PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – After opening the 2007-08 season with two home wins against the defending CHL President’s Cup Champion Colorado Eagles and looking to improve to 3-0-0 on the season, the Arizona Sundogs skated in their first road game of the year Tuesday night against Southwest Division opponent, the Odessa Jackalopes. Coming into Tuesday night’s contest and dating back to their inaugural season in 2006-07, Arizona had yet to win at the Ector County Coliseum in Odessa, Texas. The Sundogs never trailed in Tuesday’s game, eventually winning 3-2 in their third straight one-goal game.
Arizona opened scoring just over eight minutes into the first period as Gilbert, Arizona native Dusty Collins grabbed his first goal of the year on passes from Guillaume Rodrigue and Chris Greene to give the Sundogs their first lead of the year away from Tim’s Toyota Center. With 5:45 to play in the opening frame Arizona opened up a 2-0 advantage as Collins tallied his second of the evening, teaming up once again with Greene. Jon Landry also collected an assist on the play, his first point of the season. Odessa answered back at the 16:10 mark cutting the Sundogs’ lead to one as Jay Latulippe snuck behind the Arizona defense and beat netminder Bill Zaniboni low stick side. Brian Swiniarski and Alex Dunn collected assists on the play to close out scoring in the first. Arizona held a 17-11 shot advantage over Odessa through the opening period.
Phoenix Coyotes prospect and CHL scoring co-leader Tyler Redenbach regained a two-goal lead for Arizona midway through the second period, taking a pass from veteran defenseman Dan Laperriere and skating in alone on Odessa goaltender Mike Gorman. Redenbach notched his second of the year faking a backhand and lifting the puck over a sprawling Gorman for a 3-1 lead. With 3:43 remaining in the middle period Odessa would once again cut the Sundogs lead to one with Dominic Leveille tallying his first of the season, tipping a Sebastien Thinel shot past Zaniboni. Forward Nathan Ward also helped on the play for his fourth assist on the year. Opposite the first period, the Jackalopes outshot the Sundogs in the second by a 15-8 margin for a 26-25 two period shot advantage.
Just 1:43 into the third period both teams tried to gain some momentum as Jonathan Bernier of Arizona and Robin Richards of Odessa tied up and exchanged blows. Each player landed several punches before falling to the ice and being separated by the referees. In 2006-07, Bernier finished tied for the most fighting majors in the CHL with New Mexico Scorpions forward Kevin Harvey. Both teams tightened up on defense in the final period with neither club able to crack the scoreboard.
In a contest that saw just 16 total penalty minutes, neither team tallied a power play goal as Arizona went 0-for-1 with the man advantage while Odessa finished 0-for-2. After falling behind in shots on goal in the first period by a 17-11 mark, the Jackalopes regrouped and outshot Arizona 38-28 on the night. Rookie netminder Bill Zaniboni notched his third win in as many tries, stopping 36 of 38 Odessa shots while Mike Gorman fell to 1-2 on the season, deflecting 25 of 28 shots on net.
Following the win the Sundogs now travel north to Colorado for games against the Colorado Eagles and Rocky Mountain Rage on Friday and Saturday night. Friday night’s game will be tape-delayed until 7:00pm (Arizona time) while Saturday night’s game will be broadcast live at 6:00pm (Arizona time) on 96.7 FM The Wolf, the Official Broadcast Home of the Arizona Sundogs.