Mudbugs sweep New Mexico, climb into third place

(Photo courtesy Shreveport Mudbugs)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

The Shreveport Mudbugs, fueled by production across the board, swept the New Mexico Ice Wolves in a weekend doubleheader and moved into third place in the North American Hockey League’s South Division.

“It was pretty huge,” Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell said. “It just seems like the same old story this season: ‘This weekend was big, but next weekend is even bigger and the next one is bigger than that.’

“At least it’s never boring, there is always something to play for.”

Friday’s back-and-forth affair at the Outpost Ice Arenas saw the Mudbugs take a 2-0 lead with a pair of goals in the first 2:47 of the second period. However, New Mexico roared back with three goals in the final 9 minutes of the frame to help tie game after 40 minutes.

The Ice Wolves scored midway through the third to take a 4-3 lead. Just 54 seconds later, Ryan Austin tied the game for Shreveport. Forty seconds after that, captain Garrett Steele collected what would be the game-winner.

“The guys are relentless,” Campbell said. “If the other team fights back, they don’t get too excited about it, they just keep playing.”

On Saturday, the Mudbugs took a 3-1 lead into the third period. The Ice Wolves cut the deficit in half with a power-play goal with 2 minutes remaining, but Shreveport closed the door with an empty-netter from Logan Heroux.

Shreveport will conclude the current six-game road swing with a series at rival Lone Star this weekend. The Brahmas are six points ahead of the Mudbugs.

“Four huge games against Lone Star coming up,” said Campbell, whose team will host the Brahmas the following weekend. “They are playing for a lot, too.”

Last week’s 3 Stars

  1. Garrett Steele, two goals and an assist in Friday’s victory, including the game-winning goal in the third period.
  2. Eric Vitale, a four-point weekend included a goal and two assists in Friday’s win.
  3. Kason Muscutt, collected a goal and an assist Friday.

NAHL South Division standings

Oklahoma (33-6-1), 67 points

Lone Star (27-10-4), 58

Shreveport (23-13-6), 52

New Mexico (24-16-3), 51

Amarillo (21-17-3), 45

Odessa (19-19-2), 40

El Paso (12-26-3), 27

Corpus Christi (10-27-5), 25

*top four make the playoffs 

Team leaders

Goals: Garrett Steele, 15

Assists: Logan Heroux, 23

Points: Drake Morse, 34

Penalty Minutes: Maksim Sushchynski, 72

Game-winning goals: Morse, Hayden Nichol, Logan Gotinsky, Jake Mack, 3

Goals-against average: Simon Bucheler, 2.11

Save percentage: Bucheler, .917 

Up next

Shreveport completes six-game road trip with a weekend (Friday, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.) series at Lone Star

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