ODESSA, TX — It was preseason, sure these games did not count. But tell that to the Jackalope players and their fans, all of whom left MCM Ice happy that Odessa earned a hard fought 3-2 victory over the New Mexico Ice Wolves last Saturday night.
It was a hard-nosed rough and tumble game that could sow the seeds of a budding rivalry between the two clubs (Odessa is New Mexico’s closest opponent).
After the Ice Wolves went out to an early 1-0 lead, the Jackalopes stormed back on a five-on-three man advantage and netted their first and only power-play goal of the night to tie the game 1-1.
In the second period, despite being out-shot, New Mexico took the lead 2-1 on an odd man rush, after the initial shot was saved it produced a rebound that was soon buried in the back of the net.
Going into the third period, the Jacks faced the exact opposite scenario to what they faced on Friday, a 2-1 deficit and only 20 minutes to claw back. It turns out they needed less than one.
Not long after the opening face-off of the period, the Jackalopes got possession and fed Matt Hutton streaking up the right side wall. Hutton sped down towards the goal as he entered the offensive zone and sent a quick wrist-shot that beat goaltender Henrik Laursen over his right shoulder.
Hutton’s second goal in as many nights came just 23 seconds into the thrid and tied the game 2-2. The Jacks added on another goal midway through the period courtesy of Jan Blasko.
Though the Ice Wolves pulled their goaltender late in an attempt the even the score, they never really threatened and the Jackalopes were able to hang on for the victory and the sweep.
With the victory, and the sweep, Odessa completes their preseason slate with a 2-0-2 record. Both losses came post-regulation (overtime and shootout) at the hands of the Shreveport Mudbugs. The Jackalopes will have a little over a week to recuperate before they start their regular season in earnest on September 18 at the North American Hockey League Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota against the Maine Nordiques.