Yesterday afternoon the Odessa Jackalopes took the ice for the first time this season. Their first opponent of the season was the defending Robertson Cup Champions. The New Jersey Titans entered the NAHL Showcase already 0-2 after being swept last weekend by the Maryland Black Bears. This game marked the first of four in a row at the Showcase for Odessa.
The first period was very back and forth as neither team was able to get on the board. The Jacks registered six shots on Zakari Brice. Whereas the Titans put up seven on NAHL rookie net-minder, Quentin Sigurdson.
The Titans ended the scoreless affair :52 seconds into the middle period. The first goal of the game came off the stick of Blake Farrel (1) after receiving a pass from Levente Keresztes. Later in the period the Jacks would tie the game after rookie Logan Ganz sniped one past the left glove of Brice. Ganz had this to say about his first NAHL goal, “The puck got poked out free in the neutral zone and I got a breakaway and buried it.” Once again both teams headed into the intermission tied. Odessa was leading in shots 16-15 through 40 minutes of action.
In the final period both teams continued their offensive pressure as well as physical play. The tied game would not be broken until there was less than a minute left to play in the period. After Ryan Kelly took a shot that ricochet off the end boards, Tanyon Bajzer swung at the bouncing rubber and converted his first goal of the season. Giving Odessa their first lead of the game. Also, their first power-play goal on the year. With very little time left in the game, the Titans pulled Brice in hopes of tying the game once again and force overtime. Though it would be to no avail. Meaning New Jersey is still in search of their first win (0-3) while Odessa starts 1-0. “Coach Deur bringing me in from Kenai and kind of just waiting for me to get that chance and believing in me from day one. Now it is just time for me to pay it back to him,” stated Bajzer regarding picking up right where he left off last season. The Jacks outshot the Titans 28-23. Odessa went 1/4 on the man advantage and New Jersey went 0/1.
Head Coach Scott Deur had this to say following his team’s season opening victory, “It felt like we were feeling each other out. I thought offensively we were pretty good. I’m excited for the next couple of days.” Odessa will now turn their attention to the Aberdeen Wings, who are 1-0 after beating the Fairbanks Ice Dogs on day one of the NAHL Showcase. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:15 pm CDT.