Jackalopes come close but fall in the shootout

WICHITA FALLS, TX — It was another close game, another game where the Jackalopes took a lead into the third period, a game in which the Jackalopes showed great resiliency. But it was another game in which the Jackalopes fell post regulation as Odessa fell 4-3 in the shootout to Wichita Falls on Saturday night at the Kay Yeager Coliseum.

Wichita Falls got off to a stronger start than on Friday and peppered Odessa netminder Cooper Black right from the outset, eventually scoring in the mid-stages of the first period. Odessa answered back, however, on their first power play of the game. A quick passing play found defenseman Jimmy Rayhill with space in the high slot. Rayhill took a hard slap-shot that sailed in past Wichita Falls netminder Owen Bartoszkiewicz to tie the game 1-1 with less than one minute to play in the first period.

In the second period on Saturday, much like the second period of Friday night, the Jackalopes received several power plays and had several good chances to take the lead. While the Jacks didn’t score on the man-advantage, they did score as soon as one expired. J.R. Perdion received a quick pass from behind the net and one-timed a shot from the base of the right circle and into the top shelf on the far side. Perdion’s goal put the Jackalopes up 2-1 after two periods and saw Odessa face a familiar situation. For the second straight game, and third against the Warriors, the Jackalopes had a lead going into the third period.

In the third, Wichita Falls skated with confidence and skill, they were able to get the tying goal off a rebound just 106 seconds into the period. Tied 2-2, both teams exchanged chances to take the lead. The play ebbed and flowed for both sides for about fifteen minutes afterwards before the Warriors were able to take the lead off of a broken play in the slot. It marked the third straight game the Warriors had scored two goals in the third period.

The Jackalopes did not give up, they continued to press the attack, even as the final minutes ticked off. Eventually they were rewarded with a goal off a net front scramble by Gabe Bennett to tie the game at 3-3 with around 40 seconds to play. Even after tying the game the Jackalopes had a chance to end the contest in the closing moments of regulation. The Jacks had a two-on-one rush up the ice that turned into a three-on-one as a drop pass found captain Evan Orr wide open. Orr’s quick shot was fought off by Bartoszkiewicz and the game went to overtime.

In the overtime session, Wichita Falls rarely threatened and it was the Jackalopes who had the better of the chances. Their best came midway through overtime as a behind-the-back pass by Jack Musa behind the net found Perdion on the right side in tight. Perdion, with very little room, fired the puck toward the net but could not elevate the shot, thus allowing Bartoszkiewicz to make a pad stop.

With overtime scoreless, the contest had to be decided in the shootout. After three rounds of action without any scoring, the Warriors were able to end it in the fifth round with a game-winning goal to clinch the contest by a score of 4-3.

Though the loss stings for Odessa, the Jackalopes continued to show great resiliency through the inevitable growing pains of a young hockey club. The Jacks will have one more weekend against Amarillo next week to find the road result that they have played well enough to earn, but for right now they have yet to achieve.

Photo Credit: DanneĀ“ Braden Photography