Jacks Fall to Rhinos, 3-1

The Jacks entered game two coming off their 7th-straight game in which the outcome was decided by one goal. The 4-3 win improved their record to 11-5-0-1 (23pts). The loss gave the Rhinos a record of 5-7-1 (11pts). The 22 save night by Proctor improved his record this season to 9-2-0-1. Moving him into a four-way tie for most wins by a goalie this season. Last night was the last time the Jacks would be in El Paso for the regular season. Odessa was seeking to sweep the same team twice in one season for the first time since 2017-18.


In the opening period, the Jacks were quick to gain offensive time on attack. They kept the pressure on Lassi Lehti, who was playing in his 11th-straight game for the Rhinos. With just under five minutes left to go in the period, Emerson Goode (7) snapped the puck past Lehti for the first goal of the game. Although, El Paso would pick up an equalizer with 1:08 left in the period. The Rhinos first goal scorer of the night was Nick Turek (2). There were no penalties called in the first period. The Rhinos led in shots 13-12 heading into the first intermission.


The Rhinos gained the lead for the first time in the game after Matt Johnson (3) beat Noah Rupprecht. The physical play picked up throughout the middle frame. Just past the halfway point in the period and the Jacks found themselves with their first fight of the season. Justin Hughes squared up against Spencer Bellina and after a few left shots from Hughes, the officials came in and separated the two. Both received a five-minute fighting major and 10-minute fighting misconduct. The Rhinos continued their attack in the late stages of the period and after a scramble in front of Rupprecht, Bo Cosman (2) scored with 0.8 seconds left on the clock. The Jacks outshot the Rhinos in the second period, 15-14.


With only 20 minutes left in regulation, the Rhinos were doing everything they could to win their first game against the Jacks this season. There were more altercations throughout the final period as things continued to heat up amongst the players. Towards the end of the game, the Jacks found themselves on a 5-on-3 power play. Head Coach Scott Deur even pulled Rupprecht during it in hopes of tying the game. Unfortunately, the Jacks were unsuccessful on the two-man advantage and on a later power play that they went on with only :30 seconds left. Resulting in a 3-1 Rhinos victory. Odessa outshot El Paso, 39-36. Odessa went 0/4 on the night on power play opportunities. El Paso never had a power play all game.


While this is the Rhinos first season in the NAHL there is a rivalry brewing between them and the Jacks. The next four meetings between these two teams will all be in the month of December and at the Ector County Coliseum. With the final game being on New Year’s Eve. The Jacks are still in first place but only by a point over the Amarillo Wranglers. Amarillo plays third-place New Mexico later today. Odessa will start their 12-straight homestand next weekend against the Wranglers. They are the only team from the South that the Jacks have yet to play. Next weekend will be Military Appreciation weekend as the Jacks will wear specialty jerseys that will later be auctioned off. All home games for the Jacks this season are scheduled for 7:15 pm CDT.