NORTH AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE: Jackalopes fall to Wildcats in shootout
Feb 03, 2013 (Odessa American - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The Odessa Jackalopes did everything they could Saturday night -- except win.
Battling back to tie the game late in the third period, the Jackalopes then skated through a scoreless overtime before Colin Staub, the eighth skater of the shootout, scored to lift Wichita Falls to a 4-3 victory in a North American Hockey League contest at the Ector County Coliseum.
The victory improved the Wildcats to 18-22-3 and gave them a sweep of the three-game series with Odessa, which dropped to 6-34-3.
Josh Racek, Mike Mezzano and Jimmy Peplinski all scored for the Jackalopes. Peplinski's marker with 5:22 remaining to play tied the game 3-3.
George Pagonis had a goal and two assists to pace Wichita Falls, with Will Vosejpka and Eliot Grauer also finding the net for the Wildcats.
"It was a good hockey game," Jackalopes coach Paul Gillis said. "We fought back in the third period and made a game of it and it would have been nice to get the shootout win.
"It was nice that Jimmy got that goal, it was a good individual effort."
The Jackalopes carried the momentum they gained in the third period Friday night into the first 20 minutes of Saturday's game. Pushing up the ice, Odessa had numerous chances early, but Wildcats' goaltender Cooper Cook was up to the challenges.
Then with the game nearly eight minutes old, the Jackalopes were rewarded.
Lawrence Cornellier, picking up the puck behind the Wildcats' net, skated back up the left-wing boards before firing a cross-ice pass to Slocum at the right point.
Slocum wasted no time in pounding the puck on net, with Wichita Falls goaltender Cooper Cook kicking out his right pad for the save.
But he couldn't control the rebound, which ended up on the blade of Racek's stick as he crashed the net and with Cook out of position, the redirect was true for a 1-0 lead.
That's how it stayed until just 5:45 remained in the first period, when Pagonis scored for Wichita Falls to tie the game and ignite a flurry of scoring that saw the teams trade goals over the next two minutes to end the first period tied 2-2.
It stayed that way until the final moments of the second period, when the Wildcats' Grauer skated into the left circle, faked the Jackalopes' defense to the left and then snapped a wrist shot inside the top left corner with 13 seconds to play before the second intermission.
Contact Lee Scheide on twitter @OALeeScheide, on Facebook at OA Lee Scheide, or call 432-333-7703.
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