Lone Star Brahmas (34-12-2-5, 75pts) vs. Odessa Jackalopes (26-24-1-2, 55pts)
Location: Ector County Coliseum in Odessa, TX
Time: Friday 7:15 p.m. CDT | Saturday 7:15 p.m. CDT
Broadcast: HockeyTV | Listen Live Here
What You Need to Know:
All-Time Record: 19-64-3-8
Season Series: 3-2
LOS: 27pts, Wilde (16G, 11A)
ODA: 51pts, Mansfield (18G, 33A)
The Brahmas have clinched their spot in the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season. The only season Lone Star did not reach the playoffs was their first year (2013-14). The Brahmas have made it out of the South Division twice (2015 and 2017). In 2017, they went on to win their first and only Robertson Cup Championship. As for Odessa, they have made the playoffs three times since joining the NAHL in 2011-12 (’12, ’16, ’18). The Jacks have not made the playoffs since the 2017-18 season. That year they finished the regular season in third with 71 points which is the highest position in franchise history. Last season, the Jacks snapped a three-year streak (2018-21) of finishing last place in the division. They ended up in fifth place with 63 points and a franchise record in goals with 193. This year, the Jacks have not been in the top four all season and are currently eight points out of the final playoff spot. The playoff window for Odessa may be small but it is not closed yet. A benefit the Jacks have for their playoff push is that they are playing five of their final seven games on home ice.
The Jacks have a total of 11 age-outs on their roster and six are in the top ten for scoring. Of the 11 seniors, there are seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie. Odessa is T-6th in the NAHL when comes to average age at 19.44. They are third in experience with a combined 1,991 games played. Lone Star has 15 players that are in their final year of junior eligibility. Of their 15 age-outs, ten are forwards, four are defensemen, and one is a goalie. Lone Star is listed as the oldest team in the NAHL with an average age of 19.58. However, their experience puts them 15th in the league with a combined total of 1,651 games played. Seven of the top ten skaters for Lone Star are seniors.
Odessa has never won more than four games in a season against Lone Star. They won four times in 2015-16 and 2018-19. The last time the Jacks saw Lone Star was on Feb. 20th in BrahmaLand. In that game, Odessa was up 5-0 before the Brahmas came back and scored four unanswered but the Jacks went on to win that game, 8-5. Which is still their most goals in a game this season. That is also the most Lone Star has allowed in a game since Mar. 15, 2014 (8-3 vs. Amarillo). If Odessa is able to win their remaining seven games, then they would tie their franchise record at 33.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Brahmas (F: #24 – Ryan Prewitt)
The Abington, MA native is in his second season in the NAHL. The 19-year-old started his NAHL career last season playing 54 games (2G, 11A) for the Brahmas. The 6’0”/180lb. left-handed defenseman is currently 10th on the team in points with 20 (3G, 17A). The Stonehill College commit ranks second on the team in assists. Prewitt is T-1st on the team in short-handed goals with two. He was a member of Team South at the 2023 NAHL Top Prospects tournament and tallied one goal in two games. The assistant captain comes into the 3-in-3 series T-1st for the most points against the Jacks this season with five (1G, 4A).
Jackalopes (F: #18 – Ryan Kelly)
The 19-year-old is in his third year in the NAHL. Before reaching the League of Opportunity, Kelly spent the 2020-21 season playing for the Selects Academy 18U AAA. He finished second on the team in points with 39 (18G, 21A) in 38 games. The Highlands Ranch, CO native started his NAHL career that same season by playing four games for Odessa. Last year, the 6’2”/175lb. right-handed forward played in 47 games for the Jacks and finished with 24 points. Putting him 10th on the team in scoring. So far this season, Kelly is fifth on the team in points with 31 (12G, 19A). He leads the team in power-play goals with four. Kelly enters this 3-in-3 series on a three-game point streak (1G, 3A). He set a career-high point streak this season at ten games (5G, 8A). He has played in all five games against Lone Star and has registered one goal.
Photo credit: Danne Braden