Mudbugs ‘take control,’ sweep New Mexico

CLUTCH GOAL: Brent Litchard (14) and his teammates react to his game-tying goal in the third period of Saturday’s game against New Mexico on George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. (Photo by CHRISTI LANG, Journal Sports)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

It was quite the weekend on George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. The Shreveport Mudbugs welcomed a pair of large crowds, watched hundreds of teddy bears hit the ice and debuted two jerseys (including the first “318” jersey). Oh, and they swept the New Mexico Ice Wolves to move into a North American Hockey League South Division playoff position.

Following a stellar shutout victory on Friday night, things didn’t look so great after the Mudbugs blew a two-goal lead and found themselves down 3-2 with less than 5 minutes remaining.

“We performed very poorly in the second period,” Mudbugs coach Jason Campbell said. “(Before the third period) I told them, ‘You did enough to win a game in the first period and then you did enough to give it away in the second. Now, you guys are going to have to go out there and decide how this game is going to end.’”

Brent Litchard tied the game with 3:27 remaining in regulation and Hayden Nichol needed just 62 seconds of overtime to muscle the game-winner into the net to cap a 4-3 triumph.

“The boys took control of their own destiny,” Campbell said. “We’ve been preaching the same stuff over and over again. Sometimes it falls on deaf ears.”

The Mudbugs (11-9-4) have now won four straight games and slipped past Amarillo for the No. 4 spot in the South. The two teams square off in west Texas on Friday and Saturday.

“It’s great to get a big win in front of a couple good crowds and a big sweep,” Campbell said. “It all worked out this weekend as good as it could have.” 

Last week’s 3 Stars

  1. Hayden Nichol, Saturday’s second-period fight and subsequent overtime game-winner punctuated a stellar weekend at The George. He also scored the game-winner on Friday.
  2. Simon Bucheler, in net for both victories and made 29 saves in Friday’s shutout.
  3. Brent Litchard, scored in both games on the weekend, including the game-tying tally Saturday.

NAHL South Division standings

Lone Star (18-2-2), 38 points

Oklahoma (17-4-1), 35

New Mexico (13-7-2), 28

Shreveport (11-9-4), 26

Amarillo (11-9-2), 24

Odessa (9-12-1), 19

El Paso (9-13-0), 18

Corpus Christi (6-14-4), 16 

*top four make the playoffs 

Team leaders

Goals: Garrett Steele, 7

Assists: Drake Morse, 11

Points: Morse, 16

Penalty Minutes: Maksim Sushchynski, 64

Game-winning goals: Jaden Goldie, Hayden Nichol, 2

Goals-against average: Simon Bucheler, 2.13

Save percentage: Bucheler, .918

Up next

The Mudbugs hit the road again for a two-game series at Amarillo on Friday and Saturday (7:15 p.m.).

Contact Roy at