Sunday, January 29, 2006

1/29 BUGS vs. MEMPHIS (W, 4-2)

BUGS PREVAIL AND THINGS GET TESTY
The Mudbugs win this rough affair 4-2. Scott Muscutt's feelings after the game were obviously. In his words he is tired of the circumstances surrounding Steve Cruickshank as a referee in this league and the way his games are being called.
I'm no expert, but the fact Dan Wildfong received four minutes of extra penalties in the late scrum was baffling.
It was your typical late hockey game crap between two teams that hate each other.
Back to the game. Another solid effort by the Bugs, and finally a convincing win. Those one-goal games can be excruciating. Folks, Chris Brassard is a different hockey player. Even at his best in a Mudbugs uniform defense wasn't his forte. Not saying he was poor defensively, but he didn't stand out like he has the past two weeks.
The Mudbugs head into Corpus Christi for a pair this week to meet a Rayz team that hasn't scored in more than FOUR games. That's actually scary if youre a member of Bossier-Shreveport.

GONG!
With 4:54 left in the game things got a touch ugly. Not surprising if you've been reading the blog today. Nearly every Mudbugs and RiverKings skater on the ice was penalized. No big brawls broke out, it was just one big dog pile for the most part that started when Dan Wildfong and Derek McKinlay started throwing blows.
TIME: 7:27 p.m.

VODRAZKA SCORES AGAIN!
Milan Vodrazka scored his second goal of the night to give the Mudbugs a 4-1 lead.
TIME: 7:28 p.m.

THE OLD JOKE GOES ...
The only way Blair Manning is going to score is if a puck bounces off his leg. The unselfish veteran is known for his passing skills and infrequent shots. Well, he put the Mudbugs up 3-1 late in the second period ... that's right, when a puck bounced off his leg and into the net. Following a Dilorenzo stop of Chris Brassard and Milan Vodrazka, the puck careened off Manning, who was crashing the net, and into the net.
3-1 after 40 minutes. The chippyness died down in the second, but if the game is out of hand, I wouldn't be surprised to see it resurface.
TIME: 6:45 p.m.

CAPTAIN DAN PUTS BUGS AHEAD
Another "garbage" goal for Dan Wildfong, who put the Mudbugs ahead 2-1 after he was Johnny on the Spot following a rebound from Memphis goaltender Michael Dilorenzo. Two minutes left in second.
TIME: 6:38 p.m.

WELCOME TO THE CHL COACH McCLELLAND
He was standing on the top of the Memphis bench at the CenturyTel Center screaming at the top of his lungs. The former NHL player and Stanley Cup winner was pleading for the officials to see the Mudbugs had too many men on the ice. Finally, the whistle blew and RiverKings coach Kevin McClelland got his wish.
But the Mudbugs fans didn't appreciate the coach's antics -- although justified. McClelland and the fans behind the Memphis bench became involved in a brief shouting match. Old time hockey.
TIME: 6:36 p.m.

GONG SHOW IN THE MAKING HERE
Chippy would accurately describe the first period at the CenturyTel Center. It seems as if things will only get worse, too.
Dan Wildfong and Sheldon Wenzel -- who went with Shaw earlier -- dropped the gloves in the final seconds of the first and this time Wenzel got the best of things.
1-1 after 20 here. Stay tuned for the rest of the bout, I mean game.
TIME: 5:56 p.m.

THEY WANTED TO GO, BUT DIDN'T
Moments after Chris Brassard and Darrell Stoddard threatened to drop the gloves, they were both integral parts to goals from their teams.
Stoddard knocked in a rebound to give Memphis a 1-0 lead, but Brassard used a beautiful feed to setup a goal from Milan Vodrazka 26 seconds later.
Mudbugs are outshooting Memphis 11-7 with 3:03 to go in first.
TIME: 5:40 p.m.

TWO SECONDS IN!! BOMBS AWAY
Chris Shaw and Sheldon Wenzel dropped the gloves as soon as the puck hit the ice Sunday. After several seconds to get to center ice, there was much dancing but not much punching. Both players did a pretty good job of tying the opponent up. However Shaw likely landed the best punch.
Time: 5:12 p.m.

THIRD IN THREE DAYS
Would be tough to expect Memphis and Bossier-Shreveport to play at a paced comparable to the past two nights. Memphis played an overtime affair last night in Wichita while the Mudbugs pasted Fort Worth goaltender Larry Sterling with 60 shots on goal Saturday, one night after a game in Odessa.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

1/28 BUGS vs. FORT WORTH (L, 4-3)

DEFENSIVE MISCUES CONTINUE TO HAUNT MUDBUGS
Bossier-Shreveport is a good team, there is no doubt about it, but the tendancy by the Mudbugs to give up that untimely goal to the opponent better change ... SOON.
A turnover created Wes Mason's game-winner midway through the third period. The sad thing is, this was the Brahmas' only glimpse of a scoring chance in the first 10 minutes of the third. Fort Worth, with just 13 skaters, was gassed in the final 20 minutes and you could tell. The Brahmas were doing everything just to get the puck out of their own zone. How many times did they ice the puck? Too many to count.
60 shots on goal and three goals? Now I'm the first one to say the shots are super-inflated for the Mudbugs at the CTC (still wish the off-ice folks would realize they are only hurting the Mudbugs goaltenders and helping the opposition's). But they had plenty of scoring chances tonight without much success. The three goals they did score Larry Sterling had no chance on.
I thought it was a really gutsy move to put David Cacciola in net tonight. And I'm not playing Monday-morning quarterback, I told Mudbugs general manager Jason Rent this before the face-off.
My thought was this. The Fort Worth game meant much more than Sunday's game against Memphis. Losing to the worst team in the CHL almost mentally erases all the good stuff that's happened lately. Especially considering the recent breakdown against a the CTC last time out.
I expected to see Ken Carroll in net tonight and Cacciola against Memphis (he shut them out last week). Many would say Carroll played Friday night in Odessa. Well Sterling played in Austin on Friday, too. That being said, maybe Carroll wasn't 100 percent.

