Pilots Continue Push for Playoff Berth, Knock off Jackalopes 6-2
The Topeka Pilots took care of business when they needed to on Saturday night against the Odessa Jackalopes and are sticking in the thick of the NAHL South Division playoff race.
Fighting for a playoff berth, Topeka (22-26-8) scored three unanswered goals in the second period and tacked on another late in the third, knocking off the Odessa Jackalopes 6-2 at the Ector County Coliseum.
Topeka won the series with the victory, taking two of three games in Odessa.
The Pilots now remain three points behind the Corpus Christi IceRays, who also won on Saturday, defeating the Shreveport Mudbugs 4-1.
The score was tied 2-2 early in the second period, after Odessa evened the score 56 seconds into the frame.
Then, the Pilots took control.
Forwards Valdemar Ahlberg and Michael Muschitiello each earned their 15th goals of the season at 7:52 and 9:18, putting Topeka out in front 4-2.
Defenseman Brenden Rons then got into the act at 17:08, taking advantage of a turnover by Jackalopes goaltender Kade Phipps and depositing the puck into an empty net for a 5-2 Pilots lead.
The Pilots had 21 shots on goal in the second period, chasing Phipps after his fifth goal allowed. Goaltender Alex Camarre took over for the remainder of the evening.
Goaltender McLean Dorr earned the start and the victory for the Pilots, his third game in three days, improving his record to 5-5-3 since joining Topeka midseason.
In the third, Muschitiello put the game on ice at 12:02, netting his second of the night, while on the powerplay. The Pilots went 1-for-3 on the powerplay for the evening.
Momentum swayed to Topeka early on Saturday, with forward Quinn Green burying a rebound just 1:45 into the affair for an early 1-0 Pilots lead.
Defenseman Cole Thiessen then netted his sixth marker of the year less than four minutes later, making it 2-0 at 5:25.
Odessa cut the lead in half to 2-1 before the end of the first, setting up the equalizing tally early in the second.
Topeka now returns home March 29-30 to face the Lone Star Brahmas in the final regular season home contests for the Pilots. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. each night.
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North American Hockey League Stories from March 23, 2019
- Mudbugs Fall to the Rays - Shreveport Mudbugs
- IceRays Cut Magic Number to Five with 4-1 Win at Shreveport - Corpus Christi IceRays
- Pilots Continue Push for Playoff Berth, Knock off Jackalopes 6-2 - Topeka Pilots
- Comeback Misses the Mark, Bruins Doubled up by Bobcats 4-2 - Austin Bruins
- Wings Win Friday 5-2 - Aberdeen Wings
- Bulls Edge Brahmas 2-1 - Amarillo Bulls
- Bugs Double up Rays - Shreveport Mudbugs
- Jacks Comeback to Defeat Topeka 3-2 - Odessa Jackalopes
- Pilots Relinquish Late Goal, Fall 3-2 to Jackalopes - Topeka Pilots
- IceRays Fall Friday at Shreveport - Corpus Christi IceRays
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