Odessa, Tx- The Wranglers fell 5-to-1 Saturday night to the Jackalopes but grab a big split on the road in a battle of the division’s top two teams.
Amarillo would break the ice early for the second straight game when Aidan Carney scored on a wide open net for his first of the season. The opening goal came at the 4:16 mark of the period. Goalie Max Gutjahr would make big stops through the first frame but could not prevent the tying goal when Odessa had a two-man break shorthanded in the final 10 seconds of the period. The teams would head into the intermission tied at one goal a piece.
Odessa would take the lead early in the second period by way of a Dayne Hoyard powerplay goal at the 2:57 mark. The Wranglers would control most of the middle stanza but could not solve Odessa goalie Will Procter who made big saves throughtout the period. The Jackalopes would use their speed to open up a 3-to-1 lead when Tanyon Bajzer scored in transition at 16:06 of the period. Odessa would strike again in the final minute when four Jackalopes forced a chance in transition and Ryan Mansfield beat Gutjahr at 19:42 of the period. The Wranglers would get 17 shots on net in the middle period but would be shut down by Procter.
The third period would see neither team dictate play as Amarillo would again be stymied by Procter in goal. Odessa would net their fifth goal of the night by Ryan Kusler at the 15:06 of the period to wrap up a 5-to-1 win and split the weekend between the division’s top two teams.
Amarillo will have the chance to reclaim the top spot with a pair of home games against the Corpus Christi Ice Rays next week. Odessa will have their first weekend off and will not be in action next weeked. The Wranglers stand alone in second place one point ahead of New Mexico in the early race for top spots in the South.