Jacks Sweep Opening Homestand


Atkinson, Hennum key in 5-2 win.


ODESSA, TX– For the second straight game, the Odessa Jackalopes jumped out to a first period lead and held on late to earn their second straight win, 5-2 over the Corpus Christi IceRays Saturday night at Ector County Coliseum to secure a two-game sweep of the ‘Rays in Odessa’s first ever homestand as an NAHL team. With the win, the Jacks improved to 2-3-2 on the season and vaulted into a fourth place tie with Corpus in the NAHL South Division standings.

While unable to match Friday’s four goal output in the first period, the Jacks started quickly nonetheless, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the opening frame thanks to Marcus Ortiz’s first goal of 2011-12, coming just over two minutes into the action, and Ryan Atkinson’s third tally of the season, coming on the power play  just over five minutes later. After surrendering a pair of goals to Corpus Christi forwards Perry DArisso and Dmitry Ermakov in the second, Jackalopes netminder Justin Davis settled down in the third, winding up with 24 saves on 22 total shots faced to earn the win in his second start of the season.

After the IceRays tied the game at two, Odessa rallied with a pair of goals late in the second period from Sheldon Taylor and Chad Hennum to take a 4-2 lead into the third period. Taylor’s goal, his fourth of the season, put him back atop the team lead in goals while Hennum’s goal and first period assist earned the gritty winger his third and fourth points of the season in just his second game as a Jackalope. Andrew Palushaj provided some insurance in the third, adding his first goal of the year early in the third period to hand the Jacks a 5-2 lead. Also finding their way onto the scoresheet Saturday were Alex Ostrowski (2 A), Curt Rau, TJ Sennott and newcomer Matt Williams (1A each).

For just the second time all season, the Jacks outshot their opponent on Saturday, as they sent 40 shots on IceRays goalie Anthny Stolarz to Corpus’ 26. A troublespot early in the year, the Jacks special teams were effective Saturday as well, as the Jacks converted once on three power play chances and were a perfect four for four on the penalty kill.

Next up for the Jacks, it’s a ten-day, four game road swing through the Alaska and the pacific northwest as the Jacks take on the defending Robertson Cup Champion Fairbanks Ice Dogs October 7 and 8 before heading to Washington State for a pair of games with the Wenatchee Wild on October 14 and 15.

Saturday’s game marks the last home appearance for the Jacks until Thursday October 20 when the Jackalopes play host to the South Division rival New Mexico Mustangs for the first time this season. Fans are encouraged to show up early as October 20 marks the first ‘Chick-Fil-A’ family night of the season. For just $30, families will receive four tickets, four meals and four programs.

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.