Bugs Beat: Saturday meltdown caps dismal weekend in Oak City

BAD BEGINNING: The Shreveport Mudbugs suffered an ominous start to the five-week road trip with back-to-back losses at Oklahoma. (Photo courtesy of the SHREVEPORT MUDBUGS)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Saturday, the Shreveport Mudbugs authored an impressive way to bounce back from a 3-0 loss to Oklahoma on Friday – for 52 minutes, anyhow.

The final 8 minutes? A nightmare worthy of a Halloween weekend.

Up three goals and on the power play, Shreveport surrendered a short-handed goal with 7:32 left and then two more goals in the next 4:51. In overtime, Oklahoma needed less than 4 minutes to cap the wild rally and punctuate an ominous start to Shreveport’s five-week road trip.

“We just didn’t finish the job,” Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell told the Journal. “We had been giving them some good chances all weekend they didn’t capitalize on. Our power play just didn’t compete enough, and they buried one on us.”

There have been concerns about the Mudbugs’ power-play unit early this season. Sixteen games in, it’s officially a problem. The Mudbugs have scored nine goals, which is about average in the North American Hockey League. However, they have allowed a league-worst five short-handed goals.

Shreveport has allowed as many shorties as the other seven teams in the South Division combined.

The Mudbugs allowed just four short-handed goals in the 60-game 2016-17 season, and also the 60-game 2017-18 season.

“You have to be able to outwork your opponent, even when you’re up one player,” Campbell said. “We didn’t have the right mind-set. They were down three goals and killing a penalty. They needed to press for goals no matter what.” 

Last week’s 3 Stars

  1. Niklas Miller, scored twice Saturday, including a power-play goal midway through the third period to give Shreveport a 3-0 lead. And then things went downhill.
  2. Garrett Steele, scored early in the third period Saturday to give his team a 2-0 advantage.
  3. Jaden Goldie, hit the scoresheet with another assist Saturday. 

NAHL South Division standings

Lone Star (13-1-1), 27 points

New Mexico (9-2-1), 19

Oklahoma (9-2-0), 18

Amarillo (7-4-1), 15

Shreveport (6-7-3), 15

Odessa (6-7-1), 13

El Paso (5-7-0), 10

Corpus Christi (2-11-1), 5

*top four make the playoffs 

Team leaders

Goals: Logan Gotinsky, Niklas Miller, Garrett Steele, 5

Assists: Jaden Goldie, Drake Morse, 7

Points: Gotinsky, Goldie, Morse, 9

Penalty Minutes: Maksim Sushchynski, 37

Game-winning goals: Miller, Gotinsky, Morse, Sutton Murray, Goldie 1

Goals-against average: Simon Bucheler, 2.22

Save percentage: Bucheler, .918

Up next

The Mudbugs head to Albuquerque for a series against New Mexico, Friday and Saturday (7:30 p.m., CDT).

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com