Last night the Jackalopes traveled to Wichita Falls, TX for the first time this season. At the time of puck drop, Odessa was ranked 5th in the South (2-2) and Wichita was 7th (1-2-1). This was also the first time this season both teams were facing a divisional opponent.
The first period did not see any scoring but did see some scoring chances. Odessa finished the period with nine shots. The Warriors had seven when the horn sounded. The pace of the game was very back and forth in the first 20 minutes. Alex Proctor came up big on a few saves to keep it a scoreless affair heading into the locker room for the first intermission.
In the middle period is when the light was finally lit. Chris Duclair (4) scored just 1:36 into the middle frame. He was able to drive hard to the net and flicked a back-hand shot past Matthew O’Donnell to give the Jacks a 1-0 lead. That would be only one of five shots the Jacks had in the second period. That also marked their fewest number of shots in any period this season. As for the Warriors, they recorded 14 shots in the period. With one of their shots reaching the back of the net. While on the power play, Ryan Robinson (2) beat Proctor with exactly one minute left to go in the period.
With another period starting off tied, 1-1, it was looking to be a fight to the finish. While Odessa finally started getting more of the frozen rubber towards O’Donnell, it was not until 10:21 into the final period when the tie would be broken. Justin Hughes managed to retrieve the puck off a rebound and deposit it into the back of the net. It not only gave the Jacks a 2-1 lead, but it was also his first NAHL goal. Within the final two minutes, Rylan Yates put the Jacks up by two after he scored his first NAHL goal while the Jacks were on the man-advantage. The Warriors went on to pull O’Donnell in hopes of mounting a comeback. It would be to no avail as the horn sounded ending game one on the weekend and giving the Jacks their third win this season. Wichita outshot Odessa 29-28 when it was all said and done.
The win moves Odessa into a tie with three other teams (New Mexico, El Paso, Lone Star) for second place in the South Division. It also made Proctor 3-0 this season (6GA, .931SV%). Game two is scheduled for tonight at 7:05pm CDT. Odessa swept Wichita last year during their first ever home opening weekend. Tonight, they look to play spoiler once again.