ALBUQUERQUE, NM — It was a bit of deja vu for the Jackalopes on Saturday as they found themselves in some familiar situations as on Friday. Odessa fell 4-1 to New Mexico at the Outpost Ice Arenas for the second straight night.
New Mexico got out to an early 1-0 lead just over 80 seconds into the game. New Mexico added another goal about ten minutes later to extend their lead to 2-0. Andrew Takacs made several strong saves in remainder of the first period to steady the Jackalopes to the intermission.
In the second period, Odessa surged ahead and had some of their best chances on goal, including a shot from Jack Rudin that deflected off the cross-bar and rebounded back to Isiah Huempfner. Huempfner took a shot and beat the goaltender but couldn’t stuff the puck in past the goal line. A scrum the the crease was unsuccessful as the Jackalopes failed to find the back of the net.
Despite out-shooting New Mexico 11-8 in the period, it was the Ice Wolves who extended their lead to 3-0 on a short-handed breakaway.
Like Friday, the Jackalopes found themselves down in a multi-goal hole at the start of the third period. Also like Friday, they scored a power play goal in the early stages of the third.
While on the power play, the puck came to Gramm McCormack in the slot and McCormack sent a hard back-handed shot in past New Mexico netminder Henrik Laursen. McCormack’s tally re-invigorated the Jackalopes and gave them some much needed momentum. Down 3-1, Odessa continued to surge and generated some quality scoring chances. However, they were unable to capitalize on those chances even with the goalie pulled. New Mexico scored an empty-net goal (just like Friday) as the Jacks fell 4-1.
Despite the weekend sweep, Odessa’s power play looked strong as the Jacks finished 2-for-7 on the man-advantage over the weekend. Considering the Jacks were missing some key players on the power play unit, this can be considered a major success. Also a positive was the play of Andrew Takacs. For the second straight weekend Takacs made some highlight-reel quality saves and was a calming force between the pipes for the Jackalopes.
Odessa will enter the bye-week after their series as players have a chance to step-back, heal and regroup. The Jackalopes will next be in action on February 28 as they travel to Shreveport, Louisiana for a weekend series against the Mudbugs.