UGH
A defensive breakdown led to Wes Mason's game-winning goal midway through the third period and the Mudbugs fell to the Fort Worth Brahmas again.
For a detailed recap, log onto shreveporttimes.com
TIME: 10:45 p.m.

72 SHOTS THROUGH TWO PERIODS
Tied at 3. Should be interesting third.
TIME: 9:01 p.m.

MCLAUGHLIN GETS HAT TRICK; GAME TIED AT 3
Just when it seems I'm going to be able to write another blog entry, there is another goal. Short recap: The Bugs tied it up, McLaughlin scored againt to make it 2-1 Fort Worth before Brett Smith tied it at 2. Jason Basile scored to give Bossier-Shreveport a 3-2 lead before McLaughlin completed the hat trick with a goal. This all in the first half of the second period.

BRAHMAS UP 1-0
Beau McLaughlin scored a goal off a rebound to give Fort Worth a 1-0 lead with 4:43 remaining in the first period.
TIME: 7:34 p.m.

FAST AND FURIOUS FIRST PERIOD
Halfway through the opening 20 minutes, the Mudbugs had amassed 15 shots and the Brahmas 10. Nevertheless, we're scoreless.
TIME: 7:27 p.m.

SCHEDULE CHANGE
The Mudbugs, thanks to an appearance by Nine Inch Nails, have rescheduled what was to be their final regular-season game on Mar. 25. The game against Austin will now take place Mar. 12 (Sunday) at 7:05 p.m.

CACCIOLA VS. STERLING
Those who thought Andrew Martin would get the start tonight, must start trusting me, haha. Martin has not been signed yet, but should by next week. The only remaining game between the Bugs and the Brahmas is in Fort Worth in two weeks.
TIME: 6:28 p.m.

Outlook
The Mudbugs face the stingy Brahmas once again. Bossier-Shreveport has won four of the seven meetings against the Central Hockey League's worst team this season ... Mudbugs defenseman Chris Shaw is one of two players (Brit Dougherty, Austin) in the CHL to have played at least 20 games without scoring a point. Entering Friday, 275 players (not including goaltenders) had recorded at least one point. Ken Carroll and Andrew Martin have each recorded an assist in net for the Mudbugs this season ... Fort Worth defenseman Konrad Brand may possess the most amazing feat of all his Brahmas teammates this season. Brand plays on a team that has allowed 41 more goals than its scored this season, yet he is a plus-6. Truly amazing. He would rank fourth in plus/minus on the Mudbugs ... The Brahmas signed former Mudbugs netminder Andrew Martin, but he is unlikely to play tonight.

Season series (Bugs lead 4-1-2)
Date Result Site GWG
Nov. 25 Brahmas, 4-3 (SO) FWCC Bret DeCecco
Nov. 12 Brahmas, 2-0 FWCC David Silverstone
Nov. 25 Bugs, 2-1 (OT) CTC Scott Sheppard
Dec. 2 Bugs, 4-1 FWCC Martin Stuchlik
Dec. 16 Bugs, 6-5 (OT) CTC Dan Wildfong
Dec. 17 Bugs, 5-0 CTC Ryan Manitowich
Jan. 14 Brahmas, 3-2 (SO) CTC Ben Gustavson
Brahmas statistics(through Thursday)
# PLAYERS, POS GP G A PTS +/- PIM
17 Cory Stillman, C 38 17 19 36 -3 61
11 Bret DeCecco, RW 38 18 14 32 -9 44
27 Wes Mason, LW 32 14 18 32 -11 10
29 Ryan Fairbarn, D 37 7 17 24 -5 38
2 Vladimir Hartinger, D 25 5 16 21 -17 70
7 Jimmy Sokol, F 35 5 14 19 -14 37
24 Ben Gustavson, LW 38 8 9 17 -1 101
16 Matt Reynolds, F 38 7 8 15 -8 85
10 (IR)Derek Seal, F 27 6 5 11 -8 38
8 Konrad Brand, D 32 1 10 11 +6 91
21 Ty Hennes, F 32 5 5 10 -1 63
28 David Silverstone, LW 20 4 4 8 +3 53
18 Beau McLaughlin, RW 26 2 5 7 0 21
15 Mike O'Sullivan, F 31 4 2 6 -3 14
23 Justin Coutu, D 24 1 3 4 -9 47
22 Andrew Nahirniak, D 19 1 3 4 -2 32
5 Sheldon Lee, D 38 0 4 4 -12 64
44 Noah Katz, C 1 0 0 0 -1 2
TOTALS - 38 100 161 261 -41 1095
GOALTENDING
# GOALIES W L OTL SO GAA SV%

35 Larry Sterling 11 16 3 1 3.38 .900
1 Chris Davidson 1 3 1 0 3.80 .879
TOTALS 12 21 5 1 3.71 .888
Mudbugs statistics(through Thursday)
# PLAYERS, POS GP G A PTS +/- PIM
10 Dan Wildfong, LW 35 13 25 38 +6 155
16 Blair Manning, C 35 2 28 30 +8 32
25 Chad Spurr, RW 33 8 20 28 +3 45
14 Chris Brassard, LW 33 6 22 28 +2 49
41 Brett Smith, C 35 16 11 27 -4 40
29 Ryan Manitowich, LW 35 13 10 23 +2 18
11 Jason Campbell, C 30 6 10 16 +3 22
22 Craig Minard, D 29 3 12 15 +5 26
24 Jason Basile, D 35 5 9 14 +8 42
44 Dale Lupul, D 32 2 9 11 +6 50
8 Quade Lightbody, D 35 3 7 10 +9 80
20 Shane Palahicky, RW 34 4 5 9 -1 33
23 Milan Vodrazka, C 24 4 2 6 +4 10
18 Jeremy Downs, D 22 1 3 4 +6 12
28 Martin Stuchlik, F 22 2 1 3 0 16
42 Chris Shaw, D 21 0 0 0 -3 93
TOTALS - 35 107 185 292 +10 807
GOALTENDING
# GOALIES W L OTL SO GAA SV%
34 Ken Carroll 10 7 4 3 2.26 .920
1 David Cacciola 5 2 1 1 2.81 .907
TOTALS 18 12 5 4 2.77 .904

Friday, January 27, 2006

1/27 BUGS at ODESSA (W 5-4)

MUSCUTT TALKS ABOUT ODESSA WIN; FORT WORTH MATCHUP
Just got off the phone with Scott Muscutt. The Mudbugs were packing up the bus and heading out as quickly as possible.

