New Mexico Ice Wolves (27-17-2-1, 57pts) vs. Odessa Jackalopes (23-19-1-2, 49pts)
Location: Ector County Coliseum in Odessa, TX
Time: Friday 7:15 p.m. CDT | Saturday 7:15 p.m. CDT
Broadcast: (Home) HockeyTV | Listen Live Here
What You Need to Know:
All-Time Record: 12-15-0-1
Season Series: 1-3
NMO: 46pts, Howard (31G, 15A)
ODA: 42pts, Mansfield (15G, 27A)
Now or Never:
Odessa is currently eight points out of a playoff spot. They have 15 games remaining this season so the most points they can finish with is 79. New Mexico and Shreveport are tied for third place with 57 points. The Jacks still have games in hand on both teams. Of the 15 remaining games for Odessa, nine will be against a playoff team and six will be against either New Mexico or Shreveport. The Ice Wolves are 7-3 in their last ten games and are coming off a split weekend series with Oklahoma. The Ice Wolves became the only team to beat Oklahoma on home ice. New Mexico has 13 games remaining giving them a max total of 83 points. They still have to play Lone Star four times and will end their season against Oklahoma. Odessa has to win both games in regulation this weekend in order to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Odessa has scored 56 goals in the opening period which is the second-most in the NAHL. However, they are tied for the fifth-fewest in the second period with 39, and their total of 34 in the final period is the third-fewest. The Jacks have given up 54 goals in the second period which is the sixth most. New Mexico has scored 58 goals in the middle period which is the third highest in the NAHL. Their total of 56 in the final period ties them for the third most in the league. In the last three games for Odessa, they were outscored 7-11 following the first period. These two teams are in the top three in scoring in the South. The Ice Wolves are one of three NAHL teams yet to win a game when trailing after two periods.
Odessa has 11 home games remaining this season. They are 10-7-1-1 as the home team this season. New Mexico is 11-10-1-1 as the road team this season. The Ice Wolves are currently in the middle of their longest road trip of the season (9 games). The Jacks are home for the first time this month and their only road trip of March will be next weekend in El Paso. Odessa will end the season at home for the first time since the 2018-19 campaign.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Ice Wolves (F: #8 – Sully Scholle)
The Chaska, MN native is in his second year of junior eligibility. The 19-year-old started his NAHL career last season with New Mexico (22GP, 7G, 9A). The 5’11”/170lb. left-handed forward played in 18 games (4G, 1A) for the Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) last year. So far this season, Scholle is second on the team in points (43) and goals (25). Last weekend, Scholle recorded his second career hat trick after putting up three on Oklahoma. Before playing junior hockey, Scholle spent three years (69GP, 35G, 31A) playing for Chaska High (USHS-MN). He was also their captain in 2020-21 and finished that season first on the team in points with 38. Scholle has played in all four games against Odessa this season and has registered six points (3G, 3A).
Jackalopes (G: #33 – Greg Orosz)
The Gyor, HUN native is in his final season of junior hockey. The 20-year-old started his NAHL career last season with the Aberdeen Wings (18GP, 2.76GAA, .906SV%, 8-7-1, 2SO). The University of Alaska-Anchorage (Independent, D1) commit currently has a record of 19-12-1 (2.89GAA, 1SO). His 19 wins are T-4th among all NAHL goalies. The 6’3”/185lb. left-handed goaltender has earned South Division Star of the Week twice this season. Also, his save percentage of 0.922% is the ninth-best in the league. He is fourth in the league in saves with 1,071 and has the most shootout wins by a goalie with five. Orosz has only played against New Mexico twice this season and has a 1-1 record (6GA). Orosz went 4-1-1 during the month of February.
Photo credit: Danne Braden