ODESSA, TX — It was a tight and intense game between the Odessa Jackalopes (7-15-1-1) and the Topeka Pilots (15-9-1-1) at the Ector County Coliseum on Saturday night. The Jackalopes fell 3-1 to the Pilots in an intense contest.
After a scoreless first period, the Pilots got on the board to take a 1-0 lead. The Jackalopes fought back in the second though and tied the game up a few minutes later.
Vilho Saariluoma, after wining a puck battle in the left-hand corner. fed a pass out in front to Matt Hutton. Hutton took a stride to his right to gain time and space and sent a hard shot in past Topeka netminder Josh Langford. It marked the second time in two nights that Saariluoma and Hutton combined for a goal.
The Jacks had some good opportunities to take the lead, including a 99 second five-on-three advantage but failed to convert. The Pilots however scored to take the lead with just 31 seconds left to play in the second period. It was the second straight night that Topeka scored a goal in the final minute of a period.
Both teams traded power-play opportunities in the third period that failed to convert. It was also in the thrid period that a major injury took place as Kyler Yeo (who scored Topeka’s first goal) was struck in the head with an unintentional high hit from Jackalopes defenseman Connor Lindsoe. Yeo lay on the ice for several minutes and had to be carted off the ice by paramedics.
Lindsoe was assessed a five minute major penalty and a game misconduct.
On the ensuing major, the Pilots extended their lead to 3-1. It was a lead which they held for the remainder of the game as they completed the weekend sweep.
The Jackalopes will regroup and look forward to their weekend home series against the Amarillo Bulls, the Jacks will be wearing ugly sweater alternates for both games before they are auctioned off at the conclusion of Saturday’s contest.