ODESSA, TX — They say everything comes in threes, that the third time is the charm and that luck favors the prepared. All three of those maxims were accurate on Thursday night as the Odessa Jackalopes (5-5-2-0) played their third straight overtime contest and defeated the Lone Star Brahmas (13-3-1-0) by a score of 2-1 at the Ector County Coliseum.
The contest started off well for the Jackalopes, as has been the norm for the past few games, as Odessa carried the play for a majority of the first period. Despite out-shooting the Brahmas 17-6 in the period and striking both the right-post and the cross-bar the Jackalopes cold not find a way to stuff a shot in past Brahma netminder Rico Dimatteo.
The second period was much the same with both goalies being called upon to make tough stops to keep the game scoreless. The Jackalopes finally broke though though in the later stages of the period. Streaking up ice, Jacks forward Lucas Coon skated in over the blue line at center then peeled off to the right side. When he was at the top of the right-circle he let go a hard wrist shot back towards the left side of the net. The shot found it’s way in the Coon’s second tally of the season put the Jacks up 1-0 going into the third period.
A 1-0 lead was not enough however against one of the more prolific offenses in the North American Hockey League. Though held in check for most of the night, it was only a matter of time before they broke through. Lone Star tied the game off a deflected shot from the point with just over five minutes to play in regulation. The Jackalopes launched a ferocious counter-attack though in an attempt to regain the lead but despite a flurry of good chances, Odessa could not find the net again and had to settle for overtime for the third straight contest.
Coming into Thursday Lone Star had never lost a post-regulation game this season and Dimatteo held a perfect 4-0 record. Not to mention the Brahmas were riding a five-game unbeaten streak. All that came to an end in just over two minutes of extra time. The Jackalopes received a power play in the opening seconds and worked a four-on-three advantage right down its the final seconds. On a broken play in front, Joey Musa took a shot from the high slot that was blocked. Following through with his shot, Musa picked up the puck and skated to his right near the circle. Spying forward Alex Konovalov all alone at the side of the net, Musa sent a perfect backhand pass to Konovalov who made shot the puck into a wide-open net for his first as a Jackalope and the game-winner.
The 2-1 victory marked the first Odessa win over Lone Star since January 25, 2019. The win also solidified the Jackalopes hold on third place in the South Division. But more then anything, the win proved that Odessa can skate with anyone, including the best in the South. Lone Star’s vaunted power play, ranked second in he league at 28.8% was held scoreless in three tries. The Jacks also held two of the league’s top three scorers in check, only allowing one goal against. In addition the Jacks finished with over 30 shots on goal (31-24) for the third straight night in a row. Overall it was a good night and a satisfying win for the ever-improving Jackalopes.
Odessa will look for their second straight win over the Brahmas on Friday night at the Ector County Coliseum. Face-off is set for 7:15 pm.
Photo Credit: Danne´ Braden Photography