Leef sparkles in return, scores OT game-winner
For the first time since the team was eliminated from the playoffs last April, Jackson Leef put on a Texas Tornado uniform on Friday night. He scored 59 points for the Tornado last season, and once he was out in the ice, it was as if he had never left. The 19-year-old native of Fort Wayne, Ind. netted the game-winning goal at 0:35 of overtime to give the Tornado a 2-1 victory over the Wichita Falls Wildcats. Leef returned to the Tornado after spending the first half of the season with the Sioux City Musketeers. He was reacquired by the Tornado on Tuesday, and came back to the Tornado lineup in style.
2:53 mark of the opening period. The Wildcats broke into the zone on a 2-1 with Pochiro and Nick Szopinski with the puck on his right. Szopinski’s pass connected with Pochiro, whose stick appeared to be tied up by the Tornado back-check. But Pochiro powered through the stick of Nick Neville, and slipped it in between the pads of Joakim Jutras for the first and only goal of the first period.
The Tornado looked much stronger in the second period, causing turnovers and creating scoring chances in the Wildcats zone. Jeanetta made the saves he needed to, however, and the Tornado missed the net on a few other chances as neither team was able to beat the opposing goaltender in the second period.
The third period started just as the second had, with the Wildcats leading it 1-0, and until the final three minutes of the period, both teams remained off the scoreboard. With 2:52 left in regulation, however, C.J. Reuschlein’s 11th goal of the season tied the score at 1. Mychal Monteith put a wrist shot on goal and Wildcats goalie JoJo Jeanetta made a mistake he hadn’t all game, gave up a bad rebound. Reuschlein was all over it and, with the puck on his backhand, got it past the Wildcats goaltender and forced the tie game.
The overtime winner by Leef gives the Tornado their first victory in the calendar year of 2012. They’ll look to make it two in a row on Saturday night, when they play host to the Odessa Jackalopes at 7:30 at Dr Pepper Arena.