Slow start sinks Jackalopes against New Mexico

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX — A slow start for the Jackalopes ended up being the difference on Tuesday afternoon as the Jackalopes (8-18-2-2) fell to the New Mexico Ice Wolves (10-19-1-1) at the NYTEX Sports Center.

New Mexico got off to a hot start after capitalizing on a pouncing puck in the opening minutes in front. The goal came on the Ice Wolves’ second shot on net. New Mexico added on two more goals just over two minutes apart with the first coming on a short-handed breakaway and the other on a turnover in the Odessa zone. New Mexico tacked on one more in the late stages of the period.

When all was said and done in the first period, The Jackalopes trailed the Ice Wolves 4-0 after giving up 21 shots on net.

The Jackalopes, to their credit, settled in and rallied. Putting together a couple of shifts, they started to make some headway offensively. Jacks forward Tyler German an defenseman Jimmy Rayhill were key in this regard, as their play was some of the best the Jackalopes had seen up to that point in the contest.

The Jacks were able to break through thanks to a nifty move by German as he streaked in on the New Mexico netminder. German was able to tuck the puck between the pads and slid it into the net to put Odessa on the board. German’s fourth of the season made it a 4-1 hockey game.

But it was after this goal that the Ice Wolves defense started to bear down and really limit the Jackalopes’ chances. It was here that goaltender Noah Rupprecht started to shine. After a tough start in the first period, Rupprecht made several impressive saves to give his team a chance.

Unfortunately, despite the opportunity given by their netminder, the Jackalopes could not find another goal to regain momentum and instead it was New Mexico adding on one more just as a power play for them expired. All in all, Rupprecht made 37 saves on 42 New Mexico shots on net. Odessa capitalized on just one shot out of 13 sent toward Ice Wolves goalie Beni Halaz. Another bright spot for Odessa was the penalty kill, which was perfect on Tuesday, killing off five New Mexico power plays.

There is enough to build on moving forward, but the Jacks will have to do so quickly as they get set for a road trip to Wichita Falls, one of the hottest teams in the South Division, for a Friday-Saturday series at the Kay Yeager Coliseum.