TOPEKA, KS — For the second straight night in a row the Jackalopes fell to the Topeka Pilots 4-3. This night’s final was in regulation as the Jacks dropped their second straight at the Kansas Expocenter on Saturday night.
The Jacks and the exact start they wanted as they got out to a 1-0 lead 68 seconds into the game. Chasing down a dump-in Jan Blasko recover the puck in the corner. Under duress Blasko was able to send a perfect pass to Zach Heintz in the slot. Heintz went from his fore-hand to his back-hand and sent a shot passed Pilot netminder Emil Gransoe for his eighth goal of the year. Blasko’s assist on the play constituted his first point in his North American Hockey League career.
The Jackalopes struck again at the midway point of the period when, on a three-one-one, Carl Skarstrom sent a pass over to Jared Christy in front. Catching the pass on his back-hand, Christy roofed his shot into the top corner to give the Jackalopes a 2-0 lead which they held for the remainder of the first period.
In the second period the Pilots stormed back off of great individual efforts by Hugh Quinn and Kyler Yeo to tie the game 2-2.
Both teams had power plays in the second but could not convert on the man-advantage.
In the third period the Pilots took their first lead of the hockey game 3-2 off an excellent passing play between Joel Bradinger and Quinn Green.
The Pilots extended their lead to 4-2 after Brendan Shultz took advantage of a Jackalopes turnover midway though the third period.
But the Jacks were not done yet.
Patrick Dawson answered with his third goal of the season a few minutes later to make it 4-3. Dawson received a pass from Kyle Herbster and sent a hard point-shot that found it’s way in passed several bodies in front.
Odessa poured 20 shots on net in the third and had several chances in late with the net empty but could not find the equalizer in the final five minutes of regulation.
The loss drops the Jackalopes to 13-21-1-1 on the year. They will finish up their series with the Pilots (17-16-2-2) on Sunday afternoon at 2:05 pm.