SHREVEPORT, LA — It was one of the more exciting games of the year and had everything you would want in a hockey game. Crazy goals, great saves, hard hits and a late finish. Unfortunately for the Jacks they came up on the short end of the stick as they fell to the Shreveport Mudbugs 4-3 in a shootout.
Shreveport scored first less then four minutes into the game to take a 1-0 lead after a feed in front found a wide-open Mudbug forward. But the Jackalopes later later advantage of a lucky bounce and an odd-man rush.
Jack Conroy came down the ice on a short-handed two-on-one. As he sent the pass over, it was deflected off the stick of a Shreveport defenseman and into the back of the net. Conroy’s goal, the 8th goal of the season for the Chicago native, tied the game 1-1.
The Jackalopes surged ahead to a 2-1 lead after Joseph Winkelmann corralled a bank-pass if the boards and stuffed a shot home from in front. Winkelmann’s goal not only gave Odessa a 2-1 lead but the tally also marked his 50th point in his first season in the North American Hockey League.
Shreveport tied the game late in the first period and then took the lead in the late stages of the second period. In the interim, big hits, scoring chances, and big saves were the norm as the game ebbed and flowed back and forth between the two teams.
Down 3-2, the Jacks surged in the third period and were the beneficiaries of another great play and a fortunate bounce.
After Shreveport goaltender Leo Schuard stopped the puck behind the net and played it to his defenseman Jacks forward Michael Sacco poke-checked the puck away from the d-man as he skated in front of his net. The puck trickled across the goal-line of the vacant goal before Schuard could return to his crease.
With the score tied 3-3 both teams fought to get the game-winner in the third but both goaltenders held their ground to the end of regulation.
In overtime the Jacks had a great chance to win as Carl Skarstrom had a breakaway from center-ice in. Skarstom tried a quick deke but was denied by Schuard. Odessa never really threatened beyond that in overtime and had to settle the game in the shootout.
The goalies were perfect in the shootout until the bottom of the third when CJ Regula shot the puck in close to beat Jacks goaltender Kade Phipps to win the game for Shreveport.
The Jackalopes will conclude their season next weekend in Odessa against the Amarillo Bulls.