Wichita Falls, TX – The Odessa Jackalopes scored just 19 seconds into the game, but six Wichita Falls Wildcat tallies proved too much as Odessa dropped the Friday night tilt at Kay Yaeger Coliseum, 6-4.
Just 19 seconds into the first, Matthew Rypien (1) gave Odessa an early lead when he received a perfect 2-on-0 pass and from Brandon Tucker and finished finished it into the open net. The Wildcats weren’t phased by Odessa’s early strike, storming back with three unanswered goals. Nikita Litviak (4) tied the game at 4:46 and Ryan Burnett (1) scored at 9:16 to give the ‘Cats their fist lead. Jonathan Lazarus extended the Wichita Falls advantage to two on the power play at 12:46. Andrew McLean salvaged the first on the power play when he raced coast to coast, fired a long shot on goal and followed up it up at to cut the lead down to 3-2 at 17:16.
After Odessa had failed to take advantage of a 1:58 power play to begin the second period, and Wichita Falls took advantage pushing their lead to a game-high three goals. Austin Albrecht scored at 4:45 (3) and again on a penalty shot at 12:35 (4). Odessa was able to pick up its only goal late in the period at 19:36 when Cooper Zech’s cross-ice pass to his brother Zach lead to a 2-on-0 that Zach fed over to Carter Wade (1) who wristed the puck into the open net.
Ryan MacKeller banked a shot below the goal-line off Sime and into the net to get the Jacks within a goal in the third 1:59 mark of the third but Litiviak's (5) second goal of the game at 16:37 proved too much as the Jacks failed to comeback, falling 6-4.
Gunner Rivers made 33 saves on 39 shots and took his first loss of the season. Rivers is now 4-1-0 on the season. Neither team found any rhythm on the power play with Odessa going 1-for-6 and Wichita Falls going 1-for-5.
The Jacks and ‘Cats drop the puck for game two of the weekend series Saturday starting at 7:05 as Odessa looks for a weekend split and its first win against Wichita Falls this season. All games are broadcasted live on Fasthockey.com and Classic Rock 102.
In 2015-16, the Odessa Jackalopes will embark upon their fifth season in the North American Hockey League and 19th in the Permian Basin. 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.
Be sure to follow the Jackalopes on Twitter @LetsGoJacks all year long and don’t forget to ‘Like’ the official “Odessa Jackalopes” fan page on Facebook.