Jacks earn point in 4-3 shootout loss



Feb. 2, 2013



Peplinski’s late goal forces OT, Jacks fall to Wildcats in eight-round shootout.


ODESSA, TX– In the finale of their 2013 “Pink in the Rink” weekend, the Odessa Jackalopes forced overtime thanks to a late Jimmy Peplinski goal and earned one point in the NAHL standings courtesy of a 4-3 shootout loss to the Wichita Falls Wildcats Saturday at Ector County Coliseum. With the shootout loss, the Jacks improved to 6-34-3 overall this season and with 15 points, remain alone in sixth place in the NAHL’s South Division standings.

The Jacks started the scoring at 7:51 of the opening period when Josh Racek netted his sixth goal of the season on a juicy rebound chance that followed a Cody Slocum point shot with Lawrence Cornellier picking up the secondary assist on the play. Wichita Falls’ response came quickly, as George Pagonis leveled the score at 14:23, courtesy of an Eliot Grauer assist.

Odessa’s Mike Mezzano upped the ante at 15:50, when the Woodbury, Minnesota native clapped home his third goal of the season from the right point on feeds from Peplinski and Brett Wagner to stake the Jacks to a 2-1 lead. Refusing to go away, the ‘Cats once more tied the game at 16:51 when Will Vosejpka scored with assists coming courtesy of Pagonis and Matt Robinson.

Wichita Falls picked up the pace in the second, taking their first lead of the game in the period’s final minute on Grauer’s first goal of the weekend, a dazzling stickhandling fake that led to a high-glove wrister and the winger’s 15th score of the season. After a lengthy scoring drought in the third, a tight-checking game finally gave way to Peplinski’s third goal of the year, a third-effort rebound marker, from Dylan Campbell and Wagner that forced Odessa’s first overtime situation since late October.

After a scoreless extra session, the Jackalopes embarked on just their second shootout of the year, and after eight rounds, finally succumbed to Wichita Falls in the seventh of twelve scheduled head-to-head meetings between the two teams this year. In his second straight start in net for the Jacks, Lacrosse, Wisconsin native Nick Deery stopped a single-game 2012-13 personal-best 46 saves on 49 shots faced to improve to 4-8-1 in 16 total NAHL appearances this year.

Next up for the Jacks, it’s a weekday split-series vs. the Corpus Christi IceRays with the opening faceoff set for 7:05 pm on Wednesday at the American Bank Center on the Texas gulf coast.

In 2012-13, the Odessa Jackalopes drop the puck on their second season as a member of the North American Hockey League. Season ticket packages for the Jacks’ sophomore campaign are available now starting at just $179. 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 season long and don’t forget to ‘Like’ the official “Odessa Jackalopes” fan page on Facebook.