Odessa, Tx: The Wranglers outlasted the Odessa Jackalopes 3-to-2 Friday night to secure their third straight victory, all three coming on the road.
Amarillo set out for their second to last road trip of the season against a Jackalopes team that would return home after seven straight games on opposing ice. The goalies, Carter Clafton and William Proctor, would steal the show in the opening period with zeroes on the scoreboard after 20 minutes of play.
The story would stay the same for most of the second period until Odessa broke the scoreless tie at 13:13 of the frame with a Tanyon Bajzer goal. The Wranglers wouldn’t wait long to respond when Glebs Prohorenkovs set up Danylo Korzhyletskyi, who buried the tying goal in the final moments of the second.
Early in the third, the Wranglers would take the lead when Kristaps Skrastins converted on a rebound on Jase Sofo’s shot just 2:05 of the period. The Wranglers would add to their lead moments later when CJ Zezima scored on the rush to make it 3-to-1 with 16 minutes left to play.
Both teams would pick up the physicality resulting in a parade to the penalty box where the Wranglers would have a chance to expand their lead on the powerplay. The Jackalopes would use the speed of Christopher Duclair to set up a short-handed goal by Mike Manzo to pull Odessa within a goal with six minutes to play.
Odessa would pepper Clafton in the final moments with the extra attacker. Amarillo would hold off the Jackalopes attack as Clafton made the last save as time expired to secure the 3-to-2 victory. The win would be Amarillo’s third consecutive win and bring them to within two points of Odessa in the standings.
Clafton earned his 13th win of the season and his fourth as a Wrangler with a 34-save performance. Skrastins would pick up his 31st goal, which is third-most in the NAHL. The first-year player Korzhyletskyi buried his second goal in his 13th game this season. Zezima would score the game-winning goal, propelling the Wranglers to their 24th win of the year. The Wranglers and Jackalopes will conclude the weekend series Saturday, March 12 at 7:15 from Ector County Coliseum.