Jacks Shock ‘Stangs with Last-Second Rally



Feb. 10, 2012



Odessa scores three times in final minutes to notch improbable 5-4 overtime win.


RIO RANCHO, NM– Down two goals with less than three minutes to play in regulation, the Odessa Jackalopes scored twice within a 30-second span to force overtime, then less than a minute into the extra session, rode a Josh Obregon tally to a 5-4 win over the New Mexico Mustangs at Santa Ana Star Center on Friday night. With the win, the Jackalopes improved to 17-22-5 overall this season and with 39 points, maintained their fifth place position in the NAHL’s South Division standings and pulled to within four points of the Corpus Christi IceRays for the South Division’s fourth and final playoff spot.

After back-to-back New Mexico goals in the first period from Mustangs snipers Adam Chapie and Brandon Bistodeau, the Jacks clawed back into the game courtesy of Ryan Doucet’s fourth marker of the season and first as a Jackalope, a deflected tally assisted by Mikko Virtanen and Lawrence Cornellier at 18:01 of the first. The only goal of the second period tied the game at two, as Odessa’s Ryan Atkinson stuffed home his seventh of the season on feeds from Curt Rau and Darren Lapic at 4:23 of the middle frame.

Thanks to two more unanswered goals from the Mustangs midway through the third period, the Jackalopes found themselves in a late 4-2 hole, but after pulling goaltender Connor Hellebuyck with 2:11 remaining in the game, Odessa Head Coach Paul Gillis watched his team rise up with not one, but two six-on-five goals, first from Lawrence Cornellier and then Taylor Portner, to tie the game at four and force overtime.

After Cornellier wired a Jalen Krogman one-time feed past New Mexico goaltender Randy Graham at 18:05 of the final frame, Portner knotted the game 30 seconds later, stuffing home a rebound off a Josh Obregon backhander from high in the slot. While Jacks defenseman Tyler Minx absorbed a ghastly open-ice hit in the final seconds of regulation, Odessa soldiered on into a four-on-four overtime period for the second consecutive game and just 59 seconds into the frame, Obregon buried an in-close pass from Cornellier to lift the Jackalopes to the season’s most improbable win.

With the win, the Jackalopes improved their head-to-head record with the Mustangs to 6-1-0 with three games remaining in the two teams’ ten-game season series. Cornellier led all Odessa skaters with three points in the game (1G, 2A) and Atkinson, Obregon and Lpic each earned two points in the victory.

Next up for the Jacks, it’s the second leg of a three-game weekend series with the Mustangs, as the two teams renew their acquaintances Saturday at Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho with the opening faceoff set for 8:30 pm central time.

The Odessa Jackalopes celebrate their 15th Anniversary in 2011-12 and drop the puck on their inaugural campaign as a member of the North American Hockey League.  Season tickets, mini-plans, and single game tickets are available by calling (432) 552-7825 or by visiting the Jacks online at www.jackalopes.org.

Be sure to follow the Jackalopes on Twitter @LetsGoJacks all season long and don’t forget to ‘Like’ the official “Odessa Jackalopes” fan page on Facebook.