ODESSA, TX — The Odessa Jackalopes (7-17-1-1) fell 9-2 to the Amarillo Bulls (18-5-1-2) at the Ector County Coliseum on Saturday night. It marked the final game for Odessa at the JackShack in the 2019 calendar year.
The Bulls started off the scoring with a goal just 54 seconds into the game. But the Jackalopes answered as John Serafin took a shot from the right half-boards that deflected into the net off an Amarillo defender. Serafin’s goal, coming just a few minutes in, sent over 480 teddy bears flying out onto the ice in the Jackalopes’ annual teddy bear toss. The stuffed animals will be given to children in need throughout the Permian Basin this holiday season.
With the score tied 1-1, Amarillo then went on an offensive tear, scoring three more goals to end the first period up 4-1. The Bulls added two more in the second period, including a short-handed goal, to go up 6-1 after 40 minutes.
In the third period the Bulls added two more goals before the Jackalopes were able to get one more back. Vilho Saariluoma made a nice play in behind the Amarillo net to force a turnover and then fed a pass out in front for Ben Thomas. Thomas glided to the front of the net and was able to deposit a back-hand shot in past goaltender Max Gutjahr. Thomas’s goal marked his fourth of the season and halted a seven-goal run by the Bulls.
However Amarillo got the last laugh, scoring off a rebound with just over five seconds to play in regulation. Jackalopes goalie Jaeger Reed, a call up from the Texas RoadRunners, made his first start in the North American Hockey League in place of Aaron Randazzo and Zach Stern who were both scratched on Saturday. Reed made 40 saves against 49 shots against, the Jackalopes managed a total of 25 shots on net. While the result wasn’t what Reed or the Jackalopes wanted, he made some tough stops and showed flashes of potential that will give him confidence as he continues his NA3HL career.
The Jackalopes will head on the road to Topeka next week for a two-game series next weekend to close out the 2019 calendar year. Both games against the Pilots are set for a 7:05 pm puck drop.