ODESSA, TX — The first period couldn’t have started any better for the Jackalopes, the pace the physicality and the score were all indicative of a team poised to win.
But costly penalties in the second and third period led to five straight power-play goals against Odessa resulting in a 7-3 loss to the Corpus Christi IceRays on Thursday night at the Ector County Coliseum.
The Jacks started off strong in the first, and were rewarded by two goals by Grand Rapids, MI natives.
Zach Heintz received a drop pass from Matt Hutton and Heintz ripped a slap-shot over the goaltender’s glove to put Odessa on the board first.
This was fallowed up later in the period by Rex Moe who, leading a three-on-one rush, elected to shoot and sent a hard wrist-shot top glove on Corpus Christi netminder Sam Best.
The Jackalopes took a 2-0 lead into the locker room but in the second period the Ice Rays tied the game with two quick goals in the first two minutes of the period.
The Jackalopes countered a few minutes later with Jared Christy’s shot in front that found a way into the back of the net. Christy’s tally put the Jacks ahead 3-2 in the hockey game.
But then the penalties started to come in earnest as both teams became increasingly hostile toward one another.
The Rays tied the game on a power-play goal to make the game even back at 3-3.
Vaclav Zidek then took a boarding penalty that resulted in a five-minute major and a game misconduct to the Czech. The Jackalopes killed off the the first half of it to close out the second period and were just about to kill off the rest of it when the Rays scored again on the power-play with just six seconds left on the major penalty.
With the score 4-3 in favor of Corpus, big hits and hostilities reached a fever pitch. Three more power-play goals later the IceRays had amassed a 7-3 lead over the Jacks.
Odessa had one power play in the third period (when the score was 6-4) but could they not take advantage. On the night the Jackalopes power play finished 0/3.
Both teams will play again tomorrow for the middle game of this three-game series. Face-off is set for 7:11 pm at the Ector County Coliseum.