Yesterday the Jacks faced the El Paso Rhinos for the third time this season. Odessa has played the most games out of any South Division team with 16. El Paso entered the game in last place and with 12 games played. Prior to the Rhinos having off last week, they earned their first sweep in franchise history after beating Corpus Christi. The Jacks were coming off their home-opening weekend in which they picked up three out of six points.
In the opening period, Odessa flexed their muscle with six shots, but Lassi Lehti stopped them all. The Espoo, Finland native was playing in his 12th game of the season. El Paso was able to get on the scoresheet twice but not until there were less than two minutes left. The first goal of the game belonged to Nick Justice (1) wristed a shot from the top of the point that deflected off Alex Proctor’s stick and went in. The Rhinos would score again with only one second left on the clock. Their second goal came from Alex Krause (4) on the power play. The Rhinos finished the first period with nine shots.
The Jacks came out the following period by scoring three goals. Their most in the second period this season. Starting off the scoring was Evan Orr (2) after he beat Lehti from almost a horizontal angle. Close to three minutes later and it was J.R. Perdion (6) scoring his fourth power-play goal of the season. As the period was about to end, Nate Boak (1) received a pass from Rylan Yates and snapped the puck from just below the blue line into the back of the net. His power-play goal made it three-unanswered goals by Odessa to give them a 3-2 lead heading into the final period. The Jacks finished the middle frame with 13 shots and held El Paso to only four.
El Paso had their most shots of any period in the third with 12 but only scored once. Their goal only came after Ryan Mansfield (2) scored an empty-net goal to make it 4-2 Odessa. With :37 seconds left in the game the Rhinos were not backing down and converted on a turnover. Philip Quetell (5) pulled his team within one, but they would be unable to convert again. Giving Odessa a 4-3 win that keeps them atop the South Division. Both teams finished with 25 shots. Odessa went 2/6 on the power play and El Paso went 1/4.
With Yates picking up an assist it moves his point streak to 11 games (4g, 8a). He is now tied with Hampus Sjodahl (2015-16) for the second-longest point streak in the Jacks NAHL history. The longest is 17 games held by Derek Brown (2015-16). Yates had this to say about having that record within reach, “It would definitely be something cool to have but I think more importantly is that we got two points tonight. We want to go out tomorrow and finish it and get the sweep.” Head Coach Scott Deur stated this regarding his team’s bounce-back second period, “The message was I think we are outplaying them and if we continue to do what we do we will have success and they just kind of stuck to that.” The Jacks are 3-0 now against the Rhinos this season with game four tonight at 7 pm MDT. This will be the last game the Jacks play in El Paso during the regular season.