Odessa, TX – The Odessa Jackalopes opened their three-game weekend in conjunction with Shriners Hospitals with a 6-5 victory over the Wichita Falls Wildcats. Looking to still compete with the team right above them, the Jackalopes came out with some fire.
Wichita Falls had control through the first 9 minutes of the game, but the Jacks were the first to break through as Zac Herrmann flipped a shot on net from the left circle, bouncing off of Wichita Falls’, Evan Moyse, and into the net for the 1-0 lead.
Odessa would add another as Chase Thudium netted his first of the night three minutes later. A long stretch pass from Jake Levin found Thudium coming across the blue line, where he fended off a hooking and flipped one top shelf past Moyse for the two-goal lead.
Zach Zech would add a third unanswered goal three minutes after that on the Jacks first power play of the night. Ilya Skvortsov took a roughing call, allotting the Jackalopes the man advantage. Cooper Zech fed one to Zach for the one-timer to beat a screened Mouse for the third straight Jackalopes goal.
Fantastic, crisp touch passes from the Wildcats’ power play allowed Nick Rosa the wide open back door for the first Wichita Falls goal of the night.
The scoring wouldn’t stop there as Thudium would net his second of the opening period. Thudium played the puck off the board for Ludwig Stenlund before Stenlund fed it back to Thudium who redirected it to the top shelf for the 4-1 lead at the end of one. That would be the end of the night for Moyse as Wichita Falls would bring Jared Dempsey on in relief for the rest of the game.
The Wildcats scored two in the second thanks to Steven Tillie and Jonathan Waring, but they sandwiched a Chase Thudium goal, his third of the night. Thudium found a bouncing puck in front of the net that he snapped off to the top bar to beat Dempsey for his first NAHL hat trick, and the Jackalopes first hat trick since March 11th of last year when Hampus Sjodahl did it against the Lone Star Brahmas.
The Jacks would net one more at the start of the third as Zach Zech forced a turnover at the blue line and had a two-on-one breakaway with Connor Stuart stride-for-stride. Zech wrapped the puck around the defender and found Stuart crashing the back of the net, tipping it past Dempsey for the Jackalopes sixth goal.
Wichita Falls retaliated with two goals just over a minute apart to bring them within one before a Karim Del Ponte penalty with two minutes remaining left the Wildcats shorthanded for the rest of regulation.
The Jackalopes would run down time and finish the game off for the 6-5 victory to kick off Shriners Weekend at the Jack Shack. Chase Thudium and Ludwig Stenlund finished with 4 points a piece, earning them the #1 and #2 stars of the night respectively. Jon Flakne saved 30 of 35 shots he saw en route to his 8th victory of the year.
The Jacks and Wildcats get at it again tomorrow night when the teams play game 2 of 3 on the weekend. Puck will drop at 7:05 pm, with $1 beers for Party on the Patio beginning at 5 pm.
The 2017-2018 Odessa Jackalopes season tickets are on sale now! To reserve your seats, contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or log on to www.jackalopes.org for more information.