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Cotton Kings Game Night Preview (vs. Odessa)

January 29, 2006 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Lubbock Cotton Kings News Release

1/29/06 - ODESSA JACKALOPES (21-13-4) @ LUBBOCK COTTON KINGS (16-20-1) - 5:05 PM LUBBOCK MUNICIPAL COLISEUM

STOP THE MADNESS

The Lubbock Cotton Kings did not think things could get worse after their 8-2 loss Friday against Oklahoma City, but a 7-2 loss last night in Odessa showed they can. The question tonight: Can it get any worse, as the Kings host the Odessa Jackalopes? It can, but if the Cotton Kings garner a win, it would lift a 500-pound monkey off their back. A win would end a seven-game winless streak to the Jackalopes and a win in regulation would mean the Cotton Kings dodged losing any ground in the Southwest Division standings on the weekend. The game also completes the Kings first three-in-three weekend since December.

THE SERIES

The Odessa Jackalopes and Lubbock Cotton Kings face off for the 11th time this season and for the 69th meeting all-time. It is the fifth game of the season series in Lubbock, where the Kings are 1-4-0 in the series this season and 14-14-3 all-time against Odessa. The overall season series is led by Odessa 8-2-0 this season. Nolan Graham (5g,3a) has eight points to lead the season series offensively for the Kings, while Odessa's Sebastien Thinel (7g,8a) has 15 points for Odessa against the Kings . Lubbock is 23-40-5 all-time against the Jacks', while Odessa is 45-20-3 against the Kings in the all-time series. Odessa's Scott Hillman is the all-time series scoring leader with 9 goals and 45 assists for 54 points. Jan Melichercik is the Cotton Kings all-time leader in scoring against Odessa with 39 points (16g,23a).

THE LAST TIME

1/27/06 - The Odessa Jackalopes had no problem extending their series consecutive win streak to seven games over the Lubbock Cotton Kings Saturday night at the Ector County Coliseum with a 7-2 victory over the Kings. Lubbock's record drops to 16-20-1 and they are now 13 standing-points back of Odessa in the Southwest Division standings.

The Cotton Kings could not shake off the hangover from Friday night's 8-2 loss to Oklahoma City and fell behind early in the contest. Odessa's Scott Hillman notched a power play goal 2:36 into the game and Jamie Lovell registered his first goal of the season 1:09 later for a 2-0 lead just 3:45 into the game. Odessa had another series of power plays in the period and while possessing the puck on a delayed Cotton Kings penalty, the Jackalopes sent a pass to the point and the pass missed the target, going the length of the ice and into their own net. Since the Kings never touched the puck on the delayed penalty, the goal counted. Goaltender Mike Gorman was not in net since he was skating to the bench for the extra attacker. The last member of the Kings that had touched the puck was Jan Melichercik and he gets credit for the goal with 5:39 remaining in the period. The penalty still counted and the Jacks had a five-on-three power play opportunity, which they converted on 1:05 later with a goal by Don Margettie to close the period with Odessa leading 3-1. Teams combined for eight power play opportunities in the opening period, with Odessa accumulating six of the man advantages.

The second period was a near carbon copy of the first. The Jacks scored early and often in the beginning of the period. Matt Cressman scored a power play goal on a redirection just 27-seconds into the period and Sebastien Thinel extended the lead to 5-1 2:08 later on an odd-man rush. Paul Fioroni scored on a rebound later in the period, but the goal was disallowed by Keith Kaval, who ruled the puck was played with a high stick. Odessa's John Kozoris converted another odd-man rush 8:10 into the period to give the Jacks' a 6-1 lead through two periods.

The third period appeared as if it would have the same flow, as Paul Davies scored 33-seconds into the final period of play. The Cotton Kings would end up stopping the onslaught at that point and would close the period with a meaningless goal by Josh Anderson 7:01 into the period. The Kings did show a little pep in the final period, out-shooting the Jacks' 20-4.

Lubbock out-shot the Jackalopes 45-20 in the contest. Leslie, who did not receive much help defensively, allowed 7 goals on 20 shots. Gorman was stellar in net at the other end, stopping 43 of 44 shots faced to garner his fifth consecutive win in net in the series. Power plays were aplenty with teams combining for 20 power play chances. Odessa capitalized on 3 of their 12 advantages, while Lubbock was scoreless in their eight.

ROSTER CHANGES

Lubbock is without goaltender Brett Koscielny, who remains on the IR. Odessa lists a healthy roster.

STANDINGS

Kings - 33 points, 3rd place, 13 points back, Southwest Division. Jackalopes - 46 points, 1st place, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS

Kings - Nolan Graham 28 points; Nolan Graham 16 goals; Jan Melichercik 19 assists; Paul Fioroni 103 penalty minutes. Jackalopes - Sebastien Thinel 53 points; Sebastien Thinel 24 goals; Dominic Leveille 30 assists; Jeff Ewasko 179 penalty minutes.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kings - Power play: 13.3% 12th, Penalty killing: 84.3% 6th. Jackalopes - Power play: 13.0% 13th, Penalty killing: 87.8% 1st.

GOALTENDERS

Kings - Lance Leslie (10-11-1, 1 SO, 3.35), Tyson Gajda (0-0-0, 0 SO, 0.00). Jackalopes - Mike Gorman (17-9-2, 2 SO, 2.38), Derek Dolson (4-3-0, 0 SO, 3.35)

WHAT'S NEXT

Lubbock - Friday, February 3rd 7:05 PM vs. Amarillo Gorillas Travis County Expo Center

Odessa - Tuesday, January 31st 7:00 PM vs. Amarillo Gorillas Ector County Coliseum

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