By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports
The Shreveport Mudbugs salvaged two points with a 3-2 victory on Sunday at Wichita Falls, but it was the lone bright spot on the three-game trip to Texas.
In a strange twist, Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell thought Sunday produced the “worst” effort of the weekend.
“I was hoping we could get two of three games,” Campbell told The Journal. “That didn’t happen. It’s a funny game. I feel like (Sunday) might have been our worst performance, but it was a huge, huge win for us to try stay in the playoff hunt. I’m just thankful we got it with some timely goals and good goaltending.”
The Mudbugs dropped the first two games of the series and fell eight points behind the final playoff spot with 18 games remaining in the regular season.
Victories in 14 of 18 games nearly erased the deficit created by losing 11 of 12 games early in the 2021-22 season, but a three-game losing streak came at the wrong time.
In Friday’s opener, a goal from Austin Brimmer’s team-leading 12th goal helped the Mudbugs get within one in the third period, but the Warriors held on for a 3-2 victory.
Things weren’t as close on Saturday, even though Shreveport’s Drake Morse opened the scoring early in the second period. Wichita Falls scored the next four goals and applied a considerable amount of pressure on the Mudbugs in Sunday’s finale.
Shreveport responded and ended the losing skid, but finds itself in unfamiliar territory. The Mudbugs have not missed the playoffs as a member of the NAHL and were absent just once during their 14 professional seasons.
Shreveport does have games (three on Wichita, four on Odessa) in hand on the two teams tied for third and fourth place, but victories are needed in those just to earn a tie as things stand now.
Half of Shreveport’s remaining games will be played on George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum.
Last week’s 3 Stars
1. Lukas Sedlacek, scored twice Sunday. His tally 6 minutes into the third period proved to be the difference
2. Connor Gatto, opened the scoring Sunday and sparked a desperate Shreveport squad to a much-needed victory
3. Simon Bucheler, collected his first win in net since Jan. 1 with 31 saves on Sunday
NAHL South Division standings
New Mexico (31-11-3), 65 points
Lone Star (26-10-8), 60
Wichita Falls (23-15-7), 53
Odessa (24-17-5), 53
Corpus Christi (22-22-2), 46
Shreveport (20-17-5), 45
Amarillo (20-21-3), 43
El Paso (13-27-4), 30
*top four make the playoffs
Goals: Austin Brimmer, 12
Assists: Brimmer, 22
Points: Brimmer, 34
Penalty Minutes: Davis Goukler, 107
Game-winning goals: Connor Gatto, 4
Goals-against average: Devon Bobak, 2.14
Save percentage: Bobak, .917
Shreveport’s road trip concludes with an opportunity to climb a spot in the South standings. The Mudbugs will play a pair of games against Corpus Christi on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico on Feb. 25-26.
Photo by CHRISTI LANG