There will be blood...
Jackalopes win 4-3 smack down at NYTEX
If there was any indication of the blood to be spilled tonight at the NYTEX Sports Center, it came during pre-game warm-ups. Just a few minutes in, Jason Deitsch took a puck to the mouth and had to be taken to the locker room for stitches. Then defenseman Sean Hurley, in an attempt to block a shot, had his finger pinched against his stick which caused the soft tissue to burst, leaving the tip of the digit looking as if it had a run-in with a Ginsu knife.
Odessa forward Kenny Bernard took a puck to the mouth and left at least a couple of teeth on the ice later in the game. Even referee Geoff Miller had to have his mouth looked at after an errant poke...something disheartened Brahmas fans shed no tears about after a flurry of questionable calls favored the visiting Jackalopes who pulled out a 4-3 win, their third in a row and first against the Brahmas this season.
His first start with the Brahmas couldn't have gone worse as Jeff Harvey allowed four unanswered goals in the first 18:13 of play, leading to a trip to the bench as Dan Wildfong sent Wayne Savage in relief. Savage was perfect, stopping 22 of 22 shots faced. earning the 1st Star of the night, despite the loss.
There first frame started out nothing but ugly as Dave Van Drunen's shot hit Harvey in the chest and then Harvey, who had fallen backwards trying to locate the rolling puck was further victimized by Van Drunen, who gently tapped it in at the 3:05 mark. Sebastien Thinel and Alex Dunn were credited with the helpers.
Just 2:11 later, Jeff Pierce lit the lamp, sending the puck under Harvey's left skate to make it 2-0 with a little help from Kenny Bernard and Sebastien Thinel.
Dominic Leveille made it 3-0 after beating Harvey at the 10:12 mark, shooting from the bottom of the right circle. Darryl Bootland and Todd Robinson were credited with the assist.
Todd Griffith took a ride into the boards courtesy of Darryl Bootland, who seemed surprised that Griffith came after him afterwards. Bootland received a well-placed right to the jaw although he managed to bring Griffith down to the ice thereafter. The angry Brahma earned an early trip to the locker room and 17 PIM including a Fighting (Instigator), a Fighting (Instigator) Misconduct and a Fighting Major.
Bootland, by the way, took flight after a massive check from Mick Lawrence (see it here).
Finally, it was Bootland who put the fourth Odessa tally on the board after a two-on-one breakaway at the 18:13 mark, with a little help from Michael Schutte and Dave Van Drunen. With that, Dan Wildfong sent Wayne Savage in to mitigate the damage, which he did quite well, keeping the Jacks off the board for the remainder of the period.
Out shot 17-9 and out scored 4-0, the Brahmas went into the locker room with a formidable task ahead of them; one that they would rise to the occasion to meet.
Defenseman Jim Burichin got the Brahmas' fans on their feet with a quick strike on Joel Martin at the 1:26 mark of the middle frame. Chris Moran and Mick Lawrence were credited with the assist.
A slashing call on Mike Lesperance led to a power play goal by Greg Hogeboom at the 14:11 mark, assisted by Jason Deitsch and Dan Riedel.
Steven Later and Alex Curran mixed it up with Alex Dunn and Jeff Pierce at the end of the period resulting in a Roughing Double Minor and a No Category Misconduct for Later. Curran received two minutes for Roughing. Both Pierce and Dunn received two minutes for Roughing; Dunn also received a No Category Misconduct.
Odessa had the 16-11 shot advantage in the middle frame but Savage's effort coupled with the goals by Burichin and Hogeboom cut their lead in half and the Brahmas had a fighting chance as they went into the second intermission.
Did I say fighting chance? Yes, it was, but the calls by Geoff Miller were less than stellar and the Brahmas were continuously stymied on an already uphill path.
Jason Deitsch scored the lone goal of the final frame, beating Martin on a set up by Chad Woollard and Jason Krischuk. Alas, the boys were unable to tally the equalizer and force the game into overtime and had to settle instead for a disappointing outcome of no points out of a possible four on the weekends contests.
The Brahmas out shot the Jacks 14-6 in the final 20, but were out shot 39-34 in the game.
With the loss, the Brahmas' record goes to 11-9-3 (.543, 25 points) and they drop (like a rock) to sixth place in the Berry Conference. Texas is now 6-4-1 at home.
Jeff Harvey stopped 13 of 17 shots faced in 18:13 in net and takes the loss. His record with the Brahmas is 0-1-0. In relief, Wayne Savage stopped 22 of 22 shots faced in 41:47 of play.
Joel Martin turned away 31 of 34 shots faced and earned the win. His record goes to 8-8-0.
The Brahmas went 1 for 4 on the power play. The Jackalopes went 1 for 11.
Texas was assessed 49 minutes on 15 infractions. Odessa received 26 minutes on nine infractions. The Brahmas penalty kill remains in the second slot (behind Bossier-Shreveport) in the league this season with 15 power play goals allowed and an 87.29 percentage.
The 3rd Star of the game went to Odessa's Darryl Bootland, who had a goal and an assist on the night. The 2nd Star was awarded to Jason Deitsch, who also had a goal and an assist and the 1st Star went to Wayne Savage, for a terrific night (in relief)in net.
Referee: Geoff Miller
Linesmen: Jon Shaw, Kai Magnussen
You can view the box score here and the Game Live broadcast here
You can view the Brahmas' press release here
You can view my photos from the game here and here (still being edited)
The Brahmas will travel to Tulsa for a game against the red hot Oilers (who have won nine of their last 10) on Tuesday night.
Photo Credit: Robert Keith