Mudbugs sweep Amarillo, close in on second place

(Photo courtesy Shreveport Mudbugs)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Jason Campbell’s team was ready to “fight,” and literally did on one occasion during its weekend series with Amarillo on George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. The Wranglers refused to engage in the traditional form of physicality, but that didn’t stop the Shreveport Mudbugs from posting an emphatic two-game sweep.

The Mudbugs saw yet another different group emerge offensively and moved within four points of second place in the North American Hockey League’s South Division with a 3-2 victory Friday and a 5-1 triumph Saturday.

“Friday, night, Liam Fleet dropped the gloves to fight and their guy took a punch to the face and didn’t drop the gloves,” Campbell said. “From that point we knew that was the way it was going to be – they were going to do all that stuff. We’re ready to fight, we’re not ready to punch people in the face with our gloves on after every single whistle.” 

Tristan Zarsky scored his first two goals of the season Saturday, while fellow blue-liner Matt Danziger added his second tally of the 2022-23 campaign during the game.

“I really like that our (defense) is contributing offensively, but the way they’re doing it is shots through from the point,” said Campbell, whose team has now won four straight games. “They are scoring the way a good, responsibly defenseman should score.”

With 10 games remaining in the regular season, the Mudbugs (12 points ahead of fifth-place Amarillo) are quickly closing in a playoff position.

Shreveport stays at The George this weekend when El Paso comes to town.

Note: Mudbugs goaltender Nikola Goich had an issue with a pad Saturday night and was forced to briefly give up his spot between the pipes. All Simon Bucheler did was come in, make a save and watch Matthew Danziger score to take a 3-1 lead. Bucheler, who earned the victory in net Friday, spent just 88 seconds on the ice in relief before Goich’s pad was fixed.

“The joke was Bush was a plus-one,” Campbell said.

Last week’s 3 Stars

  1. Tristan Zarsky, helped Bugs finish the sweep with a two-goal effort on Saturday. Has not had a negative plus-minus game since Jan. 13 (14 games).
  1. Matthew Danziger, tallied his second goal of the year (first came Dec. 29) on Saturday.
  1. Logan Heroux, a three-point weekend. His power-play tally got things going Friday night.

NAHL South Division standings

x-Oklahoma (39-9-1), 79 points

Lone Star (31-11-7), 69

Shreveport (29-14-7), 65

New Mexico (28-18-3), 59

Amarillo (25-21-3), 53

Odessa (24-22-3), 51

El Paso (15-30-4), 34

Corpus Christi (10-34-6), 26

*top four make the playoffs 

x-clinched playoff spot

Team leaders

Goals: Garrett Steele, 17

Assists: Logan Heroux, 26

Points: Drake Morse, 38

Penalty Minutes: Liam Fleet, 84

Game-winning goals: Hayden Nichol, 4

Goals-against average: Simon Bucheler, 1.98

Save percentage: Bucheler, .920 

Up next

Shreveport concludes the penultimate regular-season homestand with two against El Paso (Friday and Saturday, 7:11 p.m.)

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