Monday, April 5, 2010

The final blow - Collin Circelli scored the game-winner 2:04 into overtime

Jacks beat Brahmas in 5-4 overtime

Odessa to face either Allen or Laredo in Southern Conference Finals

Throughout the Central Hockey League, it’s known as one of the toughest buildings for a visiting team to play in. It’s small, it’s cold and it lacks many of the amenities found in other arenas housing a minor professional hockey club.

One of the NYTEX Sports Centre’s biggest assets is the rowdy, loud and proud fans of the Texas Brahmas who filled the venue on Monday night as the home team faced elimination.

Up 4-2 after two periods, it appeared that the defending league champions might just pull off a win and force a Game Seven showdown in the Southern Conference Semi-final series. The Odessa Jackalopes had other plans.

After scoring two goals in the third period and sending the game into overtime, the Jackalopes needed just over two minutes to end the Brahmas’ season, courtesy of a pass from Jeff Pierce to Collin Circelli, which led to the game-winning goal.

With the win, the Jackalopes overcame a two-game deficit, winning four straight and in the process, doing something no other team had, winning three straight post-season contests in the arena, affectionately known as “The Shoebox”.

Odessa now advances to the Southern Conference Finals; one more hurdle on their quest for the team’s first President’s Cup Championship. They will face the winner of the Allen Americans /Laredo Bucks series which resumes on Tuesday night. The Bucks currently lead the series, three games to two.

A slashing call on Brahmas defenseman Kevin Seibel led to the first tally of the game as Kenny Bernard pushed the puck past an outstretched Brett Jaeger to make it a 1-0 contest at the 3:43 mark.

Less than three minutes later, a pass from James Hiebert found the blade of line mate Jason Deitsch, who slapped it over Juha Toivonen’s gloved hand for the equalizer at the 6:22 mark.

The Brahmas gained the lead with a power play goal of their own after Luke Sellars’ slap shot from the point was blocked and Lee Jubinville sent in the rebound at the 8:56 mark.

Odessa answered less than four minutes later when Jeff Pierce netted a goal for the Jacks just as a holding penalty on Brahmas defenseman Tyrell Mason expired.

The Jackalopes led the shot count 18-8 after 20 minutes and the score was tied 2-2 heading into the first intermission.

The Brahmas scored the only points of the middle frame beginning with James Hiebert’s pass from the point that allowed a deflection at the net by Jason Deitsch to put the Brahmas up 3-2 at the 3:01 mark.

Then, Jordan Cameron carried the puck from the left wing corner, behind the Jackalopes net and circled in front, sliding a backhander into the goal with 4:03 to play in the period.

Odessa had a 13-11 shot advantage in the second period and 31-19 after 40 minutes, but the home team was ahead by two scores entering the second break.

The final frame saw a new face in net for the Jackalopes as Odessa head coach Paul Gillis sent Joel Martin in relief for Toivonen.

Early in the period, Jordan Cameron was called for a five-minute charging major after a hit that left Odessa defenseman Philippe Plante sprawled on the ice. The additional game misconduct put the Jackalopes’ special teams on notice and they answered with a score. Alex Dunn brought the puck up the right wing side and passed it to Kory Karlander who sent it top shelf at the 5:04 mark.

Then, at the 7:38 mark, Sebastien Thinel took a pass from Jean Bourbeau and sent it inside the left post to tie the game at four all, eventually sending the game into sudden death overtime.

There was only one shot on goal in the extra frame, and it counted for everything. Collin Circelli, on a feed from Jeff Pierce, drove deep to the right post and ended the Brahmas’ season when he faked a shot and then went to the backhand, beating Jaeger at the 2:04 mark.

After a brief celebration by the Jackalopes, the teams lined up for the customary handshakes and well wishes as this chapter in the 2010 CHL post-season drew to a close.

Odessa will open the Southern Conference Finals at 7:05 p.m. Friday at the Ector County Coliseum. Game Two is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Saturday.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

1 comment:

Neal said...

I'm still pretty well aggrivated by how the CHL Refs have treated the Brahmas this year....from the very beginning it was obvious that they were totally against the Brahmas...the game lastnight was won by the no good sorry ref...he called penalties on the Brahmas that he never the Heibert elbow...He called one call that got Jordan Cameran threw out of the game...just because of an Odessa player crying to him....I thought the ref had to see the play in order to call a call...Not a player whinning to him...It would be nice to have at least one ref that was a decent ref that called the game right down the middle...not on politics...I don't care who won if they won the game fair...Odessa didn't win the game fair...they didn't even win the game...the ref gave them the game....and I do believe it was all politics...I'm not saying that the Brahmas didn't have some pretty lousy games this year they did....I am saying that the Brahmas could and would've had this 7 game series rapped up with Odessa had it not been for who knows what reason...I will say this...if a team in the CHL has the players to win the cup two or maybe more years in a row...then keep the refs calling the games right....not the CHL league owners calling who they want to win!!!