Last night the Jacks faced the Shreveport Mudbugs for the fifth time this season. Odessa entered this weekend with a perfect record against Shreveport this season (4-0). The Jacks were coming off a bye weekend whereas the Mudbugs swept Corpus Christi and were in search of their fourth-straight win. Odessa started last night’s games tied with Wichita Falls for third place in the South Division at 53 points. Shreveport was right behind both with 49. The Mudbugs have games in hand on the entire South Division and last night was only their 45th game of the season.
While these two teams have not played each other since Thanksgiving, the physicality was very much present. There was a hit from Logan Valkama, 13 seconds into the opening period, on Desmond Johnson that knocked his helmet off. Valkama was given a minor penalty for head contact, but the Jacks were unable to convert on their first man advantage. Later in the period, the Mudbugs would go on the power play and capitalize on it. Connor Gatto (13) beat Alex Proctor after he found the loose puck at the top of Proctor’s crease. That would be the only goal scored during the first period. Not only were the Mudbugs leading but they were also outshooting Odessa, 12-3. It was the fewest number of shots the Jacks had put up in the first period all season.
The middle period saw a combined six goals. It started with Logan Furstenau (3) scoring three minutes into the period. Ryan Mansfield (9) cut the lead in half 49 seconds later. Shortly past the halfway point of the period, Mansfield (10) once again beat Devon Bobak to tie the game. Furstenau (4) would score his second of the game at the 13:27 mark of the middle frame. Within the final minutes of the period, Burke Simpson scored two goals in the span of 33 seconds. Giving him 10 goals this season. One of his goals came shorthanded. It was only the third short-handed goal for the Mudbugs all year. It was also only the third time that Odessa has allowed a short-handed goal. Shreveport went into the second-period intermission with a 5-2 lead and was still outshooting Odessa, 31-16.
Odessa was doing everything they could to get back into the game but with less than six minutes left Timofei Khokhlachev (10) scored to make it 6-2. The Jacks were not going down without a fight, as they had a power play late in the game and were able to convert on it. The goal was scored by Ryan Kelly (10) with 54 seconds left on the clock. While the Jacks were able to pull within three, time would expire giving Shreveport their fourth win in a row. It also marked their first win against Odessa this season. Shreveport ended with 36 shots and Odessa had 23. The Jacks went 1/6 on the power play and the Mudbugs went 1/4.
After ending 2021 with a record of 18-10-1-1, the Jacks are now 24-18-1-4. Shreveport ended the first half of the season with an overall record of 11-12-1-3 and is now 23-17-1-4. They sit two points back of Odessa for fourth place in the South. The Warriors lost in a shootout to Corpus Christi last night so now the Warriors hold sole possession of third place with 54 points. Shreveport will take the ice tonight in search of their fifth win in a row for the second time in 2022. As for Odessa, they are on a four-game losing streak (0-3-0-1) for the second time in 2022. Tonight’s puck drop is scheduled for 7:11 pm CDT.