ODESSA, TX — It was perhaps the best game the Jackalopes played in quite some time. They showed resiliency, heart and intensity. Unfortunately it was not enough to overcome the Mudbugs (18-5-2-1) as the Jackalopes (7-16-2-1) fell by a score of 4-2 on Thursday night.
The contest start off in favor of Shreveport as they were able to net the first goal of the hockey game just 98 seconds in. But trailing, the Jackalopes rallied and started playing physical and fast-paced hockey as they earned several quality scoring chances. The best came on the power play as Tyler German nearly backhanded a puck into an open net. But while German failed to capitalize on that first attempt, he made no mistake later on the the period. Heady up ice on a rush with Gabe Bennett, he was fed a saucer pass over into the slot. German back-handed the puck off both posts and into the net to tie the game at 1-1.
The great monumentum goal was answered by Shreveport a few minutes later on a shot from the high slot that Connor Hasley partially saved but didn’t get enough of to put the Jackalopes down 2-1 going into the second period.
It was in that second period that the Jackalopes played their best hockey. Connor Hasley made highlight reel-quality save after save and Bennett was able break though Shreveport netminder Cole Hudson.
It was at the base of the right circle that Bennett intercepted an outlet pass. Skating to his left, he streaked into the low slot and slid the puck in between the legs of Hudson to tie the contest and pick up his 4th goal of the season and third in five games.
Odessa had momentum and confidence going into the third period tied 2-2. But the Mudbugs, who could be considered the best third period team in the South Division, showed off their age and experience that make them so hard to beat this year. Shreveport was able to re-establish the lead just over seven minutes in the third period and would not relinquish it for a third time. The Jackalopes, pulling the goalie, were unable to respond and the Mudbugs netted an empty-net goal for added insurance.
Though the 4-2 loss stings, there were plenty of positives to take away. Odessa played well, perhaps their best game of 2021, and the defensive corps looked strong as a whole, blocking shots in front and making things a little bit easier on Hasley, who himself made up for his slow start with outstanding saves in the second and third periods.
The Jackalopes will welcome in the New Mexico Ice Wolves for a two-game set starting on Friday night. Face-off is set for 7:15 pm.
Photo Credit: Danne´ Braden Photography