The Texas Tornado entered their NAHL South Division series with the Odessa Jackalopes needing a win and they got it with solid performances up and down the lineup. The Tornado jumped out to an early lead in the first that while challenged was never relinquished.
At the 4:50 mark, Josh Racek tried to ring the puck around behind his own net on the clear. Anthony Mousseau stepped in front and knocked the puck into the corner for CJ Reuschlein. Reuschlein split the defense on his way out front and ripped it past Nick Deery glove side. Just under a minute later, Reuschlein had a chance to notch another as he sprung loose on a breakaway. As he drove the net he delayed trying to force Deery to commit but ran out of room and Deery kicked it aside to keep it a one goal game. Max Shuart chased down a loose puck in the defensive zone to get the next scoring play started. He fired the puck into the neutral zone for Justin Greenberg who punched it past Stephen Inman and was off to the races. Greenberg carried it in on Deery and went five hole to close out the first period scoring.
Odessa got on the board with a fluke goal in the second after Mitch Mueller tried to use the glass to get the puck out on the clear. Matt Volonnino knocked it down and Cody Slocum fired a slapshot wide from the near point. The puck bounced hard off the end boards, over the crossbar and off Hunter Leisner’s back before crossing the goal line. Time of the goal was 6:57.
It took Texas just under three minutes to reestablish their two goal lead as Nick Neville blistered a shot from the far point which Deery knocked down. Deery thought he had the puck covered, but Scott Conway spotted it laying in the paint and dashed in from the right circle to slam it home.
A defensive breakdown at 17:12 opened the door for the Jackalopes once again. Alexey Soloviev pinched trying to keep the play alive but Anthony Olguin knocked the puck past the Tornado defenseman. Michael Hoy came across to bail Soloviev out and as he drove Olguin into the boards, Olguin found Jude Warner streaking down the center and he beat Leisner glove side.
Once again the Texas Tornado built the lead to two off of a draw to Deery’s right. Jackson Leef went forward with the puck and chased it down in the corner before sending a beautiful centering pass to Conway in the slot for a quick wrister. The goal came at 18:14.
Brandon Hawkins took a slashing penalty at 19:54 of the second which gave Odessa a power play on fresh ice. It took them only 19 seconds to cash in. Jimmy Peplinski fired a shot from the far point that Leisner tried to squeeze to his body, but it tricked loose and rolled just off the near post for Brett Wagner to poke across the line.
Greenberg and Shuart would team up again for the final goal of the game at 4:58. Greenberg sent Shuart down the far boards from inside the Tornado zone. Shuart powered his way through a hip check from Mattheiu Audet at the half wall then hit Greenberg in stride down the slot for a shot over the left pad.
The Texas Tornado nearly doubled up Odessa in shots on goal outshooting the Jackalopes 42-24. Texas was 0-3 on the power play while Odessa was 1-6.