MUSCUTT: "We didnt play as well or as sharp as we wanted to in the first period. It wasnt a poor effort. We just played like we were on the road in the first period. On a whole, we really responded."

"We really dominated in the second period. We played a good hockey game."

ON ODESSA'S LATE 5-ON-3 GOAL:
"The one goal they did score. Smitty is in front of the net. Craig Minard got stuck in the face trying to clear the puck from behind the net. The puck bounces off Smitty's stick, hits him in the pants, bounces up in the air, hits the crossbar and drops in the corner of the net. I'm not exaggerating -- that's exactly what happened. "

ON OVERALL EFFORT
"Four or five of the guys just told me, 'I didn't have a good game tonight.' That's when you can tell things are starting to come back around."

ON FORT WORTH GAME
"We have to make sure we're coming out. I didnt even get out of the room tonight talking about tonight's game and the boys were already saying, 'We owe Fort Worth.'"
"For a bunch of reasons, this contest tomorrow night is a big one. That's why we're trying to get this bus packed up so we can get guys home, get them rested and get ready to go for a big one against Fort Worth."

SPURR BEGINNING TO HEAT UP
Chad Spurr scored two goals Friday as the Mudbugs defeated Odessa 5-4 at the Ector County Coliseum. Defensemen Jason Basile, Dale Lupul and veteran Blair Manning added goals.
The Mudbugs (19-12-5) have won four consecutive one-goal games and lead the Northeast Division by 11 points.
Ken Carroll made 33 saves on the night.

MARTIN SIGNED BY FORT WORTH
Didn't someone say yesterday what a great fit Andrew Martin in Fort Worth would be? Unlikely the Plano, Texas, native will be in the lineup Saturday against the Bugs, but maybe Feb. 4 in Fort Worth. Unfortunately Saturday is Brahmas' final trip to CenturyTel Center this season.

WHEELS ON THE BUS GO ROUND AND ROUND
The Mudbugs took a bus from the CenturyTel Center late Wednesday and headed to Odessa. After their game tonight against the Jackalopes, Bossier-Shreveport will get back on the bus and head back to town for Saturday's game against Fort Worth.530 miles of I-20 ... no thanks!

AND THERE WERE SOME WHO DIDN'T LIKE IT
Had many people write to voice their displeasure over John Madden's rant in the locker room on Jan. 3 after an embarrasing loss to Youngstown.Well, the Mudbugs have not LOST a game in regulation (5-0-2) since that evening. I would say it worked. Plus, Madden has NEVER been one to interfere with the way head coach Scott Muscutt does business or runs the team. So unlike Jerry Jones or George Steinbrenner, who constantly micromanage, this rant actually meant something.

GAMEDAY STUFF
Outlook
Bossier-Shreveport (18-12-5) looks for consecutive win No. 4 against a team we don't hear about much around here ... The first-place (Southwest Division) Jackalopes boast Mike Gorman, the starting netminder for the Southern Conference in last week's All-Star Game. Another player to watch is Odessa winger Sebastien Thinel, the CHL's fourth-leading goal scorer. He is a plus-8 with four game-winners and seven power-play goals ... Odessa hasn't found much success outside the Southern Conference (2-4-3), but both wins and only one loss have come against the Northeast Division ... The Mudbugs have won the last three meetings between the teams and have not lost to Odessa since Dec. 21, 2002 ... Quietly, the Mudbugs have compiled their longest non-losing (in regulation) streak of the season at seven games and tied their longest winning streak at three.

Jackalopes statistics
# PLAYERS, POS GP G A PTS +/- PIM
43 Sebastien Thinel, RW 36 23 29 52 +12 38
10 Dominic Leveille, RW 36 15 27 42 +5 44
25 Matt Cressman, C 36 15 15 30 +11 47
22 John Kozoriz, F 36 15 12 27 +2 44
23 Don Margettie, RW 34 7 19 26 +7 10
59 Mike Rutter, C 21 10 15 25 +3 34
6 Scott Hillman, D 36 5 19 24 +2 31
18 Mike Carter, RW 34 5 15 20 -3 36
24 Pascal Bedard, D 36 5 14 19 -2 57
41 Adam Loncan, F 34 10 7 17 +3 14
15 Paul Davies, LW 35 6 6 12 +2 55
12 Chris Brannen, D 35 2 6 8 +9 30
17 Andrew Davis, D 34 0 8 8 -1 67
16 Jeff Ewasko, D 27 2 4 6 -1 168
5 Josh Legge, D 36 0 5 5 -1 79
37 Jamie Lovell, D 36 0 3 3 +10 25
TOTALS - 36 120 206 326 +13 911
GOALTENDING
# GOALIES W L OTL SO GAA SV%
40 Mike Gorman 16 9 2 2 2.43 .928
31 Derek Dolson 4 2 0 0 3.09 .905
TOTALS 20 12 4 2 2.97 .915

Mudbugs statistics
# PLAYERS, POS GP G A PTS +/- PIM
10 Dan Wildfong, LW 35 13 25 38 +6 155
16 Blair Manning, C 35 2 28 30 +8 32
25 Chad Spurr, RW 33 8 20 28 +3 45
14 Chris Brassard, LW 33 6 22 28 +2 49
41 Brett Smith, C 35 16 11 27 -4 40
29 Ryan Manitowich, LW 35 13 10 23 +2 18
11 Jason Campbell, C 30 6 10 16 +3 22
22 Craig Minard, D 29 3 12 15 +5 26
24 Jason Basile, D 35 5 9 14 +8 42
44 Dale Lupul, D 32 2 9 11 +6 50
8 Quade Lightbody, D 35 3 7 10 +9 80
20 Shane Palahicky, RW 34 4 5 9 -1 33
23 Milan Vodrazka, C 24 4 2 6 +4 10
18 Jeremy Downs, D 22 1 3 4 +6 12
28 (IR)Martin Stuchlik, F 22 2 1 3 0 16
42 Chris Shaw, D 21 0 0 0 -3 93
TOTALS - 35 107 185 292 +10 807
GOALTENDING
# GOALIES W L OTL SO GAA SV%
34 Ken Carroll 10 7 4 3 2.26 .920
1 David Cacciola 5 2 1 1 2.81 .907
TOTALS 18 12 5 4 2.77 .904

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

1/24 BUGS vs. RIO GRANDE VALLEY (W, 2-1)

OH BY THE WAY
The Mudbugs took 9 of 10 points in the five-game homestand.

