The Jacks took on the Amarillo Wranglers for the final time last night. Odessa was coming off a 6-1 victory in game one. That was the most goals Odessa has scored on Amarillo all season. Which also gave them a record of 4-3 against the Wranglers this season. Neither team has swept the other. The loss on Friday put Amarillo on a five-game losing streak. During that span, they have only scored seven goals and have allowed 26.
Both teams went with a new goalie for game two. Amarillo had Max Gutjahr between the pipes and for Odessa, they went with Alex Proctor. The Jacks attempted to pick up where they left off the night before. Odessa once again kept the puck heavily in the Wranglers’ territory and was able to produce 11 shots in the opening period. One of their shots was able to beat Gutjahr. The Jacks scored the first goal of the game with only 49 seconds left in the period. The shot originated from Frank Dovorany at the top of the point. After he fired the puck towards the net it was deflected by Tanyon Bajzer for his 16th of the season. Amarillo ended the first period with only six shots on Proctor and he denied them all.
In the middle frame, Amarillo was able to the game at the 6:02 mark. Their goal was scored by Ben Biester (6). Shortly past the halfway point in the period, the Jacks would regain the lead. Their second goal of the game was scored by Tanyon Bajzer (17). Making it back-to-back games in which Bajzer has scored two goals. Odessa went into the locker room through 40 minutes with a 2-1 lead. Shots were even at 19.
The Wranglers were not going down without a fight though. Throughout the final period, they kept a lot of pressure on Proctor. Resulting in 13 shots. One of which ended up beating Proctor to tie the game at 2-2. The goal was scored by Kristaps Skrastins (35) on the powerplay with only 45 seconds left in regulation. It was a 6-on-4 powerplay since the Wranglers pulled Gutjahr in the final two minutes of the game as they were trailing by one. That was Skrastins 15th power-play goal which is a league-high. The 2-2 score would hold as the horn sounded ending regulation. Resulting in just the second time this season both teams had to go past 60 minutes against one another. Odessa ended regulation with 24 shots and Amarillo had 32.
In the 3-on-3 overtime the Jacks put up three shots but none made its way past Gutjahr. As for Amarillo, they did not put up one shot in the five-minute overtime. So, after 65 minutes of play, the final meeting between these two teams had to be decided in a shootout. Odessa was 1-4 in shootouts this season and Amarillo was 3-2. There was only one goal scored in the shootout and it was by Tanyon Bajzer in the second round. While that goal will not go to his stats, Bajzer has scored the last four goals for Odessa. Taynon had this to say about his four-goal weekend, “Everything was going in for me this weekend. I lost my aunt last week whom I was close with, and I was unable to be home for the funeral, but she was definitely with me this weekend. So that was for her.” The Wranglers finished with 32 shots and the Jacks had tallied 28. Odessa went 0/1 on the powerplay and Amarillo went 1/2.
The win gave Odessa their first sweep since Dec. 10-11. It also gives them a record of 29-24-1-4 (63pts) going into their final weekend of the season. Head Coach Scott Deur stated this regarding what this sweep means heading into the last two games of the season, “I really liked how we played. We played a simple brand of hockey that I’ve been stressing since December, but we can have success when we keep our game simple.” Their final two games of the season will be against second-place New Mexico. Puck drop on Friday is scheduled for 7:30 pm MDT and 6:30 pm MDT on Saturday.
Photo credit: Danne Braden