By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas — Saturday night, Lone Star owner Frank Trazzera walked out of the NYTEX Sports Centre with a solid idea: “Game 3 between Shreveport and Lone Star will just start in sudden-death overtime.”
During the opening weekend of their North American Hockey League South Division semifinal between the Brahmas and Mudbugs, the teams played five periods of overtime.
Saturday, Shreveport forward Jaden Goldie helped his team avoid disaster when he beat Arthur Smith with a wrister in the final 90 seconds of overtime in Game 2.
“I’m a little gassed, it’s been a grind,” Goldie said. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
The Mudbugs’ 3-2 victory came less than 24 hours after the Brahmas took Game 1, 2-1, when Antti Autere scored 6:42 into the fourth overtime period.
Game 1 marked the longest game in the 26-year history of Mudbugs hockey.
“Just wild,” Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell said about the first two games of the series. “As a coach you try to stay somewhat composed, but it’s a roller-coaster ride. (Friday) night, I felt like we took it to them in the first overtime and didn’t finish the job. Tonight, they took it to us and we came out with the win.”
The best-of-5 series shifts to Shreveport. Game 3 is set for 7:11 p.m. Friday on George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. Game 4 will take place Saturday night. Should a Game 5 be necessary, the teams would travel back to the Metroplex for a 7 p.m. face-off on Monday, May 1.
“It’s crazy,” Goldie said. “We have a lot of respect for how they play. They play hard, sound, good systematic hockey.”
Saturday wasn’t void of heart-stopping moments for Shreveport. The Mudbugs led 2-1 when the Brahmas tied things up with just 4:07 remaining in regulation. In overtime, Lone Star caught their opponents in bad line changes on multiple occasions.
Mudbugs netminder Nikola Goich, who made his first playoff start, stopped breakaways and odd-man rushes to extend the game.
“Not a bad first playoff game,” Campbell said of Goich, who stopped seven Brahmas shots in overtime Saturday. “What a series so far.
“There is 100-percent something to clean up on the (line) changes. We can blame it on fatigue – you’re tired and you’re not thinking and you just want to get off, but it hurts us. It puts us in a bad spot. If you want to win, you’re going to have to play tired.”
Both teams did just last over the weekend.
Notes: Game 1 starters between the pipes, Simon Bucheler (41 saves) and William Gramme (44 saves) both played more than 126 minutes Friday and got the night off Saturday … this marked the second time in Shreveport’s NAHL history it played back-to-back overtime playoff contests (2021, games 2 & 3 vs. Amarillo in South Division semifinals).
South Division playoffs
Lone Star (2) vs. Shreveport (3), series tied at 1
Game 1: Brahmas 2, Mudbugs 1 (4 OT)
Game 2: Mudbugs 3, Brahmas 2 (OT)
Game 3: Friday, 7:11 p.m., George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum
Game 4: Saturday, 7:11 p.m., George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum
Game 5 (if necessary): May 1, 7 p.m., NYTEX Sports Centre
Oklahoma (1) vs. Amarillo (4), Warriors lead 2-0
Game 1: Warriors 5, Bulls 2
Game 2: Warriors 6, Bulls 2
Game 3: Friday, 7:15 p.m., at Amarillo
Game 4 (if necessary): Saturday, 7:15 p.m., at Amarillo
Game 5 (if necessary): May 1, 7:15 p.m., Oklahoma City
Contact Roy at email@example.com or on Twitter @roylangiii