ODESSA, TX — Friday night’s game between the Odessa Jackalopes ( 6-8-1-1) and the Shreveport Mudbugs (11-6-0-0) seemingly had everything. It had hits, it had goals, it had great saves, it had fights, it had drama and it had the home crowd going home happy.
The Jackalopes defeated the Mudbugs 3-2 at the Ector County Coliseum on Friday night. In the first meeting between the two teams, Odessa excelled in multiple areas.
The Jackalopes took a 1-0 lead early in the first period, after a dump in was misplayed by the Shreveport goaltender. Maiszon Balboa turned the puck over in behind to Ben Thomas who took the puck and quickly slit it into a wide-open net.
Thomas, who scored his first goal as a Jackalope last Saturday, extended a goal-scoring streak to two games with his first tally. It would not be his last.
Later on in the period, after the Jackalopes killed off a penalty, Thomas sprung Aeden Drossos with a pass soon after Drossos left the penalty box. Drossos skated down the left side on a two-on-one and then rifled a shot into the top corner. Drossos’ fourth goal of the year extended the Jackalopes’ lead to 2-0. Odessa also had two fights in the first 20 minutes which brought the crowd to a frenzy.
The second period was just as exciting as the last. It was highlighted by Aaron Randazzo’s 16 saves in the period, including several big ones on the penalty kill, to keep the Mudbugs off the board. In addition the Jacks extended their lead with Thomas’s second goal of the night, this time coming on the power play.
The Jacks took a 3-0 lead into the second period, but it was then that the Mudbugs made their move. Back-to-back power play goals for Shreveport in the early stages of the third put the Jacks against the wall. With their lead shrunk down to 3-2, the Jackalopes defense, anchored by strong play from Randazzo, settled things down and the Jackalopes weathered the storm. With Randazzo making several clutch saves late, the Jackalopes held on for their second home victory of the season and their first against Shreveport.
The win puts the Jackalopes in a position to sweep the Mudbugs for the first time since March 8 and 9 of last season. Face-off for Saturday’s game is set for 7:15 pm.