The Jacks took the ice on Saturday to conclude their weekend series with the El Paso Rhinos. Odessa entered the game on a four-game win streak after winning beating the Rhinos in a shootout the night before. El Paso was still in seventh place and looking for their second win of the month.
Odessa came out aggressive to start the first period, scoring two goals just 13 seconds apart. The first came from Jackson Hay (2) and then from Brendan Finn (7). After allowing two quick goals, the Rhinos pulled Nolan Suggs and replaced him with C.J. Kier. The Jacks would end the opening period with 14 shots and the Rhinos had 10.
El Paso used the energy from their sellout crowd to cut the lead in half at the 8:07 mark of the middle period. The goal came from Camden Bajzer (4). Quentin Sigurdson remained sharp throughout the second period keeping Odessa in the lead after 40 minutes of play, 2-1. Odessa was outshooting El Paso, 23-22. There were also no penalties called after two periods of action.
The Rhinos would tie the game at the 2:14 mark after Bajzer (5) not only marked his second goal of the night but his fourth of the weekend. For the rest of the period, both teams had scoring opportunities, but neither was able to take control of the score. Resulting in the second-straight overtime game. The Rhinos had six shots in the extra period while the Jacks had three but once again it was scoreless after 65 minutes. Just like the game before there was only one goal in the shootout. This time though it did not come until round five. The game-winning goal was scored by Frank Tafelski to give El Paso the win and a split weekend series. Both teams finished with 34 shots. Odessa went 0/2 on the powerplay and El Paso went 0/1. It was the first win for Kier this season.
While Odessa did manage to get a point from the game, they still remain eight points out of a playoff spot. This weekend Odessa will host one of the teams they are chasing for a playoff spot. Odesa must win both games this weekend against New Mexico in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. The puck drops for both nights are scheduled for 7:15 p.m. CDT.
Photo credit: Danne Braden