The Lone Star Brahmas and Odessa Jackalopes faced off on Friday for the first game of a nine game home stand for Lone Star. Coming into the series Odessa had lost four straight while the Brahmas had prevailed in four of the last five contests.
Lone Star was showing a lot of jump early and controlled the game from the opening faceoff. Sean Giles got things going for the Brahmas at 8:20 of the first when he read a pass at the defensive blue line, stepped in front and sent Mark Bowen the other way with Cody Wickline on his right. Bowen skated it to the left hash before giving it up to Wickline who put it five hole on Forbes Ploszaj playing his first game with the Jackalopes since arriving via trade from Wenatchee. With just 1:19 to go in the period and the Brahmas with the man advantage Pat Egan moved the puck from the near halfwall to Roman Uchyn at the right wing faceoff dot for a wrister off of the Jackalopes netminder. Sebastian Vidmar swooped in to deposit the rebound.
Bowen just missed putting the Brahmas up by three at the 4:57 mark of the second. Bowen made a pretty move dangling around a defender just inside the zone and fired a shot on goal that had Ploszaj beat glove side, but it went off the crossbar and back out to neutral ice. Odessa finally got on the board with a gift power play goal at 9:43 on a shot from the point by Nicholas Carbone that was going well wide, but it went off the skate of Bud Madej and snuck behind TJ Black to pull the visitors within one.
The Swedes wasted little time in getting the goal back at 14:07 on the power play.Anton Santesson fed the puck to Ludvig Larsson at the point for a blast that Ploszaj just managed to knock down. Vidmar was once again on the spot continuing with his hot hand and put it in the twine glove side.
Lone Star came out of the second intermission setting on a 3 – 1 lead, but with a delayed call coming against the Brahmas Andrew McLean took a pass from Matt Beranek in the slot and just beat Black blocker side at 1:52 of the third.
It took the Brahmas just over two minutes to answer the Odessa goal. Johan Steencorralled the puck and sent Nick Ford racing into the offensive zone with a pass down the far side. Ford skated it to the bottom of the left wing circle forcing Ploszaj to bite then hit Bowen trailing the play with a pass through the crease for the goal. Vidmar picked up the hat trick at 6:05 when he took a pass from Quinn Carroll in the near circle curled out front and fired a shot on goal that ate Ploszaj up giving Lone Star a three goal lead.
With the Brahmas having the game iced away, Odessa resorted to aggressive physical play trying to set the stage for Saturday night. What resulted was 150 penalty minutes handed out with 32 seconds left in the game with 83 of the minutes going to Odessa. Referee Tim Ferrel lost control of the game and compounded that by making several very questionable calls when the Jackalopes incited the skirmish. Uchyn was assessed 32 minutes of penalties including a fighting major and fighting game misconduct when he was jumped from behind by Beranek at center ice. Ford was also hit with a fighting major and a fighting game ejection when Jake Hamilton dumped him at the blueline and started throwing punches as Ford tried to cover up. Neither Uchyn nor Ford ever dropped their gloves or threw a punch yet both were hit with fighting majors and sent to the showers early. The NAHL needs to seriously review the game films and correct the errors made by the on ice officials.