Tornado drop third straight in 2-1 loss to Odessa
The Texas Tornado were handed their third straight loss Friday night, coming at the hands of the Odessa Jackalopes, who defeated the Tornado by a score of 2-1. The Tornado sent 32 shots on goal, but Jackalopes goaltender Connor Hellebuyck stopped all but one of them in what was his 11th victory of the season. Joakim Jutras started in net for the Tornado and only saw 18 shots, but the two that got past him were enough to hand the Tornado the loss.
Texas struck first when a fortuitious bounce led to a golden opportunity for the Tornado. Texas attempted to simply dump the puck in, but in doing so, the puck bounced off the boards, took a right turn and headed through the slot to the stick of Ondrej Kopta. With the puck on his backhand, the 16-year-old Czech native put it high-glove side on Jackalopes goaltender Connor Hellebuyck for the first goal of the game.
The Jackalopes answered back in rather short order, however. Just slightly over a minute following Kopta’s goal, Josh Obergon tied the score with a tally of his own. After a couple of saves by Jutras and another that rang off the post, Obergon got control of the puck and beat Jutras to tie the score at 1 at the 7:56 mark of the first period.
With the teams tied after the first period, the second period was played mostly in the neutral zone. Both teams generate a couple of scoring chances, but neither could put one past the opposing goaltender, and it remained a 1-1 score headed into the third period.
Texas came out jumping in the third period when, after a delayed whistle on an Odessa penalty, Mico Solorzano looked for a chance to fire up his team and the home crowd. After a couple of jabs with Jackalopes defenseman Bryan Mitchell, the two dropped the gloves and exchanged a few right hands before a solid punch by Solorzano knocked Mitchell to the ice.
After the fight, play resumed with Texas on the power-play looking to take the lead. The Jackalopes killed the penalty off however, and a minute after they did so, picked up a goal of their own. John Kirtland tried to pass the puck across to his defense partner Nick Neville, but Tyller Robert had the play snuffed out and jumped into the slot to intercept the pass. From there, it was just Robert and Jutras, and Robert put it past the Tornado goaltender to give Odessa the 2-1 lead.
Immediately following the ensuing faceoff, T.J. Stuntz and T.J. Sennott dropped the gloves, with both players furiously exchanging right hands before Stuntz took down Sennott. The momentum usually garnered from winning a fight was not enough for the Tornado, though, as they could not beat Hellebuyck again and Odessa came away with the win.
The Tornado will be back in action next Friday against Wichita Falls for a 7:30 start from Dr Pepper Arena.