Saturday, September 06, 2014



Goaltending shines and Jackalopes penalty killing puts in overtime in 2-1 loss


ODESSA, TX – Jackalopes fans packed into the Music City Mall in Odessa to see the Jacks take the ice for the first time this season. The Jacks hosted the Amarillo Bulls for the only preseason game of 2014. The Jackalopes were hoping to set the tone for the 2014-15 campaign with a win against one of their bitter rivals.


The game started out fast and physical, with both teams laying devastating body checks on one another, leading to a slew of penalties. It’s said that the best penalty killer is your goaltender, and that was certainly the case tonight for the Jackalopes. Swedish netminder Robin Johansson got the start tonight for Greg Gatto’s bunch, and he did not disappoint. Johansson sparkled in the opening frame keeping it at a 0-0 score through one period.


“Our goaltending was key tonight,” said Jackalopes Head Coach Greg Gatto. “They are certainly going to keep us in games and maybe single-handedly win us a few.”


In the second, the two teams saw a bit more five-on-five play that seemed to play in the Jackalopes favor. When Bulls forward Mitchell Vanderburgh was whistled for a slash, the Jacks took advantage on a power play. Alex Alger took a sweet, back-door pass from Razmuz Waxin-Engback to put the Jacks up 1-0. After another Jacks penalty, the Bulls power play finally broke through. Charlie Combs tied the game at 10:50. The goaltenders did not yield the rest of the period, and the game was tied 1-1 going into the third.


In the third, on another Bulls power play, defensemen Kyle Hartman ripped a shot from the point past Jacks goalie Parker Butler to put the Bulls ahead. Solid goaltending from NAHL veteran Joakim Jutras (ZEW-twah) kept the 2-1 advantage for the Bulls the rest of the way with some great stops on a Jackalopes power play late in the game. The Jacks dropped the regular season tune up to the Bulls 2-1, but Greg Gatto liked what he saw from his group.


“The boys played hard but with almost too much emotion in the first half of the game, which lead to some penalties. The power play and penalty kill got a lot of work and was solid for the most part. I was overall pretty pleased with our effort.”


The Jacks open the regular season next weekend in Wichita Falls. Jacks fans can listen to the game on Classic Rock 102.1 FM KFZX with Joey Battaino or watch on PPV FASTHockey. Game time is 7:05 CT.




In 2014-15, the Odessa Jackalopes will embark upon their fourth season in the North American Hockey League and 18th 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.