SHREVEPORT, La (KMSS/KTAL) – One could argue the Shreveport Mudbugs’ series this weekend against the El Paso Rhinos doesn’t mean much.
The ‘Bugs have already secured a playoff spot, and are locked into their playoff seed with two games remaining. El Paso has been eliminated from playoff contention for weeks. But, that doesn’t mean these final two regular-season games aren’t important. They may be two of the biggest games of Shreveport’s season.
“We need to win these games,” said Forward Nik Miller. “Arguably, the two biggest games of the season this year.”
Miller missed nearly two months of the season with what was thought to be a season-ending injury earlier this year. He’s tallied six goals and three assists in his first season in Shreveport.
Another first-year Mudbug enjoyed a fantastic weekend in the ‘Bugs’ split against Corpus Christi a weekend ago. Hayden Nichol scored the first two goals of his Mudbugs career, adding two assists for a four-point series.
“I was open, and Brimmer was able to get it to me I didn’t even see it go in the net because the D-Man was right there, I just saw Brimmer’s hands go up and he had a huge smile on his face and that’s when I knew it went in.”
There isn’t much time to think when you score your first NAHL goal.
“I had a bunch of celly’s I planned out in my head and I didn’t do any of them.”
Nichol is easy to forgive for his lack of celebratory antics, thanks to his unselfish play on the ice this season.
“He’s a really good Centerman, he’s really responsible on all ends of the ice,” according to Head Coach Jason Campbell. “He’s very good at supporting the puck carrier which he did and he got two goals because of it.”
Shreveport saw a five-game win streak come to an end with a 4-2 loss on Saturday to the Ice Rays. Corpus Christi converted on 50 percent of their power play opportunities over the weekend. Things will not go well for the ‘Bugs with a similar performance this Friday and Saturday.
“If we go out there and take our foot off the gas pedal we’re going to get exposed, said Campbell. “We need to bring our A-game and hopefully it puts us in a position to win two hockey games.”
- Shreveport has not lost consecutive games since February 12th and 18th.
- The Mudbugs are 4-2 against El Paso this season.
- Regardless of outcome this weekend, Shreveport will face Lone Star in the NAHL South semi-finals.
- El Paso has scored a league-worst 126 goals this season.