Last game of 2011 ends in 4-1 Tornado loss
It was a tale of two games for the Texas Tornado this weekend. After a nine-goal output against the Odessa Jackalopes on Friday night, the Tornado were stymied by Odessa goaltender Connor Hellebuyck on Saturday, who stopped 42 of 43 shots in dispatching Texas by a score of 4-1. Reid Mimmack saw just 20 shots on goal, but dropped to 8-4-3 on the season.
The Tornado scored four goals in the first period on Friday night, but Hellebuyck-- who was pulled last night-- was on his game 24 hours later, stopping all 11 shots he saw in the opening period. The lone goal of the first came off the stick of Josh Obergon, who scored after a shot from the point by Zach Mertes was blocked. The puck redirected straight up in the air and came down in the slot, right where Obergon was waiting. His wrist shot beat Mimmack, and gave the Jackalopes a 1-0 lead at the 6:26 mark of the first period.
It was more of the same for the Tornado in the second period, who struggled to get their offense going, and when they did, Hellebuyck was there to make the save. Meanwhile, Obergon scored his second goal of the game at 3:53 of the second period. Obergon was out in front of the net when a centering pass from Darren Lapic found him, and he rifled it past Mimmack to give the Jackalopes a 2-0 lead.
Just over three minutes later, Odessa captain Willie Faust extended the Jackalopes lead to three. A scramble in front of the Tornado net caused some confusion and havoc, leading to a wide-open Faust at the doorstep. With Mimmack at the far post, Faust got control of the puck at the near post and fired it into the empty net and made it a 3-0 Jackalopes lead.
With the score still 3-0 in the third period, the Tornado tried to claw their way back. After a hooking call against Mikko Virtanen put the Tornado on the power-play, Mychal Monteith cut the Tornado deficit to two. Monteith, at the right point, took a pass from Jordan Lovick and skated to the top of the circle. He took a snapshot that went through a screen in front and past Hellebuyck for the power-play goal.
Though Texas had the momentum for the next few minutes, they were unable to beat Hellebuyck again and were forced to pull Mimmack in favor of the extra attacker. Odessa would seal the deal, though, with an empty net goal coming from Faust as he took an indirect pass from Jalen Krogman, broke past the Tornado defense, and nearly skated it into the empty net before putting it in and making it 4-1 Odessa lead.
The Tornado return to the ice on Thursday, January 5th against the Corpus Christi IceRays. Opening faceoff from Dr Pepper Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.