CHECK OUT WEDNESDAY'S TIMES FOR A RECAP INCLUDING ...
“We took a lot of stupid penalties, took a lot of retaliatory penalties,” Rio Grande Valley coach Tracy Egeland said. “But I thought it was the worst officiated game I had seen all year."

STRANGE THINGS WERE AFOOT AT THE CTC
First of all, I must say, a win is a win. And I take absolutely nothing away from the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs in Tuesday's win. The effort was there, no doubt about it. Chris Brassard played his best game (I've seen) of the year. Chad Spurr looked like he wanted the puck and, of course, Dan Wildfong and Ken Carroll were their usual selves.
The defense was also wonderful. The unit kept a talented team to very few scoring chances. The calls tonight were in favor of the Mudbugs, lets make no bones about that, but this is the type of game the Mudbugs may not have won during the first half of this season. Absent was the late defensive mistake that plagued this team in the first 32 games.

NOW, FOR THE GOOD STUFF
I have to agree whole-heartedly with Rio Grande Valley head coach Tracy Egeland ... this was the worst (by far) officiated game I've seen this year.
It wasn't so much that Rio's penalties weren't warrented, but the inconsistenty of the calls tonight was embarrasing. From managing the penalty clock to the abundance of 5-on-3s, Tom Sterns should thank heavens supervisor of officials Wayne Bonney wasn't in attendance.

Three 5-on-3s? In one period? Ridiculous.
To clear up the time when the first 5-on-3 ended, the penalty box official incorrectly opened the door during play. The Rio player did not make a mistake. He just came out when the door opened. When you have a situation of stacked penalties such as that, the player whose penalty is over must wait until a whistle sounds to come out of the box. HOWEVER, when his penalty is over, the next penalty shall begin counting downs as the play continues.
NOW, onto the Mudbugs goal and how it went from 5-on-3 to even strength. Scott Muscutt was told that when Brett Smith hit a post and the crowd thought he had scored, the scorekeeper stopped the clock. Eventually the puck found Chris Brassard, who scored, and the clock still showed 5 second remaining on the 5-on-3. The referee determined that 7 seconds had elapsed since the clock was incorrectly stopped, there for the 5-on-3 was over and so was the Mudbugs power play after the final penalized play was allowed to enter the ice after a power-play goal was scored.
IF that was 7 seconds between Brett Smith's miss and Brassard's goal, I must have been in a time warp.

MORE WONDERFUL OFFICIATING STUFF
The penalty called on Phil Cherneski with six minutes remaining might be the worst call (among many) of the night. Dan Wildfong was whistled for interference and proceeded -- in typical Wildfong fashion (gotta love him) -- he skated directly into Cherneski with a shoulder. For getting run over, Cherneski was called for roughing, nullifying what would have been a crucial Rio Grande power play.


TOM STERNS ON THE PAYROLL?
Of course I'm kidding, but the Mudbugs have certainly been given every opportunity to win this game -- by the ref, and the Killer Bees.
8:40 p.m.

IS IT A FULL MOON?
So many things are strange here tonight at the CenturyTel Center. Tom Sterns has turned into "Mr. Whistle." The Mudbugs have had so many 5-on-3s I lost track, and they were screwed out of one additional power play. The shot counter REFUSES to give Rio any shots on goal. They might not realize it, but they are screwing Ken Carroll. This is just a crazy night. The Mudbugs will be on another power play 10 seconds after the third period begins as Matic Kralj was handed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at the 20-minute mark.
Oh by the way, the Mudbugs lead 1-0.
TIME: 8:34 p.m.

FIVE STRAIGHT RIO PENALTIES LEAD TO MUDBUGS FIRST GOAL
Somehow, I believe the Mudbugs have been robbed of a power-play opportunity. They scored on a 5-on-3, but two Rio players came out of the box after the goal. Nevertheless, Chris Brassard has given Bossier-Shreveport a 1-0 lead.
Typical Mudbugs game, up 1-0 and outshooting the opponent 24-10.
TIME: 8:14 p.m.

FIRST PERIOD IS OVER
Not sure whether it's the Tuesday crowd or the play between the Mudbugs and Killer Bees, but the excitement level here at the CenturyTel Center is sub-par. It will likely pickup here over the next 40 minutes of action, so stay tuned. There might be a slight edge to the Mudbugs right now, and the shot board says 11-5 Bossier-Shreveport. However, the Mudbugs have been able to finish some quality chances, sure Scott Muscutt hopes those come back to haunt his team.
TIME: 7:39 p.m.

ZZZZZZZ
Not much has happened in the first 14 minutes of the game, but that is usually good for the Mudbugs.
TIME: 7:25 p.m.

GOOD STORY ... BUT
This isn't a night for Mudbugs netminder Ken Carroll to get hurt or lightheaded. With No. 2 goalie David Cacciola absent tonight, the Mudbugs will have men's league player Dave Barry.
Local sportscaster Dave Schwartz has scored on this guy. Enough said.

