Last night Odessa faced fourth-place Shreveport for the seventh time this season. Odessa entered the game leading the season series with a 4-2 record. The Jacks were in fifth place with 59 points. Six points behind the Mudbugs. In the Jacks last game, they were shutout 2-0 at the hands of the New Mexico Ice Wolves. That was the first time the Jacks had been shut out all season. Which marked the second-longest streak in franchise history (53 games). As for Shreveport, they came into the Ector County Coliseum fresh off a weekend sweep over the Amarillo Wranglers.
Shreveport started the game off by scoring two minutes into the period. Their goal was scored while on the powerplay by Austin Brimmer (18). With nine minutes gone in the period, the Mudbugs were once again on the scoresheet. This time it was a power-play goal by Jake Mack (10). The Mudbugs continued to keep their foot on the gas as they tacked on another goal at the 13:14 mark of the first period. Their third goal was scored by Lukas Sedlacek (12). Towards the tail end of the period, Shreveport would find the back of the net for the fourth time. Marking their most goals in an opening period this season. Their fourth goal was scored by Timofei Khokhlachev (15). The horn finally sounded to end the first period but the Jacks were trailing 4-0. Both teams went into the locker room with 12 shots through 20 minutes of play.
In the second period, the Jacks were able to find an answer for Devon Bobak. Within the first two minutes, Justin Hughes took a shot that caught Bobak on his shoulder. After it bounced up and behind him, Emerson Goode (12) was able to easily put it into the back of the net. Odessa had their fair share of chances as the period continued but were unable to beat Bobak again. Shreveport put up 14 shots, but Alex Proctor was able to deny them all. Resulting in a 4-1 Mudbugs lead after 40 minutes of action. Shreveport was out shooting Odessa, 26-23.
In the final period, Odessa was doing everything it could to try and come back. They had some breakaways as well as scoring opportunities that would hit posts. With less than five minutes remaining in the game, the Jacks pulled Proctor. Even with the net empty for nearly five minutes Shreveport never scored. However, neither did Odessa. Making it a 4-1 victory for the defending champions. Odessa finished with 34 shots and Shreveport had 31. The Jacks went 0/5 on the powerplay and the Mudbugs finished 2/4. It was the first time Shreveport won at the JackShack since January 2, 2021.
The win now puts Shreveport at 67 points, but they have not clinched a playoff spot yet. Odessa must win tonight to keep their playoff hopes alive. Whereas, if Shreveport wins, they will earn the final playoff spot in the South. If Odessa does win tonight, they would also need to win their final four games and have Shreveport lose three of their final four games. The final four games for the Mudbugs will be at home and against the bottom two teams in the division. Head Coach Scott Deur had this to say following the 4-1 loss, “If you take out the first period, we win that game 1-0. We hurt ourselves a lot in the first period and that is the reason why they scored.” Tonight is the final home game of the season for Odessa. There will be a ceremony prior to the 7:15 pm CDT puck drop to honor the five seniors on the Jacks roster. The team will be auctioning off their home white jerseys after the game.
Photo credit: Danne Braden