Jacks Stampede ‘Stangs, Crush New Mexico 6-2



Mar. 15, 2012



Win puts Odessa just four points from the postseason with seven games left.


ODESSA, TX– On a night in which fourth-place Corpus Christi found themselves idle, the IceRays were forced to watch in horror as the suddenly streaking Odessa Jackalopes pounded South Division doormats, the New Mexico Mustangs, 6-2 on Thursday at Ector County Coliseum to draw within four points of the ‘Rays for the final South Division playoff spot. With the win, Odessa’s fourth in a row and sixth in seven games, the Jacks improved to 23-25-5 and eclipsed the 50-point mark for the first time in 2011-12.

After a plodding pace to start the game, while killing a penalty, the Jacks struck first when Lawrence Cornellier forced a turnover in his own zone, then streaked the length of the ice on a breakaway and beat New Mexico goaltender Randy Graham five-hole for Cornellier’s tenth goal of the season.

Leading 1-0 after the first period, the Jacks cranked up the heat in the second, rattling off four unanswered goals from Ryan Doucet, Mikko Virtanen, Darren Lapic and Tyller Robert in the frame, after allowing a Chuck Baldwin power-play goal to briefly tie the game at 1:30. For Doucet, the tally was his ninth of the season and third in the past two games while Virtanen’s score was his first marker of the year and both Robert and Lapic scored for the second time in Odessa’s past three contests.

With the game firmly in their grasp at 5-1 entering the third period, the Jacks kept the pressure, extending their lead to 6-1 on a Tyler Cayemberg score less than one minute into the frame off a Josh Obregon wrist shot from the near-side wall. New Mexico finally answered back midway through the period, but a late tally from Nolan Culver at 13:42 was too little, too late for the last-place Mustangs.

Odessanetminder Connor Hellebuyck turned in a solid, 29 save performance to earn his 22nd win of the season and the Jacks were held scoreless on their only power-play chance in the game.

Next up for the Jacks, it’s the final two home games of the regular season, a pair of critical clashes with the now-familiar Wichita Falls Wildcats on Friday and Saturday night at Ector County Coliseum. The Jacks are 3-0-1 against Wichita Falls overall this season and 1-0-1 vs. the Wildcats at the Jack Shack.

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.