WICHITA FALLS, TX – Opening night started strong for the Wichita Falls Warriors (0-0-0-1) who jumped out to an early 1-0 lead over the Jackalopes (1-0-0-0) just 21 seconds into the game on a goal by Thomas Weis (1). The Warriors would add a second goal at the end of the first period on the power play as Drew Vieten (1) got on the board.
The Warriors would take a 3-0 lead early in the second period on a goal by Jackson Salt (1). The Jackalopes then went on three straight power plays but the Warriors penalty kill kept Odessa off the scoreboard on all three. Warriors goaltender Owen Bartoszkiewicz made some key saves in net to hold the Warriors lead at 3-0, which they would carry into the third period.
Early into the third period, Adisen Brueck (1) put the Warriors up by a score of 4-0. Wichita Falls had more chances to add to the lead, but Jackalopes goaltender Connor Hasley made some big saves on odd-man rushes. Odessa scored their first goal 4:08 into the third period, cutting the deficit to three at 4-1. The Jackalopes battled throughout the third period but would ultimately make their comeback late in the third period. Odessa scored twice more within a matter of 34 seconds to cut the deficit down to just one with 3:07 remaining. The Jackalopes would tie the game with their net empty with less than a minute remaining. The game would head to overtime.
In overtime, Hasley would keep the Jackalopes alive as the Warriors had three odd-man rushes including a 2-on-0 in which Hasley was able to shut down. The Warriors had then seemed to score the game winning goal on a loose puck in front of the Odessa net, but the goal was waved off as the net had come off the pegs. Both teams were all tied up at 4-4 after the overtime period, so the game went to a shootout.
After both teams were scoreless through the first round of the shootout, Odessa struck first in the second round. The Warriors then needed a stop and a goal in the third round to stay alive and Bartoszkiewicz and Salt would give Wichita Falls just that. The Jackalopes would strike again in the fourth round and Hasley was able to make the final save to give Odessa a 5-4 come from behind win. The Warriors picked up 1 point in the loss.
Next up, the Warriors look to even the series with the Jackalopes on Sunday, October 25th at 3:05pm back in the Kay Yeager Coliseum.