Last night the Jacks took on the Robertson Cup Champions, Shreveport Mudbugs, in front of a sold-out crowd. Odessa is coming off a split weekend series against the Wichita Falls Warriors. As for Shreveport, they have not played a regular season game since they were in Blaine, MN for the NAHL Showcase. Not only was it the Mudbugs home opening weekend but they also raised their second Robertson Cup banner to the rafters.
The opening period saw plenty of action on both ends of the ice. Shreveport managed to get the frozen rubber towards Alex Proctor 17 times in the opening period. The Jacks were able to record 12 shots on Simon Bucheler. Odessa had two power plays but were unable to convert on either one. The Mudbugs had three man-advantages. With two coming in the final minute giving them a five-on-three power play to start the middle period.
In the second period there were only a total of 11 shots between the two teams. There was also only one goal. The goal came off the stick from Ryan Mansfield after he wristed the puck from the right circle past the glove of Bucheler. Head Coach Scott Deur had this to say about how important scoring the first goal was, “Well if you’re a stats guy you’d know that we have won every game that we have scored first in. So, I’d call it pretty big.” Shreveport finished the period with six shots.
In the final period of regulation is when everything started clicking for Odessa. As not even five minutes into the period, it was Cristian Tallarico picking up his first NAHL goal. The score and pace of the game remained tight until the late stages of the period. J.R. Perdion (3) put the Jacks up by three with a power-play goal. Then a flurry of pressure came from Odessa resulting in two more goals separated by only :15 seconds. Goals were scored by Liam O’Hare (3) and Ryan Kusler. O’hare scored on the power play while Kusler notched his first NAHL goal. When the horn sounded shots finished 29-28 in favor of Shreveport. Odessa went 2/4 on the man-advantage and Shreveport went 0/4. The win moved Odessa into sole possession of second place heading into tonight’s game.
The 29 save shutout was the first for Alex Proctor in his NAHL career. Proctor had this to say regarding his NAHL milestone, “It was awesome, in an arena with that much animosity and electricity, it will be a memory that lasts forever.” Not only was it the first Jacks shutout this season, but it was also the first time the Mudbugs had been shutout since January 30, 2021 (vs. Lone Star, 2-0). It was the first shutout for the Jacks since March 20, 2021 (vs. New Mexico, 3-0). That was one of only three shutouts they had all last year. For the second-straight weekend the Jacks have a chance to secure four points. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:11 p.m. CDT.