Earlier today the Odessa Jackalopes laced up their skates for their first regular season game of 2021-22. They are playing four-straight games while at the North American Hockey League Showcase located in Blaine, Minnesota. The Steel entered the contest having already played and won two games against the Kenai River Brown Bears. As for the Jacks, this would be the first time many of their skaters stepped on the ice for a NAHL game.
The Jacks started the first period off on a strong note by scoring first. Rookie, Emerson Goode, received a pass from Michael Manzo and wound-up beating Croix Kochendorfer. That was Goode’s first NAHL goal. While the Steel had their fair share of chances through the first 20 minutes, Alex Proctor stood tall and denied all eight shots he faced. That was also the first time that the Steel allowed a goal in the first period this season. The Jacks also finished the opening frame with eight shots.
In the middle period Odessa would strike again as Liam O’Hare (1) received a cross-crease pass from Dayne Hoyord and was easily able to beat Kochendorfer. His goal came within the first five minutes of the middle frame. In the late stages of the period, the Steel found themselves on a 5-on-3 power play. With just :10 seconds left on the two man-advantage, Matthew Brille (1), cut the lead in half. However, just :30 seconds later and while back to even strength hockey, Chris Duclair, snapped one short side past Kochendorfer. That was Duclair’s first NAHL goal. Both teams ended the period with nine shots.
In the opening minutes of the final period, the Steel were once again able to pull within a goal as Barak Braslavski beat Proctor on his left side. The Jacks did not waste too much time getting back on the score sheet, as Evan Orr (1) fired one into the back of the net while on the power play. Shortly after that though the Steel once again made the Jacks pay while on the power play as Jack Brown (1) put up the third goal for his squad. Just past the halfway point of the period and it was Michael Manzo (1) putting the Jacks back up by a pair. As the clock ticked to under a minute the Steel had no other choice put to pull their goalie and put out the extra man. It would be to no avail though as Emerson Goode (2) picked up the loose puck from his own zone and easily deposited it into the empty net on the other end.
Jackalopes came out firing on all cylinders for their first game of the season. Chippewa may have out-shot Odessa 28-27 but, the only numbers that matter are in the goals column and the Jacks dominated there. Proctor picked up his fourth NAHL victory in his 17th game. Also, it was the first win for Head Coach Scott Deur and Assistant Coach Russell Barone behind the Jacks bench. The Jacks will look to carry this momentum into their second game of the season tomorrow against the Springfield Jr. Blues at 1:45 p.m. CDT. All the games can be found on HockeyTV.
Photo credit: John Elftmann