Jackalopes fall to Wichita Falls 3-1 in weekend opener

WICHITA FALLS, TX — Things started off well for the Jackalopes. They played solid, winning hockey for over two periods. But like last Saturday, the Odessa Jackalopes continued to be frustrated by a hot Wichita Falls goaltender. Odessa fell to Wichita Falls 3-1 on Friday night at the Kay Yeager Coliseum.

Odessa looked like the stronger team right from the get-go as they were breaking up passes through the middle and into the slot areas, as well as taking away time and space from the Warriors, playing an “in your face” brand of hockey that frustrated the Wichita Falls squad so used to using their speed and quick passes to create chances.

The first goal of the contest came just over four minutes in as Dayne Hoyord forced a turnover at his own blue line and skated up the right-wing side. Hoyord had room to shoot and let loose a hard wrist shot as he skated into the offensive zone and hit the right circle. The shot flew over the blocker of Owen Bartoszkiewicz and into the back of the net. Up 1-0, the Jackalopes had a few chances to close out the first period but really started to find thier offensive rhythm in the second period.

In the middle period the Jackalopes out-shot Wichita Falls 9-1, aided by four power plays. Odessa had many great opportunities but, like Saturday night at the JackShack, Odessa continued to be frustrated by Bartoszkiewicz who saved anything his penalty killers didn’t block or intercept.

The third saw much of the same in the early goings, for every chance Wichita Falls had, the Jackalopes answered with a chance of their own. The Warriors however kept pressing and were able to tie the game off a great individual effort by William Lawson-Body, the overtime hero from Saturday night.

With the game tied 1-1, the Jackalopes faced a strong push by Wichita Falls. The Warriors were able to break through after a shot from the near left boards caught a piece of Odessa goaltender Noah Rupprecht’s arm and deflected into the back of the net to put the Warriors up 2-1.

Now trailing, the Jackalopes went into attack mode and had several looks at the net late in the third. But unlike Monday in Amarillo, they were unable to find the late goal. Wichita Falls was able to score again after a penalty shot was awarded on an empty net. An automatic goal was awarded because of the situation, solidifying Wichita’s 3-1 win.

The loss marked the first time in three games that Odessa and Wichita Falls did not require overtime or a shootout to settle a game. And while the loss hurts, the young Jackalopes squad can take heart that they were the better team for most of the contest, all that is left for them to do is put forward a complete game.

The Jackalopes will look to do just that on Saturday night as they search for the weekend split against the Warriors.