NORTH AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE: Jacks fall, split series with Brahmas

The Odessa Jackalopes were brought back to earth in a 3-1 loss to the Lone Star Brahmas in Saturday night’s North American Hockey League game at Ector County Coliseum.
Playing just one day after posting a 7-0 victory over the Brahmas, the visitors had the final laugh, wrapping up this weekend’s two-game series with a split.
“We keep talking about being a good team and if you want to be a better than average team, you have to win both nights and play hard,” said Odessa Jackalopes head coach Greg Gatto. “We did all the right things (Friday), getting the shots and winning face offs and tonight I thought we looked slow.”
Lone Star’s two first-period goals put the Jackalopes in an early hole. After Jared Christy’s second-period goal, the Brahmas added a third goal late in the second to put the game out of reach.
The Jackalopes, who sit at the bottom of the South Division standings with 32 points, fell to 15-22-1 overall. The Brahmas moved to 19-16-2 and remain in third with 44 points.
The Brahmas outshot the Jackalopes 31-22.
Lone Star goalie Seth Eisele recorded 21 saves for the night. Odessa’s Alex Camarre finished with 28 saves.
The Lone Star Brahmas wasted no time in getting started, finding their first goal of the night just one minute into the game on a Vilho Saariluoma shot with assists by Tim Henriksson and Jake Suede.
The Brahmas kept their foot on the gas pedal and doubled their lead just six minutes later with Eric Huss scoring the goal on an assist from Josh Martin and Clayton Lackey.
Odessa woke up and created numerous scoring opportunities for the remainder of the period, but couldn’t get on the board before the first intermission.
Lone Star outshot the Jackalopes in the first period, 13-9.
The Brahmas continued to attack in the second period and nearly made it 3-0 on a shot by Thomas Daskas that went wide of the net halfway through the frame.
A variety of chances came and went for Lone Star, but the Jackalopes held firm and it wasn’t long until they got on the scoreboard with a counter attack as Christy scored with 9:40 remaining in the second period off assists by Kellen Tharaldson and Kyle Herbster.
But the Jackalopes’ momentum was soon stopped by a Lone Star power-play goal with four minutes remaining in the period when Joey Baez scored on Camarre with an assist from Matt Guerra and Suede and the Brahmas went into the third period carrying a 3-1 lead.
“Our timing has been crappy all season as to when we take penalties and when we give up goals,” Gatto said. “We need to get better. Our leaders in the dressing room have got to be better.”
A power play that carried over into the third period went to waste for the Jackalopes as Odessa’s opportunity to pull one back was to no avail.
A close-range shot from Zidek was stopped by Eisele with six minutes remaining in the game and the Jackalopes were unable to come back from their two-goal deficit.