TOPEKA, KS — The Jackalopes (7-26-1-1) started off their weekend in Kansas with a 4-1 loss to the Topeka Pilots (24-10-1-2) at the Stormont Vail Events Center on Friday night.
The Jackalopes fell down early in the first period after a shot was directed into the net in front of Zach Stern less then three minutes into the first period. The Pilots added one more later on to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
The second period saw the Jackalopes trade goals. The first one coming for the Pilots as Dominic Sandoval broke his stick on a hard shot from the high slot but the puck still found it’s way into the net.
The Jackalopes answered with Ben Doherty’s first ever North American Hockey League goal. The play started with a won face-off from Connor Tartaglione on the right circle. He won the draw back to Doherty, at the top of the circle, who skated a few strides to the slot and sent a hard wrist-shot high past the glove of Guy Blessing and into the back of the net. Not only did the goal mark Doherty’s first NAHL goal and point, but it also marked the first point in Tartaglione’s NAHL career in just his first ever game.
The Jackalopes also had a good chance to cut the lead to 3-2 on a power play but wound up hitting the post on a Matt Hutton shot.
Down by a score of 3-1 going into the third period, the Jackalopes had to kill off an early penalty that carried over from the end of the second period. Just 43 seconds into the period, the Pilots scored off a re-direction in front to take a 4-1 lead. It was a lead they held for the remainder of the game.
The Jackalopes will regroup and prepare for their second game against Topeka, and their final road came of the month of January. Face-off for Saturday’s contest against the Pilots is set for 7:05 pm.
Photo: Danne´ Braden Photography