Odessa Jackalopes (12-14-0-1, 25pts) vs. Corpus Christi IceRays (6-19-5, 17pts)
at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, TX
Time: Thursday 7:05 p.m. CDT | Friday 7:05 p.m. CDT
What You Need to Know:
All-Time Record: 43-49-7-2
Season Series: 2-0
ODA: 24pts, Mansfield (13G, 11A)
COR: 21pts, Ulvebne (6G, 15A)
It’s Go Time:
The Jacks start the New Year on the road against Corpus Christi. It will also kick off their seven-game road trip. They will finish the month of January hosting the New Mexico Ice Wolves. Out of the nine games the Jacks will play this month, six of them will be against an opponent they are trying to chase for a playoff spot. Odessa has not played hockey since Dec. 16-17 when they hosted the Oklahoma Warriors. As for the IceRays, they were swept by Shreveport on Dec. 29-30. Odessa still has 33 regular season games remaining whereas Corpus Christi has 30. The Jacks have a game(s) in hand on Lone Star, Shreveport, New Mexico, Amarillo, and Corpus Christi. The Jacks also do not have any time off for the rest of the season. Odessa is still in the hunt for a playoff spot. The Jacks have not made the playoffs since the 2017-18 season.
At A Glance:
Odessa only has one shutout this season and it came against the IceRays in their first meeting. The second game was much closer and had to be decided in overtime. Jackson Hay would score to mark his first NAHL goal, putting the Jacks on a season-high five-game win streak. However, it was snapped the following week after the Jacks were swept by Oklahoma for the third time this season. Two wins against Corpus Christi this week could put the Jacks within four points of fifth-place Amarillo. Setting up a crucial matchup for Odessa as they face the Wranglers next weekend. The Wranglers are only one point behind the Ice Wolves for the final playoff spot. Shreveport sits in third with 36.
The IceRays have allowed the most goals (114) and have the worst goal differential (-40) in the South. They also rank second in the NAHL in those categories. Corpus Christi allows an average of 3.80 goals per game and 37.77 shots per game which are also both second most in the league. Odessa has given up 94 goals this season which is the second most in the South. Their goal differential of minus 23 is the third most in the division. They allow the fifth-most goals per game (3.48) and shots against per game (34.81) across all 29 NAHL teams. The IceRays are the only team in the South with single-digit wins (6). Corpus Christi is winless in their last seven games (0-5-2) and is 2-5-3 in their previous ten contests.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Jackalopes (F: #11 – Ryan Mansfield)
The Burlington, ON native is in his final season of junior hockey. Last season was his first in the NAHL and he finished fourth in scoring (12G, 20A). The 20-year-old is currently on a career-high seven-game point streak (5G, 6A). The captain is second on the team in goals (13) and is tied for the lead in points (24). The 5’11”/195lb. left-handed forward has the only short-handed goal for the Jacks this season. Mansfield has played in both games against Corpus Christi this season and has recorded four points (2G, 2A). He has registered six multi-point games of the 27 he has played so far this season.
IceRays (F: #22 – Dylan Contreras)
The 19-year-old is in his second season in the NAHL. Last season, the Yorba Linda, CA native played 55 games for the IceRays and finished with five goals and 20 assists. Putting him in a tie for fifth on the team. The 5’7”/165lb. right-handed forward is currently fifth on the team in scoring with 14 points (5G, 9A). He is currently on a three-game point streak (2G, 1A). Contreras spent the 2020-21 season playing for Elite Hockey Academy 18U AAA and tallied 59 points (20G, 39A) in 55 games. Which put him first on the team in points.
Photo credit: Danne Braden