GO FLY A KYTE (Thank's Rajan)
The Mudbugs placed defenseman Chad Kemp and forward Jeremy Kyte on the team’s suspended list Tuesday. Kemp was placed on the list for failing to report to Corpus Christi after a potential deal was struck between Bossier-Shreveport and the Rayz.
Kyte was suspended for not reporting to the Mudbugs in a timely manner after he was traded from Amarillo.
“He wanted to report here, but we just had a difference of opinion on when that should be,” Muscutt said. “I expected him to be here last week, but he had some things he thought he needed to tidy up. I don’t want a hockey player that doesn’t know if he wants to play. I want one that’s going to get on a plane and say, ‘I want to play and I’ll come back to take care of the personal stuff during the off days.”
The void leaves Muscutt room to sign another player, something the coach is working feverishly to accomplish.
“We’re on the verge of getting an impact player,” Muscutt said.
In other roster news, goaltender David Cacciola was granted leave by the league to tend to a personal matter Muscutt says will cost him to miss just tonight’s game against Rio Grande Valley.
The Mudbugs will employ a local goaltender, Dave Barry, to back up Ken Carroll against the Killer Bees.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

1/21 BUGS vs. MEMPHIS (W, 1-0)

GOOD SIGNS ON GUARANTEED WIN NIGHT
Lots of creative signs at the CenturyTel Center on Saturday night. My favorite, of course, was a clean, good-spirited effort from someone in section 119:
Bugs
Underrated?
Goofy
Sportswriter
Asked owner Rob Walker, who sat in front of the creative mind, if I could get a hold of it. Naturally, they gave it to Brett Smith. Come on!
TIME: 11:17 p.m.

BACK-TO-BACK, NOW THAT'S THE WAY TO END A WEEKEND
The Mudbugs did win back-to-back games. And what might even mean more in the long run is the fact they pulled out a pair of one-goal affairs. The 1-0 shutout win over Memphis sent Bossier-Shreveport home happy on the weekend for once. It's definitely better the Mudbugs can get back on the horse Tuesday instead of waiting until next weekend. The game against Rio Grande Valley offers another opportunity for this team to continue to build on this fine weekend of hockey.
David Cacciola's performance in net tonight was nothing short of amazing. The Memphis power play is stout and Cacciola and his defender blanked the RiverKings in all eight attempts.
TIME: 10:20 p.m.

BUGS WIN ANOTHER CLOSE ONE
This one wasn't easy either, but the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs defeated the Memphis RiverKings at the CenturyTel Center on Saturday, marking just the second time since October the team has won both games in one weekend.
TIME: 9:37 p.m.

BUGS DO WELL WITH THE LEAD
The Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs are 9-0-2 when leading after two periods. Meanwhile, Memphis is 1-13 when trailing after two periods. It looks pretty good for the Bugs, who hold a 1-0 lead, from here.
TIME: 9:08 p.m.

NET CRASHER
Mudbugs veteran Dan Wildfong crashed the net and scored to give the Mudbugs a 1-0 lead midway through the second period. The goal set off a mini brawl with Bossier-Shreveport defenseman Quade Lightbody and Paul Mcbrien squaring off. Beside that lots of people danced but no gloves came off.
TIME: 8:42 p.m.

CACCIOLA GETS START ON 24TH BIRTHDAY
David Cacciola, the Mudbugs' rookie netminder and birthday boy, has made 9 saves through the first period while Michael Dilorenzo has made 11 for Memphis in a scoreless game.
TIME: 8:08 p.m.

GOALTENDERS STORY THUS FAR
Michael Dilorenzo just stoned Mudbugs veteran Jason Campbell on the doorstep and the game remains scoreless near the end of the first period. Campbell was parked to Dilorenzo's left during Bossier-Shreveport's recent power play and attempted to bang home a cross-ice pass. The goaltender slid to his left and stuffed Campbell.
TIME: 7:52 p.m.

SMITTY vs. STODDARD
Well, Brett Smith is still fired up. He dropped the gloves just 1:36 into Saturday's contest with Memphis defenseman Darrell Stoddard. As you might expect, Smith's effort was there, but the much more experienced Stoddard got the decision. Mudbugs trainer George Bullock Jr. is in the penalty box attending to Smith, who is bleeding. Nothing major though.
One thing you can never say about Smitty is that he never tries. Even in my horrific "B" grade I didn't hint at that. The fact that he is willing to go out and fight a guy like Stoddard -- while not the smartest move ever -- shows that he is serious about leading this team to a different second half.
TIME: 7:23 p.m.

DONNY P ROCKS
There appears to be about a 10-minute delay for the start of tonight's game against Memphis, but RiverKings captain Don Parsons -- a Mudbugs' fan "favorite" is sitting on the boards all by himself in front of the Memphis bench and using his stick as a guitar to play along to "Welcome to the Jungle."
Classic.
TIME: 7:08 p.m.

MEMPHIS TERRIBLE ON SATURDAYS
The RiverKings enter tonight 1-9 when playing on Saturday nights. Wow, they definitely don't like back-to-back games either.

S-T-A-T-S SPELL INCONSISTENCY
More proof of inconsistency? Tonight will mark the 15th time the Mudbugs have played back-to-back games this season. Here is how the Mudbugs have fared in the second games.
Won 2nd game after winning first: 3 of 9.
Lost 2nd game after winning first: 6 of 9.
Lost second game of back-to-backs: 9 of 14.

If that doesn't spell inconsistency, nothing does.
That being said, if the Mudbugs play the way they did Friday night, good things will happen in the second half of the season. That was an all-around effort and something to be proud of.

