Mudbugs aim for poise during homestand before holiday break

POISED FOR ACTION: The Shreveport Mudbugs host Corpus Christi on Friday and Saturday (7:11 p.m.) on George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. (Photo courtesy of SHREVEPORT MUDBUGS)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

During a 60-game, seven-month season, there will be peaks, there will be valleys.

With a Christmas break looming, Shreveport Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell understood there may have been a little more coaching to do this week.

“You always have to remind them – you’re not on holiday yet,” Campbell said. “Even when you’re on holiday, your job is to refresh the mind and the body, not abuse it.”

The Mudbugs host Corpus Christi on George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum on Friday and Saturday nights with an opportunity to maintain their position in the North American Hockey League’s South Division and carry some recent momentum into the holidays.

“I like what I’ve seen this week,” Campbell said. “We found some energy again. It was a better week of practice.”

Following Saturday, the Mudbugs (12-10-4) will have a weekend off before they head to face the IceRays (6-15-5) in a two-game series along the Gulf, Dec. 29-30. Then, they will then spend the entire month of January at home – eight games over four weekends.

Shreveport’s power play, once a point of concern, has turned the corner lately. The Mudbugs’ penalty kill unit is third in the league (86.6 percent).

A key this weekend could be the second period. Shreveport is last in the league with just 13 goals scored in the middle frame. The Mudbugs have allowed 28 goals – more than one goal per game — in the second period this season.

This weekend features the first meetings of the season between Shreveport and Corpus Christi.

Although the IceRays are mired in last place in the South, they have won four of their past 10 games – and there are no off weekends in the South.

“It all involves being a poised hockey player under pressure,” Campbell said. “They only have two days left before they go home. Hopefully they can maintain that focus for another 48 hours.”

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com