Odessa Jackalopes (24-16-1-3, 52pts) vs. Lone Star Brahmas (24-10-5-3, 56pts)
at NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills, TX
Time: 7:30 p.m. CDT
Broadcast: (Away) HockeyTV | Listen Live Here
What You Need to Know:
Season Series: 1-2-0-3
ODA: 32pts, Duclair (17g-15a)
LOS: 48pts, Niemo (25g-23a)
The Jacks look to do something this weekend that they have not done since September 28, 2018. That is, win a game at the NYTEX Sports Centre. They have lost 19 straight in Brahmaland (0-18-0-1). The Jacks were close to breaking the streak back on January 14, 2022, but lost 5-4 in a shootout. There has only been one season that the Brahmas have not made the playoffs and that was their first season in the NAHL (2013-14). That year they placed fifth in their division which is the worst they have ever placed. Since then, they have either ended the regular season in first or second place in the South. Odessa has been in a playoff spot since October and is seeking their first playoff birth since the 2017-18 season. Since the Jackalopes entered the NAHL in 2011-12, they have only made the playoff three times. Their best regular-season finish was in 2017-18 when they placed third. This weekend is the last time Odessa will see Lone Star during the regular season. However, if playoffs were to start now, they would face each other in the first round.
All six games this season between Odessa and Lone Star have been decided by one goal. With four of them going past regulation and three extending past 65 minutes. Lone Star has won all three games that went into a shootout. There are only four points that separate the Jacks and Brahmas in the South Division standings. If the Jacks win both games, they will be in a tie with Lone Star for second place. The Jacks have not won back-to-back games against Lone Star since December 17-18, 2020.
Odessa ranks 27th in the NAHL on the power play with a success rate of 14%. The Jacks have 20 power-play goals which are the fourth-fewest in the league. Their penalty kill is at 79.5% which puts them in 22nd. They have nine short-handed goals which are tied for the third most. Lone Star enters this weekend with the 17th best power play in the NAHL (16.5%). They have 22 power-play goals which rank them 22nd in that category. The Brahmas penalty kill is at 82% which ties them for 14th across the league. They have five short-handed goals which are tied for 12th.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Jackalopes (G: #1 – Alex Proctor)
The Dallas, TX native is in his final year of junior eligibility. The 20-year-old has played in 32 games for the Jacks this season and has a record of 18-9-1-3. His 18 wins put him in a tie for the third-most in the NAHL. Also, he is tied for the second-most wins in a single season in Jackalopes history. The record is held by Connor Hellebuyck (26). Proctor’s goals-against-average of 2.71 ranks him 18th among NAHL goaltenders. The 6’2”/175lb. left-handed netminder is fifth in save percentage (.921%). He is in the top three in games played, shots against (1,052), and minutes played (1,836). Proctor earned South Division Star of the Week for September 27 – October 3, 2021. He was also one of two goalies to represent Team South at the 2022 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. Before coming to Odessa, Proctor spent last year playing 26 games (8-13-3, 3.76GAA, .889SV%) for the Philadelphia Hockey Club (NCDC). He got his first look at the NAHL when he played for the Springfield Jr. Blues in 2019-20 (3-7-2, 3.75GAA, .896SV%).
Brahmas (G: #31 – Arthur Smith)
The Farmington, CT native is in his first season in the NAHL. The 17-year-old has a record of 11-1-2-2 and has played in 18 games. His only loss in regulation this season was on October 22, 2021, versus Amarillo. The 6’3”/195lb. left-handed goaltender is ranked fourth in the NAHL with a GAA of 2.09. His save percentage of .903% puts him just outside the top-20. While this is Smith’s first season in the NAHL, he also played six games (0-5, 6.33GAA, .781SV%) for the Madison Capitols (USHL). Smith was one of the two goalies to play for the Selects Team at the 2022 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. He also earned South Division Star of the Week for January 17-23, 2022. Smith has only seen 359 shots this season, which is the second-fewest, only behind his teammate Jan Skorpik (318). Smith is 3-0 (9GA) against the Jacks this season. Before reaching the NAHL, Smith played for the Selects Academy 16U AAA and totaled 22 games (2.36GAA, .905SV%). In 2019-20 he played 32 games for their 15U team (1.18GAA, .936SV%).
Photo credit: Danne Braden