Yesterday the Jacks played the Mudbugs for the final time this season. Shreveport won game one by a score of 3-1. Which put them on a seven-game win streak heading into last night. The Mudbugs only needed a point in last night’s game to clinch a playoff berth. Odessa was still ten points out of a playoff spot going into the contest.
Odessa started off strong in the opening period as they once again scored the first goal. It was scored by William Marshall (7) off a wraparound shot. The Mudbugs were not back down as they would get their first of the night at the 14:13 mark of the period. The goal was scored by their captain, Garrett Steele (20), who was playing in his 200th NAHL game. The horn would sound to end the opening period with both teams locked at one apiece. Odessa was outshooting Shreveport, 11-8.
The second period saw a lot of back and forth between the two South Division rivals. However, only one goal was registered. It came from Tanyon Bajer (20) after he received a saucer pass from Ryan Mansfield. Bajzer snapped the puck from the right circle and beat Simon Bucheler glove side. The assist gave Mansfield 50 points on the season, becoming just the eighth player in Jackalopes franchise history to accomplish that feat. Mansfield has this to say about his milestone, “I was not aware of that, but it is really cool to be a part of.” The second period ended with Odessa leading, 2-1. They were still outshooting the Mudbugs, 20-19.
The Mudbugs came out in the third period with a ton of energy and their resilience paid off as Drake Morse (17) tied the game at the 7:06 mark. The tied hockey game would carry over into the last half of the third period. With seven minutes remaining, Jack Christen (4) tapped in a pass from Ryan Kelly to give the Jacks the lead for the third time. A few minutes later, Brendan Finn (8) and J.R. Perdion broke out on a 2-on-1 rush and converted for the fourth Jackalopes goal of the night. Shreveport pulled Bucheler in hopes of tying the game but instead they would allow an empty-net goal to Ryan Mansfield (18). The final horn of the night would sound giving Odessa a 5-2 win over Shreveport. The Mudbugs outshot the Jacks, 31-29. Both teams went 0/3 on the powerplay. It is the first time Simon Bucheler lost since Feb. 18th.
The win marked the 21st of the season for Greg Orosz, which ties him for the second-most in a season in Jackalopes history. Orosz had this to say after the win, “It feels pretty good, especially because we are still in the run for the playoffs. It also feels good because it is a personal achievement for me, but as a team, we want to keep it going and make the playoffs.” Odessa also wins the season series against Shreveport with a 5-2-1 record. Head Coach Scott Deur had this to say about his team’s performance, “It always feels good to win on Saturday as it makes you feel good going into the following week.” Odessa will end their homestand this week with a 3-in-3 series against the Lone Star Brahmas. All games are scheduled for 7:15 p.m. CDT.
Photo credit: Danne Braden