Jacks fall to Shreveport in series opener

ODESSA, TX — For two periods the game was progressing in Odessa’s favor. Yes, two leads had evaporated but the Jacks were getting a majority of the shots and the scoring chances. If things kept up, Odessa would’ve likely been heading toward a close finish and possibly a weekend opening victory.

Instead the Shreveport Mudbugs (2-1-0-0) erupted for five goals in the third period to defeat the Odessa Jackalopes (3-2-0-0) 7-3 at the Ector County Coliseum on Friday night.

The contest started off well for the Jackalopes as they played most of the first period in Shreveport’s end, at one point the Jackalopes were out-shooting the Mudbugs by a 3-1 margin. Odessa just had one goal to show for their efforts however as Ben Doherty received a cross-ice pass from the left half-boards to the bottom of the right circle. Doherty made no mistake with his one-timer and his first of the season put the Jacks up 1-0 after the first period.

In the second period, the Mudbugs erased the lead in the first six minutes of play as they were able to capitalize on a similar play that resulted in Doherty’s goal. The Jackalopes responded less than a minute later though thanks to Brian Bird’s first goal of the season as he found a seam up the middle and was able to send an accurate shot on net as two Shreveport defenders closed in on him in the high slot.

But the 2-1 Jackalopes lead only lasted for half of a period as the Mudbugs were able to score from a short angle in the late stages of the second to tie the contest at 2-2. What was perhaps the decisive moment of the game happened in the second period as Shreveport netminder Cole Hudson made an outstanding save on a Jackalopes odd-man-rush, thus denying Jackalope forward Lucas Coon his first goal of the season. Had Coon scored on that play, momentum might have turned in the Jacks’ favor. Instead, momentum remained with Shreveport as they took a tied 2-2 hockey game into the third period.

The Jackalopes offense had scored seven goals in the third period coming into Friday night. But they only managed one. Shreveport, who had never held a lead coming into Friday, took the lead in the third period and never looked back. Two goals separated by just six seconds gave the Bugs a 4-2 lead and they added one more a few minutes later to make it 5-2.

The Jackalopes struck back at the 18:00 mark thanks to Fletcher Anderson’s fourth goal of the year to pull within two, but Shreveport answered back with two more goals in the final minute of regulation. One of those goals was scored on an empty net. The Jackalopes ended up the night leading the shot count 32-20.

While the loss stings, the Jackalopes are eager to come back and earn a weekend split on Saturday night against the Bugs. Face-off for Saturday’s contest is set for 7:15 pm.