Odessa, TX (September 23, 2016) – In what could possibly be the hardest test of this early NAHL season, the Odessa Jackalopes faced off against the reigning Robertson Cup champions, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.
The Ice Dogs took their first loss of the season yesterday, falling to the Austin Bruins by a score of 3-2 in overtime. The Jackalopes were looking to jump on the train and take down Fairbanks for a second straight game.
The game was filled with hits and blocked shots by both teams. In the first period, Fairbanks blocked as many shots as Odessa got to the net. With only 8 shots on net, Odessa needed to find a way to get shots to the net, hopefully past the goaltender.
The second period picked up the intensity and more hits were laid down. The Jackalopes changed their gameplan in order to get more shots to the goal, outshooting the Ice Dogs 18 to 13 in the period. There were plenty of rebounds given out, with Fairbanks goaltender, Jared Dempsey, only being able to corral a first shot a handful of times.
The Jackalopes started crashing the net on all their shots, and finally were able to take advantage with 15 seconds remaining in the period. Jaden Anderson was able to find the back of the net after a flurry of blocked shots, all of which bounced out for rebound attempts.
Entering the third period with a 1-0 lead was all the Jackalopes needed. Goaltender Jonny Hogue and the defense shut down the powerful Fairbanks offense. A penalty by Chris Donaldson ended up working in Odessa’s favor, as Cooper Zech took the puck away with forecheck pressure and another rebounded shot for Chase Thudium went in, giving the Jackalopes a 2-0 lead.
The play of the game goes to Hogue. Late in the third period, Hogue had the puck behind the net and when a clean passing lane, he turned and prevented the forecheck pressure by stepping up, and pushing a Fairbanks player out of the way.
“I just got caught up a little bit with the puck, and I wasn’t really able to make the play I wanted to behind the net, and I didn’t see a pass available. So I saw their big man coming right at me so I figured I have to do something. So I tried pushing him away from the puck so my D-man could grab it,” proclaims Hogue.
The Ice Dogs pulled their goalie for the last 2 ½ minutes of the game, and with 46 seconds left, Connor Wood fired a shot about 160 feet down the ice that got up on edge, and rolled it’s way into an empty net. That was the clincher as the Jackalopes outscored Fairbanks 3-0, despite being outshot 34-33.
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