By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports
After playing catch up for nearly a full season, this weekend provides an opportunity for the Shreveport Mudbugs to drop the hammer on the only team standing between them and a 2022 North American Hockey League playoff berth.
“Nothing needs to be said, (the players) know,” Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell told The Journal. “It’s funny how sports works: You play 60 games and it comes down to the wire and you’re playing for a playoff spot.”
The final road trip of a tumultuous regular season has the Mudbugs in West Texas, where they will face the Odessa Jackalopes on Friday and Saturday. Shreveport (30-19-5) is six points ahead of the Jackalopes (27-22-5) with six games remaining.
A sweep of Odessa would help the Mudbugs officially clinch a playoff spot, but even a split would cripple the Jackalopes’ hopes.
“This is why we play the games,” Campbell said. “I know Odessa’s players want to have this opportunity to fight for their playoff spot. It should be one hell of a battle, I can tell you that.”
Odessa leads the season series, 4-2. Following Saturday’s game, Shreveport will return home for the final two weekends of the regular season.
Forward Austin Brimmer set a Mudbugs NAHL record with a six-point effort, including a hat trick, in Saturday’s victory at Amarillo. Brimmer’s first goal of the night gave Shreveport a 3-2 lead midway through the second period. He completed the hat trick with 8:49 remaining in the game. Three goals and three assists helped him break the franchise record (in the NAHL), previously held by Giovanni Procopio and Anton Rubtsov (both in 2020).
Brimmer’s six pack is tied for the best single-game output in the NAHL this season (Vincent Corcoran, Wichita Falls). The 20-year-old, a product of Markham, Ontario, leads the Mudbugs in goals (17), assists (30), points (47) this season.
Mudbugs at Odessa
Friday and Saturday (7:15 p.m., CDT)
Jackalopes lead series 4-2
Photo by CHRISTI LANG