The Jacks hosted the New Mexico Ice Wolves for the first time this season. The season series is split 1-1, with both games being decided by one goal. New Mexico entered the Ector County Coliseum last night with the best goalie in the NAHL. Beni Halasz is the only goalie under a 2.00 goals-against average. He is also tied for first with the most shutouts (3). The Ice Wolves have allowed the fewest goals in the league heading into last night’s matchup (58).
Odessa came out hungry in the first period as they applied relentless pressure on Beni Halasz. It was the first time Halasz was going up against the Jacks. Odessa’s pressure paid off as Ryan Mansfield (4) put the frozen rubber past Halasz from just above the crease. The Jacks would carry their 1-0 lead into the locker room after 20 minutes. They were also leading in shots, 12-9.
The only period New Mexico outshot Odessa in was the second, 13-12. The Jacks were able to go up by a pair after Tanyon Bajzer (3) redirected John Christen’s shot from the blue line. His goal came 7:10 into the middle period. The Ice Wolves were backing down easily as they answered with two-straight goals to tie the game. Brayden Ring (3) scored the Ice Wolves’ first goal which cut the Jacks lead in half. With less than three minutes left before the end of the period, William Howard (12) would score for New Mexico to make it 2-2 after 40 minutes of play.
Odessa started the third period with a power-play that they would convert on just :59 seconds into the final period. Nick Ahern (1) snapped the puck from the right circle to regain the lead for Odessa. It was the second-straight game that the Jacks have registered a power-play goal. Ahern had this to say about his first NAHL goal, “Duclair and I were playing catch and I saw my guy cheated up a little bit towards Banquier more than he probably should have and I saw a lane through his legs and just fired it.” New Mexico would end up pulling Halasz to put on an extra attacker. It would not pay off as Ryan Mansfield (5) scored on the empty net while even being tripped in the process. The horn would finally sound resulting in a 4-2 Odessa win. The Jacks outshot the Ice Wolves 38-28. Alex Proctor made 26 saves to earn his 13th win on the season.
The Jacks were able to snap the Ice Wolves’ two-game win streak. The Ice Wolves went 0/3 on the power play and the Jacks went 1/1. Head Coach Scott Deur had this to say about his team putting up more shots through 60 minutes, “We are starting to turn in the right direction.” Both teams enter game two tonight tied for second place in the division. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:15 pm CDT.
Photo credit: Danne Braden