Jackalopes drop weekend opener in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE , NM — The last time the Jackalopes traveled to the desert, they were able to come back and defeat the New Mexico Ice Wolves on a Friday night. This time however, history did not repeat itself. The Odessa Jackalopes (8-35-1-1) fell 4-1 to the Ice Wolves (11-29-2-3) on Friday night at the Outpost Ice Arenas.

Similar to the Jackalopes’ last appearance in New Mexico, Odessa found themselves down 1-0 in the first period. After a strong start by Odessa, New Mexico surged, and was able to capitalize on a short-handed goal to put them up after the end of the first period.

The Jackalopes seemed poised to come back in the second period, and during the early stages of the second they looked like they would. However, it was New Mexico extending their lead in the second period as opposed to Odessa taking it as they did back in September.

Still the Jackalopes had plenty of life left in them. The latter stages of the second saw Odessa establish a strong offensive fore-check that led to some quality chances in front. Their best chance in the period came on a two-on-none that they only failed to convert due to the heroics of Ice Wolves goaltender Henrik Laursen.

The Jacks were able to draw a penalty in the late stages of the second. The ensuing power play carried over through the intermission and saw Odessa capitalize in the first minute of the third.

Ben Doherty found himself in front of the net and shot the puck point-blank at Laursen. After the initial shot was saved, Doherty picked up his own rebound, skated to his left and then sent another shot into the top-shelf of the net to record his second goal and point in his young North American Hockey League career.

Doherty’s goal brought the Jacks to within one. Down 2-1 early in the third, the Jackalopes surged ahead and continued the attack. Unfortunately a back-door play resulted in New Mexico re-establishing their two goal lead midway through the the period. The Ice Wolves added an empty net goal in the final two minutes as the Jackalopes fellĀ  4-1.

Despite the loss, the Jacks showed some positives signs, especially on the power play where they found success despite the absence of Vinny DeSanctis and Adam Kolcon. Those two individuals have been key to the Jackalopes’ fortunes on the man advantage as of late and seeing the power play work well with them absent is a positive sign and a step forward.

Odessa will prepare for their final game of the season on Saturday night against the Ice Wolves, face-off is set for 8:00 pm central time.