SHREVEPORT, LA — Over the course of a hockey game in which 12 goals were scored, the Jackalopes fought themselves back from two separate two-goal deficits, but they could not come back from a third as the Jackalopes (10-30-2-3) fell 8-4 to the Shreveport Mudbugs (31-7-2-3) at George’s Pond in Shreveport on Saturday night.
The contest started off poorly for the Jackalopes as they surrendered the first goal on a back-handed shot from the low slot by Matt Vermaeten in the first four minutes of the contest. The Jacks had a chance to tie as Jack Musa was hauled down on a break-away and awarded a penalty shot. Musa skated up the ice and made a good move on the attempt, faking out goaltender Cole Hudson, but Musa mishandled the puck at the last second before he could bury. Shreveport seized on the missed opportunity and soon extended thier lead 2-0 on a power play tally.
It seemed at one point that all was going against the Jackalopes as the Mudugs were dictating the pace, and physicality of play on the ice and the large cloud was into fueling the momentum. But the Jackalopes had an opportunity to stem the tie on thier first power play of the night and they made the most of it.
Just 14 seconds into the advantage Fletcher Anderson received a pass in the high slot and had space to send a hard wrist-shot on goal. The shot beat Hudson clean to his right side and Anderson had his second power-play point in as many games to trim the Shreveport lead in half.
Soon thereafter the Jackalopes forced a turnover at the Mudbug line. The puck found J.R. Perdion as he streaked into the offensive zone. Perdion’s shot from the high slot sailed past Hudson, again to his right, to tie the game at 2-2.
Going into the second period, the Jackalopes had opportunities in the early goings, but the Mudbugs took the lead and momentum right back. Two quick goals by Shreveport separated by just over 80 seconds put the Jacks in another two-goal hole, this time 4-2.
Again, the Jackalopes showed great resiliency as they started their second come-back. Aiden Cobb deflected a point shot into the back of the net to pull the Jackalopes within one, that was soon followed up by Jack Musa’s goal as he picked up the rebound generated from a Dayne Hoyord shot and made not mistake with the rebound to tie the game up again 4-4.
It seemed, for a moment at least, that the Jacks would surge ahead with momentum and come tward a dramatic finish. Instead the Mudbugs, lead by Vermaeten, flexed their willpower and offensive muscle. Vermaeten scored two more unanswered in the short side of Cooper Black. One came off a rebound, the other beat Black between his legs, both came in the latter half of the second period as Shreveport re-established thier lead to 6-4.
In the third, the Jacks faced a tough challenge. They had to come back in the third period against one of the best third period teams in the division. Odessa certainly had chances in the early goings, including one that saw Hudson make a point-blank save in the splits, that could’ve changed the outlook of the period and perhaps the game. But the failure of the Jackalopes to score came back to haunt them. Shreveport found the back of the net twice more on Connor Hasley, who started the third period in relief for Black, to finish the game with four unanswered goals and an 8-4 victory.
The despite the loss, the Jackalopes had a few positives to take out of. Aside from thier resiliency in battling back from multiple two-goal deficits, the four goals by the Jacks is an encouraging sign in regards to their offense. In addition, Odessa as scored power-play goals in back-to-back games after a three-game drought.
The Jacks will next look to pick up a victory on the road in North Richland Hills as they travel to take on the Brahmas for a two game series on April 16 and 17.
Photo Credit: Danne´ Braden Photography