‘Runners clip Jacks 4-3 in “Shriners” finale



Mar. 16, 2013



Portner, Hoffman score, Inman nets 1st career goal in defeat.


ODESSA, TX – On the final night of “Shriner’s Weekend” 2013, the Odessa Jackalopes rode a strong performance from Nick Deery in net, and a resilient effort from the entire team, to numerous comebacks, but ultimately, a 4-3 defeat at the hands of the Topeka RoadRunners on Saturday at Ector County Coliseum. With the loss, the Jacks’ franchise-record 15th in row, Odessa fell to 6-45-3 overall this season and with 15 points, remain alone in sixth place in the NAHL’s South Division standings.

Saturday’s game started with a bang, or more correctly a bludgeoning, as Jacks enforcer Steve Haydon fought Topeka forward Codey Hansen off the opening draw, beating Hansen to a pulp in retribution for the ‘Runners’ winger’s late-game slash on Odessa forward Josh Racek in Friday’s 8-2 Odessa loss. After Haydon’s game ejection for unsportsmanlike conduct was leveled, Drew Kariofiles gave Topeka a 1-0 lead at 9:33, an edge that was quickly neutralized by Odessa’s Taylor Portner three minutes later on an even-strength one-timer from the high slot, assisted by Anthony Olguin and Dylan Campbell.

In the second period, the RoadRunners and Jacks traded goals, first from Topeka’s Kyle Sharkey at 2:21, then from Odessa centerman Corey Hoffman at 5:08, with Matt Volonnino and Brett Wagner picking up assists on the play, to even the score at 2-2. Following a brief flurry by the RoadRunners, a pair of Tyler Poulsen goals in the middle frame’s final minutes gave the ‘Runners a 4-2 lead heading into the second intermission.

In the third period, the Jackalopes put forth a determined effort from the get-go, but only managed one goal in the frame, the period’s only tally for either team, as Stephen Inman potted his first-career NAHL goal at 14:54 of the final stanza, a sizzling, right-point wrister that flummoxed Topeka netminder Mackenzie Sawyer.

One night removed from a forgettable performance in which he gave up seven goals on just 30 shots faced and was pulled prior to the third period, Odessa’s Deery returned to the Jackalopes goal crease Saturday to atone for Friday’s 8-2 loss, and boy did he ever, making 37 saves on 41 shots faced in defeat. On Saturday, Odessa’s penalty-kill was similarly otherworldly, denying Topeka’s top-ten power-play on ten of eleven extra-man chances.

Next up for the Jacks, it’s a Tuesday-Wednesday finale to the team’s season-long nine game homestand and 2012-13 home schedule, as the Jacks play host to their South Division rivals, the Corpus Christi IceRays. Both games are set to face-off at 7:05 pm at Ector County Coliseum.

In 2012-13, the Odessa Jackalopes drop the puck on their second season as a member of the North American Hockey League. Season ticket packages for the Jacks’ sophomore campaign are available now starting at just $179. To reserve your seats, contact the Jackalopes’ ticket office today at 432-552-7825 or log on to www.jackalopes.org for more information.

Be sure to follow the Jackalopes on Twitter @LetsGoJacks all season long and don’t forget to ‘Like’ the official “Odessa Jackalopes” fan page on Facebook.