NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX — The shots were plentiful but the goals were tough to come by as the Odessa Jackalopes (7-9-2-0) fell by a score of 2-1 to the New Mexico Ice Wolves (4-11-1-0) at the NYTEX Sports Center on Sunday afternoon.
Strong starts have normally been s staple of the Jackalopes this season, though that wasn’t the case on Sunday as Odessa took two penalties back-to-back in the first period to bring up a 40 second five-on-three disadvantage. It was during this penalty kill that the New Mexico power play, ranked 7th in the North American Hockey League, broke the scoreless deadlock to put the Ice Wolves up 1-0 in the mid-stages of the first period.
To their credit, the Jackalopes had a string start to the second period as they were able to capitalize on the power play of their own. Fletcher Anderson received a stellar pass into the right circle and sent a low, but hard, shot in on net that beat New Mexico goaltender Josh Graziano between the legs. Anderson’s tally marked the his sixth goal of the season and also ended a two game power play drought for the Jacks.
Since the goal, the Jackalopes offense started buzzing, getting shots and opportunities off of quality shifts that penned the Ice Wolves in their own zone. But they were unable to find the go-ahead goal. Instead it was New Mexico’s leading scorer, Spencer Rudrud, who was able to take advantage of a turn over in Odessa’s end and convert it into his sixth goal of the season.
Rudrud’s goal ended up being the difference maker as the Jackalopes had many more opportunities in the third but were continuously frustrated by Graziano and his defenders in front of the net. The Jackalopes finished the contest with 30 shots on net in total and were 1/3 on the power play. Connor Hasley made 20 saves in the loss for Odessa. While the loss to New Mexico stings, the Jackalopes will have time to re-set and ready themselves for the final game of the series with the Ice Wolves on Monday afternoon. Face-off is set for 2:15 pm.