This past Saturday the Jacks took on the El Paso Rhinos for the fourth time this season. Odessa won the previous night by a score of 4-2. Giving them a 3-0 record against El Paso this season and a 3-0 record on home ice. The win on Friday also moved the Jacks into sixth place which is one point ahead of the Rhinos.
The Rhinos went with Nolan Suggs between the pipes for the second-straight night. As for the Jacks, they started Quentin Sigurdson. It was Sigurdson’s first start since Oct. 15th against El Paso. Both teams put up over double-digit shots, but it was only El Paso that managed to get on the scoresheet. Their first goal came from their leading scorer, Bos Cosman (5), nine minutes into the opening period. It was the first time the Rhinos had a lead all weekend. The UMass commit once again found the back of the net after registering a power-play goal. That was the first time Cosman scored two goals in a game in his NAHL career. The Rhinos went into the first period intermission leading 2-0. However, Odessa was outshooting them 14-12.
The second period saw no scoring but once again the Rhinos recorded 12 shots. The Jacks were able to put up eight on Suggs, but he was able to fight them all off. When trailing after two periods, Odessa was 0-4. When leading through 40 minutes of play, El Paso was 1-1. The Rhinos were leading in shots 24-22.
El Paso registered their third goal nearly five minutes into the final period. Their goal was scored by Sam Blanton (1). After the puck was reset at center ice, Mason Kelly and Andrew Stacey dropped the gloves. Both were able to land some punches and eventually, Stacey got the takedown. However, both would be ejected from the game. While the fight electrified the crowd, El Paso once again found the back of the net. This time it came off the stick of Hunter Fetterolf (1). With Odessa facing a 4-0 deficit and slightly more than three minutes left in regulation, Head Coach Scott Deur pulled Sigurdson resulting in Kolby Amici (4) scoring an empty-net goal. It is the ninth time the Jacks have allowed an empty-net goal this season. The Jacks though continued to challenge El Paso and were rewarded with their first goal with just under 30 seconds remaining. Ending the hopes of a shutout for Suggs. The Jacks only goal was scored by Emerson Goode (10). El Paso went on to win the game 5-1 and outshot Odessa 37-31. It also marked the first Rhinos win against a South Division team other than Corpus Christi. The win moves El Paso back into sixth place and one point ahead of Odessa.
Odessa now must turn their attention to the Oklahoma Warriors. The Jacks will play the Warriors for four-straight games. Starting this Thursday and Friday in Oklahoma. It is also the final road trip of 2022 for the Jacks. Oklahoma is sitting in second place in the South (12-2-0-1, 25pts) and has the most goals (62) and the largest goal differential (32) in the division. Head Coach Scott Deur had this to about going up against Oklahoma for the first time this season, “They are playing some of the best hockey we will have seen so we have to make sure we are ready to go.” When asked if the late goal by Goode generates some confidence going into four-straight against the Warriors, Scott Deur stated this, “Just glad we got some carrots back.” Puck drop for the Thursday and Friday games in Oklahoma is scheduled for 7:15 pm CDT.
Photo credit: Danne Braden