Jacks Complete Comeback in OT to Beat Amarillo, 5-4

Last night the Jacks faced the Amarillo Wranglers for their first road trip of 2022. Odessa entered the game in second place and only one point ahead of Amarillo in the standings. The season series was split, 1-1, heading into last night’s matchup. The Wranglers are winless in their last four games whereas the Jacks are coming off an eight-goal performance against the El Paso Rhinos on NYE.


In the opening period, Odessa came out strong by putting up 14 shots on Max Gutjahr. As for the Wranglers, they registered 10 on Alex Proctor, who was playing in his sixth-straight game. It was the only period that the Jacks outshot the Wranglers. Odessa was able to convert on one of their shots as Ryan Kusler (3) beat Gutjahr just over six minutes into the period. The score would remain 1-0 in favor of Odessa when the horn sounded ending period number one.


The second period is when the Wranglers took charge of the game. They recorded 27 shots in the middle frame which is their most in any period this season. Amarillo was able to tie the game at the 12:09 mark of the second period. Jayden Price went around Proctor’s net but was tripped by Proctor, so a delayed penalty was called against Odessa. Proctor though ended up getting hurt on the play and since the Jacks never touched the puck play continued and TJ Koufis (3) converted on an easy empty-net goal. Proctor would end up leaving the game about 12 minutes into the second period. Replacing him was Noah Rupprecht, who has not been in action since December 4th versus El Paso. As the period was winding down, Evan Orr took an unsportsmanlike conduct minor that put the second-ranked power play team onto the ice. The Wranglers leading scorer Kristaps Skrastins (20) gave his team their first lead of the game as he scored with only 1.5 seconds left on the clock. After 40 minutes of play, the Wranglers were leading 2-1 and outshooting the Jacks, 37-22.


Within the first three minutes of the final period, Dominic Schimizzi (8) would put the Wranglers up by a pair. However, just 34 seconds later Dayne Hoyord (11) would pull Odessa back within one. Amarillo would once again go up by two after Logan Cleary (8) put the puck past Rupprecht on his far side. The Jacks were not going down without a fight. Ryan Kusler (4) found the back of the net for the second time in the game. That was also the first multi-goal game of his NAHL career. He made it a one-goal game with about 10 minutes left in regulation. His goal also marked the 100th goal for Odessa this season. They are now the fastest Jackalopes team to 100 goals. Adding to that was Ryan Kelly (6) as he was able to tie the game with close to five minutes remaining. The final period ended in a 4-4 tie sending the game into overtime. After 60 minutes of hockey, Amarillo was leading in shots, 50-33. It was also their most shots in a game this season.


Odessa was 4-1 in overtime whereas Amarillo was perfect with a 2-0 record. While both teams picked up a point there was still one more up for grabs. The three skaters that started the extra period of hockey for Odessa never left the ice. A big save by Rupprecht produced a breakout the other way for Odessa which led to J.R. Perdion (9) scoring from the right circle 38 seconds into the overtime. Making the comeback complete and keeping the Jacks in second place heading into game two tonight. The Wranglers outshot the Jacks, 52-34. Amarillo went 1/3 on the power play and Odessa went 0/1. Both Proctor and Rupprecht finished the game with 24 saves. Odessa and Amarillo conclude their weekend series tonight at 7:05 pm CDT.