Slumping Mudbugs face NAHL’s best this weekend

STEELE THE ONE?: Shreveport Mudbugs captain Garrett Steele and his team will attempt to end a five-game losing streak at rival Lone Star tonight. (Photo courtesy Shreveport Mudbugs Hockey)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

If the Shreveport Mudbugs hoped for some sort of a breather on their current road trip, they need to look beyond this weekend’s trip to North Richland Hills, Texas.

The Mudbugs have won just six of 18 games this season and roll into the Metroplex on Friday to begin a two-game set with the Lone Star Brahmas, the team with the best winning percentage in the North American Hockey League.

“They’re systematically sound and they work hard,” Shreveport head coach Jason Campbell said before the first meeting of the season between South Division rivals.

The Mudbugs (6-8-4) look to end a five-game losing skid when they enter the NYTEX Sports Centre for a 7:30 p.m. faceoff. The Brahmas have not lost a game in regulation or overtime since Sept. 16 (11-0-1 during that span).

“We’ve been working on getting quicker, but staying efficient,” Campbell said. “We need to generate more offense, get more shots on net, more traffic and more second opportunities.”

Lone Star goaltender Arthur Smith sits atop the NAHL’s goaltending leaders, and it isn’t close. Smith leads with a 0.73 goals-against average (1.62 is next-best) and a .961 save-percentage (.944 is second-best).

The Mudbugs hope to get their power play on track. Shreveport has not scored on its past 20 opportunities with at least a one-man advantage.

“(Our power play) was better (in New Mexico),” Campbell said. “There are still plays to be made there and we’re not recognizing those reads, but the guys are working through it.

“We’re going to be tested. They have a high-pressure penalty kill. I’m excited to see them play against their PK.”

Lone Star hasn’t exactly been rolling on the power play, either. The Brahmas rank 24th of the 29 NAHL teams.

“I don’t even look at those numbers, because they have good movement and they just haven’t found the net yet,” Campbell said. “I don’t want us to be the team they find the net on.” 

Mudbugs at Lone Star

Tonight and Saturday

7:30 p.m., NYTEX Sports Centre, North Richland Hills, Texas

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