Mudbugs back in tie for third after split with Lone Star

(Photo courtesy Shreveport Mudbugs)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

“Only against Lone Star.”

Shreveport Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell said it perfectly.

The Mudbugs and Brahmas played more than 126 minutes this weekend on George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. The teams combined for just three goals – not one during regulation or overtime Saturday night. 

In the end, both teams earned three of four points as Shreveport captured a thrilling 2-1 overtime decision Friday thanks to a game-winning goal from Ryan Burke.

Saturday, Shreveport netminder Nikola Goich and counterpart Arthur Smith stopped all 55 shots they faced before Lone Star prevailed in a shootout.

It marked just the second time in Shreveport’s seven seasons in the North American Hockey League it had a scoreless game reach a shootout. The other, naturally, came against Lone Star on Sept. 16, 2017 at The George. The Mudbugs won that game with Gustav Grigals between the pipes. It was the second game of the 2017-18 Robertson Cup championship campaign.

This weekend, there wasn’t much complaining to do about a hard-fought three points, but Campbell says a lack of “jump” at the end of a long week may have prevented a four-point weekend for the Mudbugs.

The lead-up was filled with 6 a.m. practices and trips to local schools to read Dr. Seuss books. An overtime affair in front of a sold-out crowd Friday was followed by another overtime game in front of a packed house Saturday.

“The guys were really busy, but that’s part of what we do,” Campbell told The Journal.

“That’s when a little intestinal fortitude is needed. Nobody cares what’s going on (off the ice) when it comes to winning. If there is a Division I school watching this game – they care about the performance on the ice.”

The Mudbugs (25-14-7) moved back into a tie with New Mexico for third place in the NAHL’s South Division.

“We were close (to a sweep),” Campbell said. “We did some good things this week. The disappointing part of not scoring (Saturday) was not getting the crowd ripping.”

After Simon Bucheler collected the victory between the pipes Friday, Goich got the call Saturday and continued his impressive play.

“Niko played a great game,” Campbell said. “He practices hard. You never know when your number will be called, but he showed a lot of poise and maturity and gave us every opportunity to win this hockey game. It’s a shame we didn’t pull it out for him.”

Notes: Shreveport forward Kason Muscutt was suspended for Saturday night’s game for his checking from behind penalty in Friday’s game. He’s expected to return when the Mudbugs travel to Corpus Christi.

Last week’s 3 Stars

  1. Simon Bucheler, stopped 26 of 27 shots he faced Friday night to win his sixth game in seven starts.
  1. Nikola Goich, the hard-luck loser Saturday. Stopped all 24 shots he faced in regulation and overtime.
  1. Ryan Burke, notched the game-winning goal in overtime Friday and nearly collected another OT winner Saturday.

NAHL South Division standings

Oklahoma (36-7-1), 73 points

Lone Star (29-11-6), 64

New Mexico (27-17-3), 57

Shreveport (25-14-7), 57

Odessa (23-19-3), 49

Amarillo (23-19-3), 49

El Paso (13-28-4), 30

Corpus Christi (10-30-6), 26

*top four make the playoffs 

Team leaders

Goals: Garrett Steele, 15

Assists: Logan Heroux, Drake Morse, 23

Points: Morse, 36

Penalty Minutes: Maksim Sushchynski, 72

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

Goals-against average: Simon Bucheler, 2.05

Save percentage: Bucheler, .918

Up next

Shreveport travels to Corpus Christi for a quick two-game roadie — Friday and Saturday, 7:05 p.m.

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