Last night the Jacks hosted the El Paso Rhinos for the third time this season. The last time the Jacks played the Rhinos was during Odessa’s home-opening weekend. The Jacks won both games by a two-goal margin. El Paso entered the game yesterday on a two-game win streak after sweeping Corpus Christi last weekend. The Jacks were coming off a bye week, but their most recent contest was a shootout victory over first-place Lone Star.
The Jacks were all over El Paso in the opening period as they managed to put up 12 shots on Nolan Suggs. Suggs was able to withstand some of the Jackalopes pressure but with under seven minutes remaining, Ryan Mansfield (8) scored the game’s first goal. Roughly ten seconds later, Emerson Goode (9) elevated the puck to the top shelf past Suggs to make it 2-0 Odessa. The score would remain that way once the horn sounded ending the opening period. The Rhinos were unable to get any of their nine shots past Greg Orosz.
El Paso came out looking like a completely different team in the middle frame. They wound up on a powerplay early in the period and were able to convert on it. Their first goal was scored by Frank Tafelski (3). It is only the sixth power-play goal for El Paso this season. They too did not need much time between goals as they would tie the game nine seconds later. The tying goal was scored by Jacob Zwirecki (2). The score remained tied until there were less than five minutes remaining in the period. The stalemate was broken by J.R. Perdion (5) after he retrieved the loose puck and sent a backhander past Suggs. The Rhinos were outshooting the Jacks, 21-18.
Odessa was back up by two for the second time after Tanyon Bajzer (6) scored a 4-on-4 goal. The Rhinos now trailed 4-2 and were firing the frozen rubber at Orosz from every angle. The relentless pressure from El Paso would slow down after Sawyer Boulton was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for his hit to the head on Dayne Hoyord. However, the Jacks were unable to score on the five-minute powerplay. After the major expired there was very little time left in regulation, so Suggs was pulled as the Rhinos sent on an extra attacker. Neither team produced a goal giving the Jacks a 4-2 win. El Paso put up 37 shots and Odessa had 26. The Rhinos went 1/5 on the powerplay and the Jacks went 0/4.
The win moves Odessa into sixth place (7-7-0-1) and one point ahead of El Paso (7-8). The Jacks are now 3-0 against the Rhinos this season. Head Coach Scott Deur had this to say about all four of his top scorers getting on the scoresheet, “They play big minutes for us and get those scoring opportunities. It is good to see them get some goals and hopefully, our younger guys can follow their lead.” Game two of Military Appreciation Weekend is scheduled for tonight at 7:15 pm CDT. There will also be a post-game skate with the Jacks.