A STRANGE MOTIVATIONAL TOOL
A couple of notes to Brett Smith: If you can't handle receiving a "B" when your team has lost more games than they've won, then what the heck are you going to do in a bigger city at a higher level? Philly, Chicago, New York ... the media there would absolutely be ripping the inconsistency. Having no talent is acceptable, but having talent and not using it is unacceptable.
SECOND: Smith's grade was the SECOND HIGHEST on the team! Obviously, I think he's valuable to Bossier-Shreveport. And no one got below a C-, hardly earth-shattering for a team struggling by their own standards.
THIRD: I didn't see Smith coming out of the locker room after the crushing Youngstown losses, the Fort Worth loss or any of the recent disasters at the CTC. But when he scores the game-winning goal he wants to saying everything written was garbage? Can't have it your way just when you win.
FOURTH: He said the team was "great." Ummm, I would like to see how many of his teammates think 16 wins and 17 losses is great. And I stated that I didn't think the Mudbugs HAD to make anymore moves. I clearly stated, with many, many facts that the team could be just fine if the effort was there EVERY night. I went out of my way to say this team wasn't finished, but they needed to pick it up. Friday's effort against Oklahoma City has to be an EVERY night occurance. And I wouldn't exactly start gloating just yet.
FIFTH: I am obviously not the only one that had a problem with the first half. Head coach Scott Muscutt has been beside himself on several occasions this season and John Madden, never one to interfere, felt the need to do so. Something wasn't right.
SIXTH: If it took something I wrote to motivate the team, that's likely not a good sign. Scott Muscutt is a heck of a coach and I would hope his words, or the thoughts of the guy who writes the paychecks would carry the weight, not someone's opinion not affiliated with the team.
FINALLY: It's funny how I never heard much over the past two years when 99.9-percent of the stories were positive. Why were they positive? Because they deserved to be. I am not here to be a cheerleader. My job is to tell the readers what is happening as I see it AND through the players' and coaches' eyes. I didn't take any personal jabs, didn't fire off any "off the record" stuff. I just gave my opinion of the first 32 games. That's why I have had plenty of quotes and interviews from players and the head coach completely backing up the point of my midseason recap.
As I've said a million times, my job sure is more fun when the team wins. Obviously so is their's.

HERE WE GO AGAIN
The Mudbugs have not won back-to-back games on a weekend since beating Fort Worth at home on Dec. 16 and 17. The time before that ... OCTOBER! If the Mudbugs truly are going to collect some momentum during the second half of the season, they must start winning games on consecutive night.
Friday, Bossier-Shreveport played perhaps its most inspired game of the year. To a man, the Mudbugs played physical hockey -- and that's what this team needs to do in order to be successful.
In Bossier-Shreveport can duplicate last night's effort against a inconsistent Memphis team, big MO might just start wearing teal and purple.

Friday, January 20, 2006

1/20 BUGS vs. OKLAHOMA CITY (W, 2-1)

BUGS WIN
How huge does tomorrow loom? The Mudbugs have been stuck on one win a weekend. If they can pull off the victory tomorrow, there could be some momentum here.
TIME: 10:18 p.m.

SMITTY GIVE BUGS LEAD
Brett Smith scored a power-play goal just 27 seconds into the Mudbugs fourth attempt with the man-advantage to give Bossier-Shreveport a 2-1 lead. The Mudbugs are now attempting to kill Oak City's seventh power play.
TIME: 9:16 p.m.

WILDFONG TAKES ANOTHER PENALTY
Dan Wildfong took his fifth penalty of the game early in the third and the Mudbugs were forced to attempt to kill Oklahoma City's sixth power-play chance. Blazers defenseman Joe Dustin bailed out Bossier-Shreveport when he slashed Brett Smith during a short-handed rush.
Tied at 1 with 11:16 left.
TIME: 9:04 p.m.

BIG PK LOOMS TO START THIRD
I can't pinpoint the reason, but the Mudbugs are enjoying another huge advantage on the shot board (29-13), but aren't winning the game. Oklahoma City will start the third period with 1:07 left on its fifth power play of the game. The Mudbugs have had just two, the second was shortended after Dan Wildfong took a penalty with the man-advantage.
Game tied at 1.
TIME: 8:36 p.m.

SHAW VS. DEARLE
Another good one. Shaw got some early shots in as the fight developed in the corner. The Mudbugs defenseman had a major size advantage (6-3, 200 vs. 5-10, 185) and took advantage of it. After a minute or so, both players agreed to break so Dearle could get his helmet off.
Shaw continued his slight advantage in the second half of the bout, but give the undersized Dearle credit.
TIME: 8:28 p.m.

WILDFONG VS. FLECK
It was going to happen eventually. The captains went toe-to-toe early in the second period. Fleck landed a few lefts early to take the lead, but Wildfong countered with a late flurry to even things up. Proof captains don't have to be angels.
TIME: 8:10 p.m.

SO FAR SO GOOD
The first period at the CenturyTel Center brought memories. It wasn't an overly exciting period, but the Mudbugs took the body, created some scoring chances and allowed very few.
TIME: 7:43 p.m.

PALAHICKY GIVES BUGS LEAD
The Mudbugs have played a good first period thus far and Shane Palahicky gave Bossier-Shreveport a 1-0 with a wrister from the slot.
TIME: 7:30 p.m.

CARROLL VS. CONNORS IN NET
Two All-Star netminders.
Time: 7:08 p.m.

REFLECTIONS FROM THE ALL-STAR GAME
The events in McAllen and Hidalgo, Texas this week were a blast and the Mudbugs came out looking pretty good: They received the All-Star Game, Scott Sheppard scored, Ken Carroll got the win and Dale Lupul learned from the best defensemen in the Central Hockey League.
Other observations:
1. Greg Pankewicz is hilarious. That guy didn't stop talking for 45 minutes in the locker room. Great player, better comedian.
2. Jeff Christian is a sick, sick player. Might have best hands in CHL.
3. Scott Sheppard will not be a Mudbug again. He's too good. Was the talk during post-game reception.
4. Ricky Martin is popular in those parts. Dang I gotta learn spanish better. You would think living in Miami would have done it for me.
5. The Mudbugs have a lot to live up to. Rio Grande Valley did a great job with the festivities.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

1/14 BUGS vs. FORT WORTH (L, 3-2 in shootout)

LOSS TO FORT WORTH THE SEASON IN A NUTSHELL
Embarrassing. Devastating. Dispicible. Bring all the negative adjectives out, because they all apply.
Not only losing to Fort Worth, by far the worst team in the CHL of late, but to get outworked by the Brahmas is not acceptable.
Fort Worth looked like a playoff contender, not a doormat, in the CENTURYTEL CENTER. When the Mudbugs resume play after the All-Star break, things will look much different. Moves will be made. If they aren't, expect this inconsistency all season.


