Odessa, TX – The Odessa Jackalopes opened the weekend at home against the Shreveport Mudbugs, looking to start a new winning streak. 10 of the Jackalopes final 14 games are at home, and that can really play to the Jacks advantage if they can get the crowd into it and play off of the atmosphere at the Ector County Coliseum.
Head coach, Greg Gatto, gave the team three keys on how to turn the momentum in their favor: blocked shots, hits, and fights. If they were able to do all three very well, they would be able to play the better game and hopefully come away with the victory.
The Jacks listened, and responded very well to Gatto’s call. Within the first three minutes, the Jackalopes blocked multiple shots, finished all their checks, and even had a fight from Nick Wilson. Wilson checked a Mudbug into the board, and a face-wash from Shreveport’s Jordan Fader started a scrum between the two. Both players dropped the gloves and Wilson got the better of Fader quickly. The fight resulting in off-setting minors, also saw Nick Wilson receive a major and game misconduct for fighting, sending him off for the rest of the game, as well as a one-game suspension.
The Mudbugs first-ranked power play in the NAHL got their first opportunity 2:38 into the game on the Wilson major-penalty. Jacks killed off 3:55 before the Mudbugs’ Gueorgui Feduolov stick-handled his way to an open net goal for the 1-0 lead.
A minute later, Jake Levin gets ejected for abuse of officials as he grazed an official on his was out of a scrum, forcing the Jackalopes to play two defensemen short the remaining 52 minutes of regulation.
The rest of the first would be aggressive, but no other major events occurred. The second period began with more big hits and blocked shots before Chase Thudium pushed one along to Ludwig Stenlund who ripped a one-timer past John Roberts for his 8th goal of the season, tying the game at 1-1.
The Mudbugs would head to another power play as one-minute into the penalty, Kieran Durgan found himself alone with Flakne at the top of the crease. Durgan played the waiting game and once he saw a glimmer of hope, he took a wrister past Flakne’s glove for the one-goal lead through two.
The Jackalopes would respond quickly in the 3rd period as Cooper Zech fired a slapper on net that Ryan MacKellar got a hold of. MacKellar tipped it high into the air and over John Roberts, watching it land on the other side of the goal line for the 2-2 tie, 34 seconds into the 3rd period.
One more power play chance for Odessa went un-scored before Shreveport’s Cam Cook had a breakaway the other direction. Flakne made the save, but the crashing defense was took much, accidentally knocking it in for an own goal, giving the Mudbugs the one-goal lead before an empty netter with 1.75 seconds left sealed the deal.
The Jackalopes dropped the first game of the weekend 4-2, while outplaying the Mudbugs in almost every aspect of the game. It should pay off if they play the same way tomorrow night against this same Mudbugs squad.
Puck drop for tomorrow’s night game will be at 7:05 pm. You can catch all the action live on Classic Rock 102, with the H&S Valve pregame show beginning at 6:50 pm.
There are still plenty of games to come out and watch your Jackalopes finish off their season. The Jackalopes offer a Flex 5 Pack where you get to choose the games of your choice for only $35. To order tickets, go to jackalopes.org, call 432-552-7825 or stop by the Jackalopes Front Office.
— ODESSA JACKALOPES —