For the last time this season, the Jacks took the ice in front of their hometown crowd. It was also the final meeting between them and Shreveport. Odessa entered last night’s game leading the season series 4-3. All four wins for Odessa came in 2021. Shreveport was a win away from reaching the Robertson Cup playoffs. They are the defending champions and won it all in 2018. The Jacks have not made the playoffs since the 2017-18 season.
Knowing what is at stake, both teams started out the game last night very aggressively. Every player was finishing their checks and sacrificing their body to deny the puck from reaching their goalie. With a very back and forth first period, both teams went into the locker room without registering a goal. Shreveport put up four shots and Odessa had nine.
The scoreless game was finally broken at the 3:14 mark of the second period. William Marshall won an offensive zone draw allowing Chris Duclair (21) to fire a wrist shot up top on Devon Bobak. It was the first lead for the Jacks all weekend. Even though not many shots were getting on target on both ends of the ice, the Mudbugs did manage to tie the game. With almost four minutes remaining in the period, Garrett Steele (11) would find the equalizer for Shreveport. Once again both sides went into an intermission at a tied game. Odessa was out shooting Shreveport, 14-11.
In the final period, Shreveport only put up four shots on Alex Proctor, however one got past him. Shreveport gained the lead after Lukas Sedlacek (13) redirected a shot from Davis Goukler. Odessa continued to apply pressure on the defending champs but while Shreveport did bend, they did not break. The Jacks pulled Proctor late in regulation as Odessa was trailing 2-1 with their playoff hopes on the line. They continued to get fantastic scoring chances but were constantly denied by either a blocked shot or a save from Bobak. The clock eventually hit zero giving Shreveport the 2-1 win but also earning them the final playoff spot in the South. Odessa finished the game with 31 shots and Shreveport had 15. The Jacks went 0/3 on the powerplay and the Mudbugs went 0/5.
Both teams still have four regular-season games remaining. Odessa will be on the road for the rest of the season. Next weekend they travel to Amarillo, TX to face the sixth-place Wranglers. Odessa is one win away from having the second-most wins in a season in franchise history. While Odessa will not make the playoffs this season, they can still finish in fifth place which would be their best finish since 2017-18. Odessa finishes with a record of 13-12-1-2 at the Ector County Coliseum.
Photo credit: Danne Braden