Odessa Jackalopes (3-3-0-0, 6pts) vs. Shreveport Mudbugs (2-2-0-0, 4pts)
at George’s Pond Hirsch Coliseum, LA
Time: 7:11 p.m. CDT
Broadcast: (Away) HockeyTV
What You Need to Know:
Season Series: 0-0
ODA: 8pts, Duclair (4g-4a)
SHV: 4pts, Gatto (1g-3a)
The Jackalopes begin their month-long road trip tomorrow when they face the defending champions. The Mudbugs finished last season atop the South Division with a record of 38-11-2-5 (83pts). Last year the Jacks and Mudbugs faced-off 10 times. Odessa only managed to capture one win during their contests. Currently the Mudbugs find themselves in sole possession of last place in the South Division. Them along with New Mexico, who the Jacks will see later this October, have not played a game since the NAHL Showcase. Odessa is currently tied with four other teams for 2nd place in the South (New Mexico, Corpus, El Paso, and Lone Star). The Jacks will face all those teams throughout the month of October. Odessa will have their first home games on October 28th-30th when the Brahmas come to town.
The South Division is known for being a very physical style of hockey. Shreveport is entering their sixth season in the NAHL and have not had less than 1,000 penalty minutes any year. Odessa is currently in their 11th year and has also never had a season under 1,000 penalty minutes. Odessa is sitting at 50 through six games. Whereas Shreveport is at 49 and they have played two less games than Odessa. Although 29 of those penalty minutes belong solely to Davis Goukler. The Jacks speed will be a good test against a very physical Shreveport roster.
While the Jacks are one of the younger teams, not only in their division but also in the league, they have already shown that they are much different than last year’s team. Two of the three losses for Odessa have been by a score of two or fewer. This is a team that last year finished with 117 goals for (fewest in the South) and 190 goals against (most in the South). This season though they are currently sitting at 18 apiece. This Jacks roster already has spread the puck around as they have 16 different players that have recorded a point.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Jackalopes (D: #24 – Charlie Banquier)
The 18-year-old is in his second season in the NAHL. Last year, Banquier played 47 games for the Jacks picking up six points (1g-5a). This year though, the 6’3”-190lb. right-handed defenseman has already tied his point total from last season (6a). The Oakville, ON, CAN native currently leads the team is assists. The only goal Banquier has scored in the NAHL came back on December 11, 2020, against the Shreveport Mudbugs. Banquier is tied with Emerson Goode for the best plus-minus on the team (5). With his point-per-game production so far this season, look for him to generate scoring chances every time he takes the ice.
Mudbugs (F: #7 – Connor Gatto)
The Jacksonville, FL native finished ninth in scoring last year for the Mudbugs (13g-14a). The 5’7”-150lb. right-handed forward was drafted #43 overall by the Mudbugs in 2020. Prior to joining the NAHL, Gatto played 49 games for the Islanders Hockey Club (NCDC) recording 40 points (14g-26a). The 20-year-old is in his final season of junior hockey. All his points have come in the last three games. While playing in the Robertson Cup Playoffs, Gatto recorded a goal and two assists across eight games. Gatto also earned South Division Star of the Week (March 22-28, 2021) for scoring a hat-trick against Wichita Falls on March 26, 2021.