Amarillo, TX – In their first pre-season action of the 2018-19 campaign, the Odessa Jackalopes secured a road split in Amarillo. The Jacks lost game one on Friday by a score of 8-6, however, CJ Hapward backstopped the Jacks to a hard fought 4-2 victory on Saturday.
Hapward made 41 saves in his first pre-season start of the season.
After falling behind 1-0 early in the first period, the Jacks stormed back with Kyle Herbster’s first pre-season goal of the year that made it 1-1 after the first period.
The Jacks started the second period with a 1:47 two-man advantage that they failed to capitalize on. Instead it was Amarillo who cashed in on an ensuing power-play to make it 2-1 Bulls.
The Jackalopes continued to fight back in what was becoming a back-and-forth game.
Midway through the second period, Nash Hatcher brought the puck into the offensive zone and, as he was getting hit, sent a backhander toward the net. Hatcher’s shot managed to find it’s way in past the Amarillo netminder to tie the game at 2-2.
The Jacks then got another power play opportunity and this time they took advantage. Carl Skarstrom sent a hard shot from the top of the circles that beat Amarillo goaltender Ryan Winter clean and gave Odessa their first lead of the afternoon.
In the third period, the Bulls came at the Jacks with everything they had. But backstopped by Hapward, the Odessa defense held firm.
Connor Smith secured the win with an empty-net goal just over a minute remaining. The ENG marked Smith’s third goal of the weekend.
The Odessa Jackalopes will play one more pre-season game on the road against the Lone Star Brahmas on September 5 before starting the season on the road against the Topeka Pilots on September 13.