Mudbugs nab playoff spot with rare sweep of NAHL-best Oklahoma

(Photo courtesy Shreveport Mudbugs)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

The Shreveport Mudbugs built multi-goal leads against Oklahoma this weekend – that was nothing new. However, this time Shreveport was able to seal the deal – times two – against the best team in the North American Hockey League.

Logan Heroux scored in overtime on Friday night to clinch a playoff spot and the Mudbugs outgunned the potent Warriors, 5-2, on Saturday night to lock up a date with rival Lone Star in the first round of the upcoming playoffs.

“We finally held a lead against these guys,” said Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell, whose team had lost five of the first six meetings with Oklahoma. “That’s pretty huge for us. (The blown leads) were a big-time sticking point for us entering the weekend. We did the job we needed to do and now we have to move on and prepare for hopefully a long playoff run.” 

Before the Mudbugs and Brahmas tussle once again in the postseason, there is the matter of seeding.

The Mudbugs (34-15-7) find themselves in third place, three points behind Lone Star (35-13-8) with four games remaining in the regular season.

The No. 2 seed will own home-ice advantage — including the first two home games — in the best-of-5 first round.

The Mudbugs play their final two regular-season home games on George Pond at Hirsch Coliseum when last-place Corpus Christi visits Friday and Saturday.

“We want to win these games,” Campbell said. “We want to get the second seed if we can get it, but we won’t do it if we’re not playing the right way.”

Heroux and Drake Morse collected four points apiece on the weekend (both two goals, two assists), but a personnel change helped spark the Mudbugs offense as well.

It was fitting if nothing else. And it worked; just like everything Campbell is doing right now.

On the opening weekend of Major League Baseball, Campbell decided to reunite the “MLB” line.

Forwards Kason Muscutt, Brent Litchard and Ryan Burke had success early in the season, but lines are often fluid in hockey, so the trio eventually found different line mates. They were back together this weekend and every member of the line scored a goal.

“It was intentional — something to shake it up a bit,” Campbell said. “Ultimately it worked out. We had four lines going pretty good this weekend.”

Last week’s 3 Stars

  1. Logan Heroux, the overtime winner was just part of a stellar evening Friday.
  1. Drake Morse, could be the most unheralded leading scorer of any team in the North American Hockey League. It seems every time you look at a boxscore, his name is everywhere.
  1. Nikola Goich, returned from a short absence (head injury) and stopped 24 of 26 shots he faced Saturday. He is 4-0-2 between the pipes for Shreveport this season. 

NAHL South Division standings

z-Oklahoma (42-12-2), 86 points

x-Lone Star (35-13-8), 78

x-Shreveport (34-15-7), 75

New Mexico (31-22-3), 65

Amarillo (30-23-3), 63

Odessa (28-25-3), 59

El Paso (17-35-4), 38

Corpus Christi (11-38-7), 29

*top four make the playoffs 

z-clinched division 

x-clinched playoff spot 

Team leaders

Goals: Garrett Steele, 20

Assists: Logan Heroux, 28

Points: Drake Morse, 45

Penalty Minutes: Liam Fleet, 86

Game-winning goals: Hayden Nichol, Jake Mack, Morse 4

Goals-against average: Simon Bucheler, 1.95

Save percentage: Bucheler, .922 

Up next

Shreveport hosts its final regular-season homestand with two games against Corpus Christi (Friday and Saturday, 7:11 p.m.).

Contact Roy at or on Twitter at @roylangiii