ODESSA, TX— As the goal-horn sounded on Sunday night, the Jackalopes fans let out a roar of jubilation. Not only had the Jacks completed their first weekend sweep of the season, but it came in a three-game set against a top opponent in their division.
The Jacks defeated the Topeka Pilots 3-2 after a flawless shootout performance.
Things though did not start off that well for Odessa.
The Pilots took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission after dominating for much of the opening 20 minutes.
The Jackalopes, hampered by numerous penalties struggled at times to swing momentum in their side.
They finally did when, after killing off a Topeka power play, Jared Christy found himself on a two-on-one with Matt Minerva. Christy fed a pass to a streaking Minerva who deked to his back-hand and tucked the puck in behind Pilots goaltender Sam Metcalf.
Minerva’s second goal in two games tied the contest 1-1.
Both sides traded chances but the Pilots finally broke through on their fourth power play of the game. After a Topeka shot produced a rebound that landed right in front of Topeka forward Quinn Green who deposited the puck into a wide-open net. Green’s 7th goal of the season gave Topeka a 2-1 lead that it would keep for the remainder of the period.
In the third period the Jacks, like they have all series long, battled hard. Just like last night the Jackalopes found a way to break even.
Defenseman James Crossman, playing in his 101st North American Hockey League game, picked off a weak clearing attempt after a goalmouth scramble. Because Metcalf sold out to protect the right side, the left side of the goal was wide open.
Crossman made no mistake in shooting the puck into a wide-open net to tie the game 2-2 with just over seven minutes to play.
The game headed to overtime for the second straight night after some quality chances late for both teams.
Overtime ended with no one scoring with the shots on goal in the extra session tied 4-4.
With the score still tied, a shootout was imminent.
Kade Phipps stopped the first Topeka shooter which set the stage for Jared Christy who lit the lamp with a nifty move that beat Metclaf low.
On the second Topeka shot Phipps came up with a solid glove save on Michael Muschitiello.
That put the game on the stick of Michael Sacco. Sacco took the puck up the middle slowly, and after a quick shimmy-shake move sent in a shot that beat Metcalf low to secure the victory.
The win puts the Jacks at 7-8-1 overall on the year and 3-1-0 at the Ector County Coliseum. More importantly the sweep also puts Odessa in a tie for 5th place in the NAHL South Division.
The Jacks will travel to Shreveport next week for a two game series, puck-drop is set for 7:11 pm on Friday and Saturday.