ODESSA, TX — The comeback fell as short as it possibly could have on Friday night. The Odessa Jackalopes (12-32-3-3) fell 3-2 in overtime to the Wichita Falls Warriors (26-17-1-6) on Friday night at the Ector County Coliseum.
Unlike the previous few games, the first period did not start well for Odessa. Two Wichita Falls goals, with the first coming on the power play, put the Warriors up 2-0. Wichita Falls continued to buzz, utilizing thier speed and gap-control to pressure the Jackalopes into mistakes.
Odessa’s best chances came in the second period as they had several odd-man rushes up the ice but failed to capitalize on them due to bad bounces of mishandled pucks. But despite the bounces, the Jackalopes stood by each other and went into the third period with determination.
It was in the third period that Odessa’s comeback began in earnest. After drawing a five-minute major power play midway though the third, the Jackalopes went on the offensive and soon capitalized. A shot by Joey Musa from the right side found Ben Doherty in front who was able to jam the puck home between the legs of the Warrior netminder. Doherty’s Jersey Mikes Power Play goal put the Jackalopes down just 2-1 and sparked the Odessa offense.
But the Jacks weren’t done. Again the Warriors took a penalty, this time for too-many-men, and again the Jackalopes made Wichita pay. Jimmy Rayhill took up position at the top of slot just inside the blue line. Waiting for a lane to develop he spied Musa skipping away from his man and setting up on the right face-off dot. Sliding a pass over to Musa, the Dartmouth commit blew a slap-shot into the back of the net to tie the game 2-2 with 96 seconds to play in regulation.
For the second straight meeting between the two teams, the Jacks and the Warriors headed to overtime. But unlike the beginning of April, Wichita Falls had a different plan in mind. Owen Baumgartner made an excellent individual play to skip past his defender in the high slot and circled in the the right side. He then sent a wicked back-hand shot toward the net that found it’s way in past goaltender Cooper Black and it proved to be the game winner as the Jackalopes fell just short in a 3-2 overtime contest.
Despite the loss, there were plenty of positives of the Jackalopes and their fans. Not the least of which was the power play that showed up big time with back-to-back goals to force the extra session. Also of note is the fact that Odessa has won the third period in their last three games, a significant development in this young team’s growth.
The Jackalopes will look for the weekend split on Saturday night in thier last home game of the season, face-off is set for 7:15 pm.
Photo Credit: Danne´ Braden Photography