The Texas Tornado went into Saturday’s game looking to build on the momentum from Friday night’s 5-3 victory over the Odessa Jackalopes. Aaron Davisgot the start in net for his second action since joining the Tornado February 7th.
Texas got on the board first thanks to a tremendous individual effort by CJ Reuschlein along the enboards behind the Odessa net. Reuschlein out muscled Dylan Rosen and Taylor Portner to pull the puck out front and sent a backhander off Erick Majerle, but Mitch McPherson shoved the rebound past the left skate. Jason Eddy picked up the secondary assist on the goal that came at 7:30. At 12:10 the Tornado added to their one goal lead when Jackson Leef moved the puck to the near point then saucered a beautiful pass across to Nick Blase sneaking down from his defensive spot at the far point. Blase blasted a shot off Majerle who left the puck in his skates for Brandon Hawkins to power through the Jackalopes’ netminder. Reuschlein drew a holding penalty at 15:16 on another puck battle in the corner putting the best road power play on the job. Just 47 seconds into the man advantage Nick Neville slid the puck along the blueline to Michael Hoy at center. Hoy’s touch pass found Leef in the left wing circle and he stepped around Cody Slocum before ripping a wrister into the back of the net.
Texas kept the pressure on in the second period and at 4:47 Reuschlein drove through a Matthew Montemuro hip check at the far half wall then dropped it for McPherson trailing the play. McPherson’s shot caromed back out to the right wing circle and Neville blistered a one timer over the left pad. Another Tornado power play goal would build the lead to five. Off an offensive zone draw Hoy found Neville at the top of the right wing circle for a slapshot. Justin Greenberg who had gone to the front for the screen redirected it over Majerle, ending the night early for the Jackalopes’ starter.
The Tornado were hit with two quick penalties just past the mid point of the second giving Odessa 1:32 of 5 on 3 power play. Just as the Tornado had killed off the second of the two penalties, Matt Volonnino fed Chris Taff who had time and space to send it past a screened Davis high blocker side at 13:04.
The Tornado responded with a third power play goal. This time Hoy sent the puck down the near boards to Leef who curled out to the top of the circle. Leef threaded the needle with a pass to Neville at the top of the far circle for a onetimer through traffic and behind Nick Deery.
Just 1:45 into the third period Eddy picked up a double minor for roughing and Odessa scored just eight seconds into the first power play. Jimmy Peplinski won the faceoff back to Taff who sent it into the high slot to Josh Racek. Racek stepped around Hoy on his way to the net and sent a backhander against the grain over Davis’ right pad.
Just past the mid point of the period, Cameron Brown took the puck into the zone before losing an edge, but got back to his feet and slid it across to Blase at the near point for a onetimer. Deery made the save but it left him out of position and Louie Rowe deposited it into the open net at 10:52. Hawkins scored his NAHL league leading 32nd goal of the season on a give and go with Alexey Soloviev at the 12:27 mark. Hawkins pulled the puck out of the near corner to the high slot and gave it to Soloviev swooping in from the far point. The Moscow native dropped it back to Hawkins who went top shelf for the goal.
The Texas Tornado special teams played a big part in the outcome going 3-8 with the man advantage while holding Odessa to 1-5 despite an extended 5 on 3 opportunity for the Jackalopes. The Tornado also held the shots on goal advantage 48-30.