AMARILLO, TX – The Shreveport Mudbugs have certainly not been playing like an expansion team in their first season in the North American Hockey League. The Amarillo Bulls found out why on Sunday night as they dropped a 3-1 decision to the Mudbugs to close out three games in three nights. The visiting Mudbugs broke open a close 1-0 game with two goals in the middle stanza, including one on the power play, and then got solid third period goaltending from Dylan Lubbesmeyer.
Despite the loss, the Bulls remain just one point back of the Corpus Christi IceRays for the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division. The two teams will face one another four times over the next two weeks including two in South Texas on Thursday at Friday at American Bank Center.
Newcomer Nestor Plarsmo notched this second goal of the season to spoil the shutout bid of the goaltender late in the third period. That power play goal was the first by the Bulls in over 10 chances during the three games over the weekend.
Shreveport opened the scoring just six minutes into the game when Croix Evingson scored on a rocket form the blue line that just got under the glove of goaltender Nikita Babintsev. It was all Mudbugs in the first period of play as the home team generated just seven shots on goal with most of them coming from long range.
The decisive blows of the game took place in the second period as Jordan Fader scored for Shreveport on a rebound in front of the net just four minutes into the action. The Bulls generated some offensive flow in the period including several minutes where they hemmed the Mudbugs inside their own zone forcing them to use their timeout. However, the Bulls were turned away by goaltender Lubbesmeyer including a wrap around attempt by George Mika. Shreveport extended its advantage to 3-0 when Steven Mather’s shot deflected in off a player and over the shoulder of the Bulls netminder. The Bulls outshot the Bulls 11-10 in the second period.
It was all home side in the third period as the Bulls came out strong and pushed the tempo of the play. Shreveport played a tight defensive game blocking several slap shots from the point. The Bulls finally stopped the shutout attempt of the Mudbugs goaltender when Brendon Michaelian’s shot was deflected into the net by Nestor Plarsmo. Bray Crowder also earned an assist on the power play goal. The Bulls continued to apply pressure in the remainder of the game couldn’t get any closer.
The Amarillo Bulls outshot the Shreveport Mudbugs 17-7 in the third period and 35-31 overall. Each team tallied a power play goal on a combined seven opportunities.
It’s back on the road for the Amarillo Bulls on Thursday and Friday when they face the Corpus Christi IceRays at 7 pm at American Bank Center. Fans can tune into the action live on CBS Sports Radio 1440, online at www.amarillobulls.com and on PPV with Hockey TV beginning with the Wayland Baptist University Warm Up Show 20 minutes before the puck is dropped with host Denis J. Puska.
The Amarillo Bulls return home on Friday, Jan. 20 and Saturday, Jan. 21 when they host the same Corpus Christi IceRays at 7 pm. Saturday is the second annual Star Wars Night in support of The Children’s Miracle Network. The Bulls will wear special Star Wars Jerseys with a live auction to follow after the game with proceeds to benefit Children’s Miracle Network. Tickets are available at the Bulls Office located at 301 South Polk, Civic Center Box Office and all Panhandle Ticket locations including United Supermarkets or online at www.amarillobulls.com or www.panhandletickets.com. For further information, please call the Bulls Office at 806-242-1122.