NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX — It was a strong performance by the Jackalopes, a performance worthy of a better result. But unfortunately a few bad bounces in the third periods ended up sinking the Jackalopes 6-4 to the Lone Star Brahmas on Saturday night.
The game started well for the Jackalopes as they netted the first goal of the contest on the power play. Dayne Hoyord, standing in front of the net, deflected a point shot into the back of the net to put Odessa up 1-0 and net Odessa’s first goal on the power play. The Jackalopes have scored on the power play in three of their last four games.
But the Brahmas soon answered back with an offensive flurry. the first goal came off a high shot that deflected in off Odessa goaltender Noah Rupprecht’s glove to tie the game 1-1. The second goal came off a failed clear on the near right side and the third off a seemingly harmless shot in the slot that beat Rupprecht.
Odessa trailed 3-1 entering the second period despite out-shooting the Brahmas 14-8. Rupprecht responded well in the middle period making several big stops including one in which he dove to his right to deny a rebound right in front of the net. In the second period the Jackalopes shined offensively as well. Jimmy Rayhill was rewarded with a goal after his shot from the near left point pin-balled off of two legs and wound up in the back of the net. The Jacks added on to tie the game. Joey Musa skated up ice and tried a shot from the left circle. The shot was blocked but the puck came right back to Musa. Musa showed great patience as skated to his left before sending the puck into the back of the net.
With the game tied 3-3 to start the third, Odessa had to endure a bit of adversity to start the third period for as soon as they killed off a carry-over penalty from the second period they were forced to kill off another. The Jackalopes did so brilliantly and then went on the attack. After a few good shifts, Odessa broke through.
A shot by Liam O’Hare produced a big rebound right to Nate Boak who was pinching in on the right side. Boak made no mistake as he rifled the shot into the back of the net to give Odessa the lead back 4-3 with just over ten minutes to go.
It looked for a time that Boak’s goal would be the difference, but it was not to be.
After forcing turnover Brahma forward Zach Percell sent a shot on net. Rupprecht got most of it, but not enough as the puck squeaked between his arm and his body and rolled over the goal-line and into the net to tie the game 4-4.
In the late stages of the game, tied 4-4 the intensity ratcheted up. despite some good physical plays, a penalty was called on Odessa in the final three minutes of regulation. Lone Star was able to capitalize off a face-off play to third-year veteran Joey Baez on the doorstep to put the Brahmas 5-4.
Odessa pulled the netminder but were unable to find the equalizer, and the Brahmas were able to get an empty-net-goal to go up 6-4. Despite the loss, the Jackalopes had a strong bounce back to Friday’s 4-0 loss and put forward the type of effort that will serve them well moving forward.