Odessa, Texas (DEC 11, 2015) – The Odessa Jackalopes (10-10-3) hoped a strong crowd and the Permian High School band in attendance would give them all the energy needed to earn a win at home Friday night, but a four-goal first period for the Topeka RoadRunners (18-11-0) proved to large of a deficit for the Jacks to overcome, falling 7-2 at Ector County Coliseum. The Runners win was its eighth straight and first against the Jacks.
The Topeka RoadRunners came into Friday’s game 12-1-0 when scoring first. On Friday, they exploded for four first-period goals, including two on the power play. Ryan O’Connor (5) scored the first goal of the game on a seeing-eye slap shot from the point 6:56. Yu Hikosaka (8) then broke through on the power play with bodies in front of Gunner Rivers at 12:29. Less than a minute later, Ryan O’Connor ended Rivers night with another long-distance shot with players impeding Rivers' view. After Matthew Rypien was charged with a five-minute game misconduct for Elbowing, Topeka capped off its four-goal period at 19:37 on the power play.
After Odessa burned off the remaining 3:57 on the Rypien’s elbowing penalty in the second, Hampus Sjodahl (12) finally got the Jacks on the board when he jammed-home a loose puck pinned against the far post at 17:37 to make it 4-1.
In the final period, Topeka put the game out of reach when Marcus Russel made it 5-1 at 5:35. Cooper Zech buried his third of the year at 7:45 on the penalty kill, but back-to-back Topeka power play tallies gave the Jacks their worst loss of the year, 7-2.
Rivers suffered his fourth defeat in a row in less than a period of work making 11 saves on 14 shots. Dean Shatzer made 19 saves on 24 shots in two and half periods of relief. On the other end, Juho Niku earned the win (4-1-1) making 19 saves on 21 shots.
Odessa ended the night 1-for-5 on the power play while Topeka went 4-for-9 on the man-advantage.
On Saturday, the Jacks and RoadRunners will wrap up their two-game series. Saturday in the annual Teddy Bear Toss. Fans are encouraged to bring a brand-new unused Teddy Bear or stuffed animal' to the game and throw it on the Ice when the Jacks score their first goal. If you forget, Bears will be available in the team store. All the Bears will be donated to local children for the holidays who otherwise wouldn’t have a gift. Santa Claus will also be in attendance Saturday night, plus, there will be a Permian Specialty Jersey Auction following the game. Get your tickets by calling 432.552.7825 or go to Jackalopes.org.
In 2015-16, the Odessa Jackalopes will embark upon their fifth season in the North American Hockey League and 19th in the Permian Basin. Season tickets are on sale now! To reserve your seats, contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or log on to www.jackalopes.org for more information.
Be sure to follow the Jackalopes on Twitter @LetsGoJacks all year long and don’t forget to ‘Like’ the official “Odessa Jackalopes” fan page on Facebook.
— ODESSA JACKALOPES —