The Jacks went up against the best team from the East Division, the Maryland Black Bears (3-0-1, 7pts). Odessa was coming off their first loss of the season, after Springfield beat them 3-1. As for the Black Bears, they entered the game with a perfect record while at the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, MN. This was the third-straight game in which the Black Bears would face a team from the South Division. They also entered tonight’s game with two separate players riding a four-game point streak, both of which have nine points (Luke Van Why, and Ryan Bottrill).
In the first period Maryland started off with a lot of pressure on Alex Proctor, and eventually would beat him for the game’s first goal. Jacob Brockman (2) snapped one past the glove hand of Proctor just 10:22 into the opening period. About five minutes later, Trevor Taulien would answer for Odessa as he scored his first NAHL goal. In the final minutes of the period, Liam O’hare (2) found the loose puck below the left circle and fired it from an awkward angle. The puck was able to find the back of the net to give the Jackalopes a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission. O’hare had this to say about his second goal this season, “It was a great play by J.R. and I didn’t think he was really going to shoot it. Caught me a bit off guard but managed to put in.” Odessa outshot Maryland, 12-9, through the first 20 minutes of action.
The middle period may not have seen any goals but there sure was a lot of action. Odessa registered 14 shots during the period. Whereas Maryland recorded nine. It was clear that even though Odessa was leading, Maryland was not going to go down without a fight. Both teams had multiple scoring chances along with big hits. The scoreless second period setup for one of the most fantastic third period’s Odessa has played so far this season.
It only took four minutes into the third period for there to be a new goal scorer. Chris Duclair (2) turned on the jets as he entered the offensive zone and slipped the frozen rubber right past netminder, Michael Morelli. In the second half of the final period, Maryland appeared to not let their foot off the gas as they kept Odessa hemmed in their own zone for a large portion of it. A big reason why Maryland only finished the period with 12 shots is because Tanyon Bajzer had at least five blocked shots. Some even coming one after another. Odessa totaled 17 shots when the final horn sounded, and their last shot found the back of the empty net thanks to Emerson Goode (4). He has six points in his first three NAHL games. The Black Bears managed to score again in the final seconds of regulation to make the final, 4-2. The Jacks handed the Black Bears their first regulation loss on the season.
Head Coach Scott Deur had this to say about what that win meant for his team heading into their final game at the NAHL Showcase, “It was nice to get that win. I thought the guys played well especially in the second period. I felt that we were moving our feet, although we did not get a goal out of it, I think that was probably our best period.” Less than 12 hours later and the Jackalopes will be back in action against the Jamestown Rebels. It will be the final game at the Showcase for the Jackalopes. Puck drop is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. CDT and you can catch the action live on HockeyTV.