Five in a row for Texas
The Texas Tornado won their fifth straight game on Friday after a 4-1 victory over the Odessa Jackalopes on Friday. Drew Mayer, Alexey Solovyev, Brandon Platt, and Mitch McPherson all scored for the Tornado, who remain two points back of Amarillo for first in the South Division. Hunter Leisner is still the league’s winningest goaltender after he picked up his 18th victory of the season.
Neither team scored in the first, but the Tornado dominated the game from the outset, outshooting the Jackalopes 17-2 in the opening period. The Tornado had plenty of chances, but Odessa goaltender Phil Heinle did everything he could to keep the Tornado off the board. It was scoreless through the midway portion of the game, until a pass from Scott Conway sprung Mayer on a breakaway. A double-minor to CJ Reuschlein had just come off the board, but Mayer walked in on a breakaway and went backhand to beat Heinle and open the scoring at 10:27 of the first.
Odessa answered just 54 seconds later, however, on Josh Racek’s fourth of the season. Lawrence Cornellier skated into the Tornado zone down the right-wing boards and threw the puck in front. Racek was there to redirect it over Leisner’s shoulder and tie the score. Later in the second period, Solovyev gave the Tornado the lead for good after a slapshot from the blue line made its way through traffic and went five-hole on Heinle for the goal.
The Tornado took their 2-1 lead into the third period and never looked back. Early in the third, a bouncing puck made its way to Platt in the slot. He ripped a wrist shot off the inside of the post and in to extend the Tornado lead to two. Later in the period, a goalmouth scramble led to a loose puck at the side of the net. McPherson was there to put home his eighth of the season and the Tornado led 4-1. The game nearly turned ugly with under two minutes left, after Tyler Minx was given a five-minute major for spearing. He and Scott Conway were both given double-minors for roughing, as well, though Minx was given a game misconduct and will likely face supplemental discipline. But the horn sounded and cooler heads prevailed as the Tornado improved their record to 22-9-1.
Both teams will return to the ice on Saturday for a special 12:00 p.m. start from Dr Pepper Arena.