Final 20 minutes dooms Mudbugs’ dream weekend

GOOD SERIES BUT … : The Shreveport Mudbugs earned three of four points vs. Lone Star this weekend, but dropped a position in the NAHL South Division. (Photo courtesy Shreveport Mudbugs)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

The North American Hockey League’s South Division doesn’t mess around. Thanks to Friday night’s shootout victory against rival Lone Star, the Shreveport Mudbugs moved within five points of the second-place Brahmas.

Less than 24 hours later, the Mudbugs owned a 2-1 third-period lead on the Brahmas, but were soon on the wrong end of a 3-2 decision. The loss dropped Shreveport into fourth place — the final playoff position — in the South.

“We need to be pissed off – we were in position to get a huge sweep and we didn’t finish the job,” Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell said. “The boys have to be fired up for another great week of practice.”

Friday, Shreveport defenseman Maksim Sushchynski opened the scoring and a bittersweet weekend with a power-play goal in the first period. The Brahmas tied the game in the second period, but the Mudbugs scored twice in the shootout as goaltender Simon Bucheler made 23 saves in the victory.

Shreveport’s three-game win streak against the Brahmas ended the next night.

Shreveport tallied first again, thank to Logan Gotinsky. A second-period goal from Logan Heroux gave the Mudbugs a 2-1 lead, but Lone Star scored twice in the third period to earn a 3-2 decision.

“We just got outworked and outmuscled,” Campbell said. “We didn’t earn it. A lot of times you earn those bounces (to tie the game). We didn’t have enough grit.”

The teams close out the regular-season series with a doubleheader in Shreveport this weekend.

Notes: Maksim Sushchynski suffered a freak injury Saturday when he slipped on newly installed rubber in the locker room between periods. Campbell says his status for this weekend’s series is uncertain. Meanwhile, forward Brent Litchard, who missed the trip to North Richland Hills, Texas, is likely to return for the rematch at The George. 

Last week’s 3 Stars

  1. Simon Bucheler, earned his 18th victory of the season Friday, good for fourth-best in the NAHL.
  1. Maksim Sushchynski, collected his second goal of the season Friday before a freak injury knocked him out of Saturday’s contest.
  1. Logan Gotinsky, moved into a tie for second place on the team in goals with the first tally Saturday. 

NAHL South Division standings

Oklahoma (35-6-1), 71 points

Lone Star (28-10-5), 61

New Mexico (26-16-3), 55

Shreveport (24-14-6), 54

Amarillo (21-19-3), 45

Odessa (21-19-2), 44

El Paso (12-28-3), 27

Corpus Christi (10-29-5), 25

*top four make the playoffs 

Team leaders

Goals: Garrett Steele, 15

Assists: Logan Heroux, 23

Points: Drake Morse, 35

Penalty Minutes: Maksim Sushchynski, 72

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

Goals-against average: Simon Bucheler, 2.10

Save percentage: Bucheler, .917

Up next

Shreveport completes the home-and-home series with Lone Star on George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum on Friday and Saturday, 7:11 p.m.

Contact Roy at