BRAHMAS TIE GAME WITH LESS THAN 35 SECONDS TO GO
With goaltender Larry Sterling sent to the bench in favor of an extra attacker, Fort Worth winger Bret DeCecco scored his 18th goal of the season with 35 seconds left to tie the game at 2 after a nifty behind-the-net pass from Wes Mason.
A frantic barrage on Sterling from the Mudbugs late in regulation was fruitless.
TIME: 9:20 p.m.

BUGS TAKE THE LEAD WITH A PAIR
Moments after Mike O’Sullivan missed a golden opportunity to it 2-0 Brahmas early in the third period the Mudbugs tied the score when Jason Basile chipped in a rebound from his knees to Larry Sterling’s right. Sterling had made a nice stop on a Chris Brassard slap shot, but Basile was there for the juicy rebound.
Jason Campbell scored one minute later to give Bossier-Shreveport a 2-1 lead.
TIME: 8:56 p.m.

GONNA TAKE A THIRD PERIOD COMEBACK
The Brahmas hold a 1-0 lead heading into the final period. Fort Worth is 9-1-1 when leading after two periods. The Mudbugs are 3-10-0 when trailing after 2.
TIME: 8:34 p.m.

BRAHMAS STRIKE FIRST
Ken Carroll finally gave in when Cory Stillman intercepted a Mudbugs’ clearing attempt in the right circle and let a rocket wrister go. The puck its way past Carroll top shelf with 6:04 left in the second period.
Quade Lightbody committed the turnover.
TIME: 8:15 p.m.

TIGHT GAME CONTINUES
The Mudbugs seem to be controlling the play so far in the second, but Fort Worth did have a prime scoring chance. However, Ken Carroll again stopped a booming slapper from Konrad Brand.
TIME: 7:59 p.m.

CARROLL ONLY REASON THE MUDBUGS ARE EVEN RIGHT NOW
While the Mudbugs skaters likely suffered from a letdown after Friday’s big victory against the Bucks, Ken Carroll did not. The netminder single-handedly kept the Brahmas off the scoreboard in the first period with 11 saves.
Fort Worth fired off several point-blank shots, including a rocket from winger Beau McLaughlin snipe from the slot, but Carroll was up to the task every time.
TIME: 7:35 p.m.

BUGS KILL OFF FIRST TWO PPs
Fort Worth still has some jump, but Ken Carroll is on a roll. After his shutout Friday, the All-Star is saving the Bugs butts right now.
TIME: 7:28 p.m.

EARLY, BUT BRAHMAS DONT LOOK THAT BAD
Fort Worth has come to play tonight, at least in the first five minutes or so.
TIME: 7:14 p.m.

CARROLL VS STERLING IN NET
TIME: 6:59 p.m.

STRUGGLING BRAHMAS IN TOWN
To say Fort Worth is struggling may be the biggest understatement ever. They just gave up 9 goals to Austin -- not exactly the Red Army. Better check with my editors, I'm not sure if I'm going to have enough room for the scoring summary in the paper tomorrow.

Friday, January 13, 2006

1/13 BUGS vs. LAREDO (W, 3-0)

ALL-AROUND EFFORT BY MUDBUGS TONIGHT
“Call a spade a spade,” Laredo head coach Terry Ruskowski said. “We got outworked, we got outplayed. The score indicated the game. If it wasn’t for the way Lemanowicz played, the score could have been 8 or 9 nothing.
“They won the battles. They played tight defense. Every aspect of the game, they beat us.”
TIME: 9:26 p.m.

WOW, THAT'S ALL THAT CAN BE SAID
Dan Wildfong scored what might be the goal of the year for Bossier-Shreveport. With Laredo on the power play, the veteran intercepted the puck at his own blue line, raced all alone on Lemanowicz and proceeded to showcase his skills.
No. 10 faked a forehand twice, then went to the backhand and slid the puck past a beaten Lemanowicz, who just laid on the ice in amazement.
TIME: 8:37 p.m.

BUGS SCORE A POWER PLAY GOAL, UP 2-0
Veteran Jason Campbell gave the Mudbugs a 2-0 lead with a power-play goal late in the second period. Campbell was camped in front of Lemanowicz and deflected a blast by defenseman Craig Minard from the point.
TIME: 8:24 p.m.

UP 1-0, BUGS GO ON FOUR-MINUTE POWER PLAY
Igor Agarunov was sent to the box for four minutes after high sticking Mudbugs veteran Blair Manning with about 7 minutes remaining in the second period.
TIME: 8:21

BUGS STRIKE FIRST
After nearly 30 minutes of scoreless hockey, Chad Spurr gave the Mudbugs a lead with a goal on a somewhat broken play.
Chris Brassard skated into the Bucks zone and delivered a centering pass that was misplayed by linemate Milan Vodrazka. The puck deflected off Vodrazka, but found past a handcuffed Bucks defender and to Spurr in the slot. Spurr one-timed the dribbling puck past Laredo netminder David Lemanowicz.
TIME: 8:15 p.m.

BUGS' FIRST POWER PLAY FORGETTABLE
Ever seen a power play suck the life out of a team. That's wat seemed to happen at the CenturyTel Center during Friday's second period. The Mudbugs, who had amassed 23 shots on goal in a little more than 1 period, could not muster one single shot on their first power play against Laredo. The Bucks then proceeded to dominate the next 5 minutes of play. Yet, it's still scoreless.
TIME: 8:10 p.m.

35 SHOTS ON GOAL IN THE FIRST PERIOD
The same old story for the Mudbugs so far. A lot of shots, not a lot of goals. Bossier-Shreveport recorded 20 shots in the first period and the Bucks collected 15.
Not taking anything away from the Mudbugs though, because this is a darn good Laredo team here tonight. Terrific 0-0 game so far.
TIME: 7:41 p.m.

GREAT FIRST PERIOD OF HOCKEY
The aggressive nature of both teams early on has led to plenty of scoring chances. The Mudbugs have had prime chances in front of Laredo's David Lemanowicz, but Ryan Manitowich and Chad Spurr have been unable to convert in 1-on-1 situations.
The Mudbugs have given up a few too many opportunities to the Bucks, hopefully that won't come back to bite them later on tonight.
TIME: 7:37 p.m.

