WINONA, MN– Ryan Atkinson and Dylan Sibbald scored first-period goals and Atkinson got the game-winner in the shootout Sunday afternoon as the Odessa Jackalopes defeated Corpus Christi 3-2 at St. Mary’s University in the Jacks’ lone North American Hockey League exhibition game.
The Jacks open the regular-season schedule with four games in four nights this week – all at the Schwans Super Rink in Blaine, Minn. – as part of the NAHL Showcase. Odessa begins with Springfield Wednesday morning at 10 a.m., followed by Traverse City Thursday at 2:30 p.m., Janesville at 10:15 a.m. Friday and Alexandria on Saturday at 6 p.m.
The Showcase, made up of all 28 NAHL teams, is designed that teams do not play against their regular-season divisional opponents. The Jackalopes are members of the NAHL Southern Division, along with Topeka, New Mexico, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Texas (Frisco) and Wichita Falls.
Odessa will return to Texas to play at Corpus Christi on Friday, Sept. 23 before its home opener on Friday, Sept.. 30 vs. the Ice Rays.
Atkinson (Vacaville, Calif.) scored two minutes into the game (unassisted), and Sibbald made it 2-0 five minutes later with an assist from Andrew Palushaj (Livonia, Mich.).
Jackalopes starting goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce, Mich.), who stands 6-foot-4, was named the game’s No. 2 star and didn’t allow a goal while splitting the game with teammate Justin Davis (St. Louis, MO). The Jacks held a 2-0 lead entering the third, but the Ice Rays scored two quick goals a minute apart early in the third to force overtime.
The Jackalopes killed off two penalties in the 5-minute OT period, and then Sheldon Taylor (Grosse Isle, Mich.), Garrett Van Tuyl (Champlin, Minn.), and Atkinson – the game’s No. 1 star – finished things off in the shootout. Davis limited Corpus Christi to one goal in the shootout.