Winning streak snapped at five after 3-2 loss
The Texas Tornado had their five-game winning streak snapped on Saturday after a 3-2 loss to the Odessa Jackalopes. Louie Rowe (the reigning South Division Star of the Week) and Brandon Hawkins (the NAHL’s leading goal-scorer) both scored in the third period for the Tornado, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a 3-0 deficit. Jerry Kaukinen suffered his first regulation loss of the season, falling to 4-1-1 on the season after seeing just 10 shots on goal all game.
Just as they did in Friday’s game, Texas outshot the Jackalopes by a wide margin, but neither team put the puck in the net. Nick Deery was making his first start in goal for Odessa after being acquired in a trade from Brookings earlier in the week. Deery played well, especially in the first period, turning aside all 11 shots he saw in the first period.
It didn’t take long for Odessa to light the lamp in the second period, with Taylor Portner scoring just 15 seconds in. The Jackalopes mustered just four shots on goal in the first, but their fifth of the contest made it a 1-0 game. The Tornado gave up possession of the puck in their own end after Lawrence Cornellier intercepted a pass in the corner and spotted Portner in the slot for the goal.
It remained 1-0 for nearly the entire second period, but the Jackalopes added another with less than a minute remaining to double their lead. Again it was a centering pass from Cornellier that led to the goal, but this time it was Josh Racek in the slot for the goal. Racek’s goal was his second of the weekend and gave the Jackalopes a 2-0 lead into the second intermission.
When the teams took the ice for the third and Jimmy Peplinski went top shelf on a wrist shot at 1:42, it looked like the Tornado might roll over and give Odessa its first win in its last 12 games. But the Tornado battled back in the third on Rowe’s sixth of the season. Mike Hoy had possession of the puck at the left-wing boards before spotting Rowe in the slot. The E. Lansing, Mich. native sent a wrist shot past Deery to cut the Tornado defecit to two. Less than a minute later, Hawkins took his patented wrist shot from the high slot as he entered the zone. Deery never saw it coming and the puck went bar-down to make it a 3-2 game with plenty of time remaining in the third period.
Hawkins’s goal came at the 6:13 mark of the third, and though the Tornado had plenty of scoring chances they were never able to get the elusive game-tying goal. Texas outshot Odessa 14-2 in the third (and 36-10 overall) but once Hawkins scored, Deery shut the door. The Tornado pulled Kaukinen in favor of the extra attacker with 1:30 or so left, and were knocking on the doorstep as the final seconds ticked down, but couldn’t beat Deery to tie the game.
The Tornado have next weekend off before returning home for games on December 28th and 29th against the Corpus Christi IceRays. Opening faceoff on both nights is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.