Thursday, 12.08.2016 / 10:12 pm CT
By Alex von Keudell
Commencing their first three-game road series of the season, the Wildcats stole game one 3-2 in overtime to win their seventh straight.
With snow having fallen in Odessa on Thursday, Jackalopes management decided to make tickets to the game free as an incentive to draw a Thursday night crowd. The Wildcats did not let the hostile environment faze them, as they got off to a 1-0 lead just 3:24 into the game.
Steven Tillie was set up in the right circle by linemates Blake Ripley and Isaac Kobienia. Tillie wristed home his tenth goal of the season to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
Going onto a long 5-on-3 power play, it looked as though the Cats would be able to add to their lead. However, the Jackalopes killed off the disadvantage with aplomb and scored a 3-on-5 shorthanded goal to level the score.
Zach Zech carried the puck down the right wing and rifled a heavy shot through Evan Moyse from a severe angle for his team-leading 9th goal of the season to make the score 1-1. The Jacks would kill off the remainder of the Wildcats’ power play.
Odessa would be given a 5-on-3 of their own shortly thereafter, but the Cats fought it off. They would ride their momentum into scoring again, as Jeff Skinner beat Eric Schuch with a wrist shot over the glove for his second goal in as many games to give the Cats a 2-1 lead.
Moyse dominated the second period for the Wildcats, keeping his team in front and bailing them out on several occasions. He dealt with a defensive zone turnover followed by a point blank shot, he denied leading-scorer Chase Thudium on a 2-on-0, and he robbed Connor Wood on a penalty shot. The Cats were thrilled to head into the second intermission with a 2-1 lead.
Moyse had his work cut out for him in the closing period, as well. Odessa outshot the Wildcats 18-7, and it was the goaltender’s brilliance which gave the Cats the chance to win.
Finally, Tyler Pietrowski roofed home the game-tying-goal from point-blank range 13:56 into the third period. The Cats managed to hold off the surging Jackalopes to force overtime, and 3-on-3 sudden death took hold.
With four of the five minutes gone by in extra time, it appeared as though a shootout was on the horizon. However, Seamus Donohue set up Ryan Burnett with an opening between the circles. The Wildcats’ Alternate Captain sniped a shot past Schuch to give the Wildcats their seventh straight victory.
Moyse earned his 9th win of the season after stopping 37 of 39 shots. Schuch was dealt the overtime defeat, denying 33 of 36. The Wildcats and Jackalopes will kick off Game 2 of their three-game series at Ector County Coliseum on Friday, December 9th at 7:05 pm.