The Odessa Jackalopes rolled into Saturday night’s matchup, earning 5 of 6 possible points over the last three games. With the playoffs just over a month away, time is winding down for Odessa to get it going.
For the second straight night, it was a Shreveport advantage after the first period as a defensive turnover from Odessa results in a Mudbugs goal, taking the 1-0 lead. Odessa looked for a stretch pass that would have given the Jacks a breakaway, and instead, stopped at the blue line and passed along until Jack Jaunich stuffed one home past Jonny Hogue for the goal.
A Jackalopes power play early on in the 2nd period was neutralized and turned into a 4-on-4 a minute later. Time was killed off and Shreveport went the man advantage. The league’s leading goal-scorer, Frankie Melton, was left wide open with Hogue and fired one, bar-down, his 30th of the season for the 2-goal lead.
Odessa’s message between periods didn’t have the reception they would have liked. Hard hits kept coming from the Jackalopes skaters, but another penalty led to another Shreveport power play goal. Hogue saved a shot, but with the puck laying in front, Steven Mather outworked the defense and pushed it past Hogue for the 3-goal lead.
Odessa had a tall mountain to climb, but going on the power play with 5 1/2 minutes remaining looked like something could get started. Unfortunately, a turnover in the offense zone left the Jackalopes out to dry. Kieran Durgan went coast to coast and shoveled a backhand shot past Hogue for the shorthanded goal.
Odessa would fire 27 shots on net, but the small Roberts lived up to the task, and saved them all with the help of his defense’s blocked shots. Roberts shut out Odessa, en route to the Mudbugs victory.
2 out of 4 points on the weekend for Odessa is usually pretty good on the road, but this late in the season, the playoffs are just slipping further and further away.
Christian Hausinger, Chase Thudium, and Ludwig Stenlund will head to the Top Prospects Tournament on Monday and Tuesday to represent Odessa for the South team before the teams looks to rebound next weekend at home against this same Shreveport Squad.