ODESSA, TX– As the Odessa Jackalopes wrapped up week one of their first-ever NAHL Training Camp on Friday, Jacks fans got their first real glimpse of what the team will look like this season as the Jacks do battle in the NAHL's black-and-blue South Division.
A week of settling in with host families, getting to know the Odessa and Midland communities, and punishing daily practices culminated in Friday's split-squad scrimmage at Music City Mall. In front of scores of fans and season ticket holders, the Jacks played to a 5-2 final, with the Grey Team besting the Red Team despite an appearance by all-time Jackalopes leading scorer Sebastien Thinel, playing in the stead of injured Jacks forward Andrew Palushaj.
Marcus Ortiz got the scoring started for the Grey squad just 27 seconds into the first of two 20-minute periods, and Odessa native Jonathan Voyles made it 2-0 Grey just over one minute later. After the first of two Darren Lapic goals gave the Grey side a 3-0 lead, defenseman Nick Hinsberg put the Red team on the board at 10:12 of the first, setting up a 3-1 lead for the Grey squad at the intermission.
The scoring slowed down in the second, as Jacks goalies Connor Hellebuyck, Saxton Soley and Justin Davis settled in. Matt Petersen made it 4-1 Grey about four minutes into the frame, but a quick response from the Red side's Chris Benoit just under one minute later drew his team to within a pair. A Darren Lapic empty-netter sealed the deal for the Grey side at 18:22 of the second.
The Jacks roster was trimmed by one on Saturday with the release of forward Mike Taylor, but remains at 27 with the Tuesday arrival of Raymond Redmond. With the NAHL Showcase in Minneapolis and start to the season just over two weeks away, the Jackalopes still have plenty of work to do to trim the roster the NAHL-maximum 23 players.
The Jackalopes announced Tuesday that their trip to Minnesota for the NAHL Showcase will include an exhibition game against the Corpus Christi IceRays at St. Mary's College in Winona, Minnesota on Sunday, September 11th at 3 pm.
While the 2011-12 Jacks roster continues to take shape, the Jackalopes will spend week two of Training Camp practicing at 10 am Monday through Friday at MCM Ice Arena, with all practices free and open to the public.
Single game, season tickets and mini plans are still available as the the Jacks creep ever closer to the start of their 15th Anniversary season and inaugural campaign as a member of the North American Hockey League. For ticket information, please contact the Jacks ofiices at 552-7825, or online at www.jackalopes.org. Follow the Jacks on twitter @LetsGoJacks and be sure to "like" the official 'Odessa Jackalopes' Facebook fan page.