(Photo: Troy Young)
ODESSA, Texas – Behind goals from five different skaters and a strong performance by Austin Shaw, the Wichita Falls Wildcats topped the Odessa Jackalopes, 5-4, to earn a weekend split at the Ector County Coliseum on Saturday night.
Alex Falconer had a goal and an assist in the win, with Nikita Litviak, Paul Soubry, Kevin Charyszyn and Austin Beaulieu also finding twine in the contest. Chipping in with assists in the triumph were Cam Knight, Matt Koch, Nick Farmer, Jake Townsend and Austin Albrecht, while Shaw made 28 saves to earn his 10th win of the season.
The Jackalopes put a scare into the Wildcats early, as a shot in the opening minute clanged off the left post of Shaw, but from there, the ‘Cats controlled the opening frame.
After a brilliant blocker save by Shaw stonewalled Derek Brown on a clean breakaway, Wichita Falls transitioned into offense right away. Falconer stepped on the puck and played it ahead for Litviak, who gained the zone. At the top of the right circle, the Russian forward whistled a shot past Robin Johansson to make it 1-0 just 2:54 into the game.
The Wildcats expanded their lead as the period wound to a conclusion on a pair a quick-fire strikes just 28 seconds apart.
First, Beaulieu made it 2-0 on the power play with a wicked snipe into the top corner from just inside the left-wing circle. The goal marked his 11th of the campaign, and gave the Wildcats power-play tallies in their last 10 contests.
Moments later, Falconer stretched the edge to a trio of tallies. After picking up the puck from Townsend, Falconer raced through the neutral zone and stickhandled past two men as he entered the zone. He then unleashed a shot in stride that fooled Johansson to make it 3-0 on his sixth of the year and second in as many games.
Wichita Falls and Odessa traded two goals apiece in the second period, with the Wildcats nabbing theirs first.
Just over two minutes into the stanza, Farmer gained the zone from the left side and chipped down low for Albrecht to control in the corner. Albrecht settled, and picked out an inch-perfect pass to Charysyzn between the hash marks, who roofed it for his 12th of the year.
Less than two minutes later, it was Soubry’s turn to find the back of the net, as he cleaned up a rebound from Max Reisinger’s wrister to make it 5-0 on his third tally of the year.
The Jackalopes found some life thanks to a pair of goals 30 seconds apart. First, Trent Williams jammed a loose puck under Shaw to make it 5-1, before Razmuz Waxin-Engback made it 5-2 after skating into the zone and sneaking a wrist-shot home.
Odessa carried that momentum into the third period, forcing Shaw into multiple great saves to keep the lead intact, but the Jackalopes continued to fight. Inside the last three minutes of the contest, Lane Valimont and Kenny Hausinger scored for the Jackalopes to make it 5-4, but Wichita Falls held on for the win.
The Wildcats are next in action when they return home to the Kay Yeager Coliseum to host the Corpus Christi IceRays on Dec. 5 and 6. The Wildcats will be collecting unwrapped toys to be donated to Pediatrics at United Regional Health Care System. Fans that cannot make it to the game can catch all the action on FASTHockey.com, or an audio-only broadcast via YouTube.
Single-game tickets for the 2014-15 Wildcats season are on sale now at the Kay Yeager Coliseum box office. Stay updated on the latest team news and notes by connecting with the Wildcats on Facebook (WFWildcats), Twitter (@WFWildcats), Instagram (WFWildcats) and on YouTube (Wichita Falls Wildcats).
Wichita Falls – Nikita Litviak (Alex Falconer) 2:54
Wichita Falls – Austin Beaulieu (power play) (Cam Knight) 16:58
Wichita Falls – Alex Falconer (Jake Townsend, Matt Koch) 17:20
Wichita Falls – Kevin Charyszyn (Austin Albrecht, Nick Farmer) 2:11
Wichita Falls – Paul Soubry (Max Reisinger) 3:50
Odessa – Christian Hausinger (Jesse Junttila, Andrew McLean) 9:47
Odessa – Razmuz Waxin-Engback (Lane Valimont, Jake Hamilton) 10:17
Odessa – Lane Valimont (Ryan MacKellar, Jesse Junttila) 17:01
Odessa – Kenny Hausinger (extra attacker) (Razmuz Waxin-Engback, Derek Brown) 18:57