopes debut.
The win on Saturday was seemingly the culmination of the tireless effort and perseverance by the Jackalopes, having to endure many trials over the past few months which included a 22-game winning drought and a coaching change. However, the Jackalopes continued to persevere and worked to get better every week. Saturday was the first fruits of their labor. It was only fitting that it came on Permian Basin Strong Night as the Jackalopes organization honored those impacted by the tragic shooting that occurred in Midland and Odessa last August.
Next weekend the Jackalopes will hit the road as they travel to North Richland Hills for a three-game series with the Lone Star Bahamas.
Photo: Danne’ Braden Photography