Tonight's Game Preview: Jacks vs. Cats

Tonight’s Matchup: The Odessa Jackalopes welcome in the first-place Wichita Falls Wildcats to Ector County Coliseum on Tuesday night. The Jacks are 0-3-0 versus the ‘Cats this year, with all three games being played at Wichita Falls. Odessa is 10-26-4 all-time (2011) against the Wildcats with there most successful season against the ‘Cats coming in 2011 when Odessa went 7-0-1 with Connor Hellebuyck (Manitoba Moose, AHL) back-stopping Odessa to all seven wins.

About Last Game: The Odessa Jackalopes allowed a late equalizer but secured its first sweep versus Corpus Christi since 2011 in a shootout, 3-2, Saturday night at Ector County Coliseum. In the first, Corpus jumped out front when Drake Lindsay slid a loose puck past Gunner Rivers on a friendly backboards-bounce at 9:02. Odessa countered on the penalty kill when Hampus Sjodahl (9) scored on a Gray Marr rebound to tie the game 1-1 at 13:26. Oliver Celic later dropped the gloves with Trevor Hesuser, but neither team would score again in the period. In the second, Odessa pumped 28 shots on net but Graham Hunt was miraculous between the pipes, making save after save, but at 8:28 the Jacks finally took their first lead when Zach Zech jammed home (6) a loose puck sitting in the crease. The Jackalopes ended the second period outshooting Corpus 28-7. In the final frame, Odessa held onto its 2-1 lead for 18:40 before Brad Power tied the game, 2-2, with Corpus’s net empty, forcing OT. After neither team scored during the 3-on-3 extra time, the two teams went to a shootout. After the ‘Rays Colton Meekhof and Tobias Kircher were denied by Gunner Rivers and Eric Carreras was stopped by Graham Hunt, Derek Brown beat Hunt on what would prove to be the 3-2 shootout winner.

Sjodahl Time: Jacks forward Hampus Sjodahl, 20, was named the Second Star of Week in the South Division for his three-point weekend (2 goals, 1 assist) versus Corpus. Sjodahls is now tied for the team lead in goals (9) and tied for the team lead in points (15). Sjodahl was twice named a Weekly Honorable Mention in the South before earning the Second Star. In 55 games last year with Odessa, he had 34 points (19 goals, 15 assists).

Muhammad Ollie: Jacks forward Oliver Celec, 19, was named a Weekly Star Honorable Mention in the South Division for his four-point weekend (1 goal, 3 assists) versus Corpus. The Gothenburg, Sweden native also dropped the gloves in the first period of game-two Saturday and returned in the second period to assist Zach Zech on his go-ahead goal. On Friday, Celec got the scoring started in the first period when he shoveled a perfect pass to Derek Brown on a 2-on-1 and Brown finished off the feed for his second goal of the year. Celec ended Friday with three points (1 goal, 2 assist) and is now tied for third on the team in goals (6) and tied for fourth in points (13).

What Can Brown Do For You?: Jacks forward Derek Brown, 19, became Saturday nights hero when the Peoria, AZ native beat Corpus goaltender Graham Hunt in the shootout to secure a 3-2 victory over the ‘Rays. Brown also scored his second goal of the year Friday night and ended his weekend with two points (1 goal, 1 assist) and a +1 rating. The Niagara (NCAA D1) bound forward has 11 points on the season (2 goals, 9 assists) with a +5 rating. 

Super Special Teams: The Jacks special teams turned in a dominant two games versus the Corpus Christi IceRays over the weekend going 3-for-4 on the power play Friday and also adding a shorthanded goal in each game as well. The Jacks have the seventh best power-play unit in the NAHL, scoring 19.23% of the time. Odessa’s three short-handed goals are tied for third in the NAHL.

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