Jacks earn first preseason win, defeat New Mexico 2-1

ODESSA, TX — It was a hard fought but well deserved exhibition win for the Jackalopes who defeated the New Mexico Ice Wolves 2-1 on Friday night at the MCM Ice Arena at the Music City Mall.

After a short feeling out process it was the Jackalopes striking first on the power play as Matt Hutton found himself on a breakaway and made a nifty move to put Odessa on top 1-0.

Though the Jackalopes surrendered the lead early in the second period, they stormed back to take control. Odessa out-shot New Mexico in the second 13-7. The Jackalopes were also able to take the lead of a nifty play from Connor Scahill who made a brilliant pass to Vilho Saariluoma in front to put tap home his first of the preseason and put the Jacks up 2-1.

Despite a flurry of chances for New Mexico in the third, the Jackalopes held on for the 2-1 victory, their first of the preseason and first under new head coach Todd Watson.

“We got to keep getting better. I think we’re better then we were last weekend so that’s a good step.” Watson said. “We’ve got to keep getting better, we’ve got a long way to go. So far, and we’re going to keep chugging along.”

The Jackalopes came into this weekend series following two post-regulation losses to the Shreveport Mudbugs last weekend in Louisiana.

The Jackalopes fell in both preseason games last weekend. The Friday night’s final was a 2-1 overtime loss while Saturday was a 4-3 loss in the shootout.

Friday night saw a defensive match up and a goaltender duel between Mudbugs goaltender Maizon Balboa and Jacks net minder Zach Stern. The Jacks struck first late in the second period to take a 1-0 lead before the Bugs stormed back on and netted a power-play goal off of a shot from the point.

Overtime lasted less than a minute before the Mudbugs capitalized on an Odessa turnover and went down the ice on a two-one-one and scored to secure the victory. Despite the loss, Stern made over 40 saves in the outing.

Saturday afternoon’s contest started much better for the Jacks as they quickly got out to a 2-0 lead, that was until the Bus stormed back to tie in the second period. Tied going into the third the Jackalopes once again took the lead early in the final period but Shreveport tied the score 3-3 at exactly the ten minutes mark of the third.

With no one being able to score in the final minutes, the game went to overtime. Odessa had several chances to score the game winner and even hit a few posts but could not find the back of the net. With no scoring in the three-on-three overtime, the game had to be decided in a shootout. The Mudbugs emerged victorious after eleven rounds.

The Jackaloes will close out their preseason slate at MCM Ice at 7:00 pm against the Ice Wolves, admission to the event is free.