By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports
The tide can turn on a dime for several reasons during a hockey game. A big goal, a big hit or simply not allowing the opponent to score (killing a penalty).
Last Friday, the Shreveport Mudbugs employed a fan-favorite momentum grabber. When the horn sounded to end the second period, Logan Heroux attempted to awaken his teammates, and the fans at George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum, who had witnessed a 40-minute clinic by the visiting Lone Star Brahmas.
Heroux dropped the gloves for the first time this season. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound defenseman tangled with 5-foot-11, 175-pound forward Ben Zimmerman and incited the crowd with an impressive decision.
Following the second intermission, the Mudbugs played an inspired final period. Goals by Connor Gatto and Austin Brimmer forced overtime. Shreveport eventually prevailed in a shootout to climb into the final playoff position.
Did the donnybrook turn the tide?
“When players step up and take on that role, they’re doing everyone a favor,” Mudbugs defenseman Evan Mitchell said. “It’s a great boost of energy. It rallied the boys for sure. We came out with a bit more energy and a bit more jump.”
Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell admits dropping the gloves isn’t a foolproof method.
“We’ve had it work against us, too,” Campbell said. “In this instance, it was a good. It was part of it (of the comeback), but there is a lot more to it. However, I definitely believe a good fight gets the boys going.”
However, in one of the most critical moments of the season, it worked. Shreveport has proven to have many methods to turn the tide. The Mudbugs trailed by two goals in both games against the Brahmas last weekend, yet won both.
The never-say-die attitude will be needed should they trail at any point against first-place New Mexico this weekend. The Ice Wolves have lost just 16 games this season, three of the losses have come against the Mudbugs.
“It’s believing in your game plan, believing in your teammates and sticking to the game plan and don’t panic if you get down,” Campbell said. “Obviously, this is another team that plays a consistent style of hockey and it’s hard to break that down and defeat them. It’s a matter of chipping away at them.”
The Friday-Saturday doubleheader will begin a seven-game road trip for Shreveport – the final games away from The George unless the team secures a playoff berth.
Following this weekend, the Mudbugs will play a midweek game at Wichita Falls before they stay on the road for a pair of games at Amarillo.
Mudbugs at New Mexico
Friday (8:30 p.m. CDT) and Saturday (7:30 p.m.)
Outpost Ice Arenas
Season series tied 3-3
Photo courtesy SHREVEPORT MUDBUGS