Yesterday the Jacks and Warriors faced one another for game two of the weekend series. Wichita Falls took game one by a score of 6-1. It was only the sixth time out of 35 games that Odessa was held to one goal. It also extended their losing streak to four games (0-3-0-1). The win gave Wichita Falls a chance to earn their third sweep of 2022 and tie Amarillo for the final playoff spot in the South. The Jacks were looking to avoid being swept for the third time this season.
The Jacks went with Alex Proctor for game two and Wichita Falls put Brandon Milberg in the net to finish the weekend series. Milberg entered last night’s game-winning five of his last six starts and recorded two shutouts along the way. On Friday, the Jacks only had one power-play throughout the whole game, and they were unable to convert on it. The same could not be said for last night as Odessa scored their first two goals via the power play. Frank Dovorany (3) scored the first goal of the game at 9:01 into the opening period. The Jacks continued to keep their foot on the gas throughout the first period. With a little over two minutes left to go before the first intermission, Cade Lemmer took a tripping minor. Justin Hughes (7) scored the second power-play goal for Odessa with only 15 seconds left on the man advantage and 18 seconds left in the period. Odessa not only took a 2-0 lead into the locker room but was also outshooting Wichita Falls, 15-8.
The second period not only saw a lot of shots from both teams but also goals. As there were a combined five goals scored in the middle period. Dayne Hoyord (12) made it a 3-0 Odessa lead seven minutes into the period. However, Wichita Falls was not backing down as they scored two goals within a minute of each other. Cade Lemmer (11) and Brendan Williams (3) were the recipients of the goals. The one-goal game would not last too long as Emerson Goode (11) put the Jacks back up by a pair. Trevor Taulien was called for head contact which resulted in Wichita Falls going on a power play with under two minutes to go in the period. The Warriors entered last night’s game tied for third for the most power-play goals in the NAHL. They scored their 32nd power-play goal after Philip Tornqvist (10) beat Proctor from the right circle. The Jacks were still leading in shots after 40 minutes, 29-26.
The final period of regulation did not disappoint as both sides were still fighting for the two points that were up for grabs. Not even halfway into the period the Jacks were up by two for the fourth time in the game. The goal was scored by James Berg, who was playing in only his second NAHL game. It was his first NAHL goal. The fifth-place Warriors were not backing down without a fight as they made it a one-goal game with 5:40 left in the period. Their fourth goal came from Brendan Williams (4). Shortly thereafter, Conner Couet and Adam Smith dropped the gloves for what would be a very long fight with Smith eventually getting the takedown. Throughout the final minutes, the physicality only amped up as every player was finishing their hits. With about 1:15 left to go, Philip Tornqvist (10) scored on a back door goal. It was the first time all night that the game was tied. His goal came after the Warriors pulled Milberg to make it a 5-on-4 advantage as there were players from both sides in the penalty box. The Warriors were leading in shots after 60 minutes, 42-40.
For the first time, this season a game between Odessa and Wichita Falls needed overtime to dictate a winner. The Jacks were 5-1 in overtime and the Warriors were 1-4. The overtime also continued the Jacks streak of earning a point in every weekend series this season. The overtime briefly started out as a 4-on-3 power play for the Warriors which then stayed at 4-on-4 until the play was blown dead. Once it finally went back to the sanctioned 3-on-3 overtime both teams looked to utilize the open ice. With only 30 seconds left in the extra period, Ryan Kelly (7) received a pass from Taulien and he was able to quickly put it past Milberg from the top of the crease. Odessa picked up the 6-5 win and earned their 20th of the season (20-13-1-2, 43pts). The loss keeps Wichita Falls one point out of a playoff spot (16-13-5-2, 39pts). Wichita Falls ended the game with 49 shots and Odessa had 45.
The win not only ended their four-game losing streak, but it was Proctor’s first of 2022 and his 16th of the season. Milberg has now lost his last two starts. The Warriors make their first trip to Odessa, TX next weekend. The Jacks will not only be home for the first time in 2022 but will also be wearing their 25th anniversary specialty jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game on Saturday. The team will also be celebrating SlapJack’s birthday that night too. Visit the website for tickets and puck drop is scheduled for 7:15 pm CDT both nights.