Jacks Clinch Top Seed in Southern Conference
(Independence, MO) - Despite a 4-3, shootout loss to the Missouri Mavericks on Saturday night at the Independence Events Center, the Odessa Jackalopes picked up a point in the standings and locked up the top seed in the Central Hockey League's Southern Conference for the 2010 postseason.
The Jackalopes nearly pulled out their second straight comeback after Jeff Pierce and Sebastien Thinel each scored in the third period to knot the game at 3-3. Pierce's tally came just 21 seconds into the frame, Thinel scored on a loose puck in the crease at 8:57.
Missouri's Toby Lafrance and Jeff MacDermid each scored in the shootout, while Odessa was held scoreless by goaltender, Gerry Festa, to give the Mavericks the win after four rounds.
The loss moves Odessa's record to 44-11-5, and lowers Odessa's magic number to four points to clinch the league's Governor's Cup title over Rapid City, who won in regulation over Allen on Saturday.
Neither team scored in the opening period but the sellout crowd of 5,800 was treated to early fireworks as the two teams engaged in a pair of fights in the first four seconds of play.
Missouri claimed a 3-1 lead in period two as Lafrance, Jeff Christian, and Simon Watson all scored. Odessa's Mike Ramsay tallied a power play goal at 4:33.
Kenny Bernard had an opportunity to give Odessa a 4-3 lead with just over a minute remaining, when he was awarded a penalty shot after being tripped on a breakaway opportunity. Festa came up with the key save to keep the game deadlocked and force overtime.
Juha Toivonen stopped 36 shots in the loss, just his fourth since the All-Star break.
Thinel's third period goal extended his point streak to eight games, but his assist streak came to close at seven tonight. Collin Circelli also extended his point streak to seven games with a pair of helpers.
The Jackalopes wrap up their three-in-three weekend on Sunday with a 4:05 PM game against the Amarillo Gorillas. The action can be heard on Classic Rock 102.1 FM.
The Odessa Jackalopes are the Central Hockey League affiliate for the NHL's New York Islanders and the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The team is in the middle of their 13th season in the Permian Basin. Season tickets, mini-plans, and single game tickets are available by calling (432) 552-PUCK or visiting jackalopes.org.
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