WILDFONG VS. HIEBERT - TOP NOTCH FIGHT
Old time hockey here in the first period. Dan Wildfong and James Hiebert went toe-to-toe one minute into Friday's game. Each player landed significant blows, typical of the gritty style both players bring. It would be tough to find any two players that bring more to their teams than Wildfong and Hiebert.
Wildfong went after Hiebert after the Laredo forward delivered a crushing blow to Mudbugs defenseman Chad Kemp. There are cases where it's smart to go after the opponent even after a clean hit and that was one!
TIME: 7:11 p.m.

TOUGH TASK FOR BUGS TONIGHT
Laredo is running on all cylinders and the Bucks got some big guns back too. Jeff Bes, a former CHL MVP, Serge Dube and Brent Cullaton are three major forces to be reckoned with.
TIME: 7:01 p.m.

BUGS GET BLUE LINE HELP
The Bossier-Shreveport blue line got some help Friday with the return of Craig Minard, who missed several games due to a personal matter.
TIME: 6:39 p.m.

NOT-SO-FUNNY CIRCUMSTANCES
OK, It's Friday the 13th, the Laredo Bucks are in town to play the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs and Steve Cruickshank is the referee. Ummm, is it me or does that make for a bad combination?
Ken Carroll will start in net for the Mudbugs.
TIME: 6:28 p.m.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

1/7 BUGS at MEMPHIS (W, 3-2)

A COMEBACK WIN? WITH THE POWER PLAY?
The Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs dug down deep to claim a 3-2 victory at Memphis. The Mudbugs tallied three power-play goals in the third period to defeat the RiverKings. It is easy to say this is a glimpse of what we can expect in the future, but this team has scored big wins before, only to head immediately south.
It will take a good two or three WEEKS of good play before we can say things have turned around.

1/6 BUGS at WICHITA (L, 3-2 in shootout)

ANOTHER NIGHT, ANOTHER DISAPPOINTING FINISH
Not what the Mudbugs needed. Staring a huge road victory in the face, the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs allowed a goal to Joe Blaznek (the Thunder's top threat) with 29 seconds remaining in the game. The Mudbugs proceeded to go 0-5 in the shootout and fall 3-2 to their Northern Conference rival.
The Mudbugs are now a season-low three games under .500 (13-12-4)

Saturday, January 07, 2006

1/3 BUGS vs. YOUNGSTOWN (L, 5-3)

8-1-0 IS STILL OK RIGHT? RIGHT?

3,907 fans watched the Steelhounds defeat the Mudbugs 5-3. The first time in nine years that the team has lost the first game of the calendar year. The final goal was scored by Scott Barnes with assists by Darryl Lloyd and Kelly Sickavish.

I am not sure where the fans were tonight, but I hope they are enjoying the Orange Bowl, or Veronica Mars, or NCIS, or whatever else is showing on a Tuesday night.

A very weird vibe is going through the building right now as I have never seen 4000 people clear out of a building this fast in my life. I can understand the frustration they have right now. The Mudbugs are barely above .500 with a 13-12-3 record. Their special teams have been abysmal for most of the season, their All Star goaltender was pulled during a game within the division, and the next time they are skating on home ice is Friday the 13th. The Mudbugs need someone to step up on the ice and put the team on their back. I am not sure who that player is, but they need to step up soon.

My girlfriend Kate just joined me in the press box and asked the important question. Does our special teams suck that bad, or is Youngstown that good? I'm not sure if anyone can answer that question except for the man behind the bench. Tonight we made the Youngstown Steelhounds look like the 1972 Boston Bruins (led by the real best Defenseman ever, Bobby Orr. I don't care what Roy Lang says). We had special teams that looked like the Mighty Ducks before the flying V saved their season. The flying V is probably not in the team's near future, and Adam Banks is probably not going to be sent to the team in a fluke. I am sure that a man with the resume of Scott Muscutt can find the answer in the next couple of weeks. In a fickle sports town like Shreveport the past has shown that the attendance numbers are usually directly proportional to the winning percentage. The next four games might be the most important games of the season.

Friday, January 6 - At arch rival Wichita in a battle of last year's conference semi finalists.

Saturday, January 7 - The Mudbugs play at hated division rival Memphis.

Friday, January 13 - A return home engagement with the Laredo Bucks. This game sold out last year and literally changed the attendance figures at the CenturyTel Center. This year may see less than half of the attendance of last year's game.

Saturday, January 14 - A home game against the new look Fort Worth Brahmas.

Have a very safe and prosperous 2006 everybody.

TIME - 9:52 PM



BRASSARD TAKES THAT PENALTY?

Chris Brassard was sent to the "sin bin" for slashing with 2:41 left in the period to give Youngstown a man advantage. The amazing thing is that the slash was on the goaltender right in front of referee Fred L'Ecuyer. Normally Fred lets the boys play, but on a play that obvious he had to call it.

TIME - 9:22 PM

MUDBUGS THIRD MAN ADVANTAGE GOES BY THE WAYSIDE

David Cacciola has looked great in goal since entering the game in the second period, unfortunately the defense of Youngstown has looked better. The Mudbugs' third powerplay ended with no shots on goal for the home team and an odd man rush for the Steelhounds who amazingly did not score.

Ken Carroll did not look happy when leaving the ice in the second. After tossing his helmet and stick, Carroll exited stage left to the locker room. I can't say anyone can blame him since he is probably not accustomed to finishing a game in which he started, on the bench.

The Mudbugs will go back on the power play with 7:36 to play after a two minute minor penalty on Kris Mallette for tripping.

TIME - 9:12 PM

CARROLL PULLED IN SECOND PERIOD, TIED AFTER TWO

A rough night for Ken Carroll comes to an end with 4:48 to play in the second period after allowing four goals in sixteen shots. Scott Barnes tallies his twelfth goal of the year off of assists by Jeff Christian and Jonathan Gagnon.

David Cacciola takes over the netminding duties for Carrol. Cacciola is currently sporting a 3.42 goals against average and an .886 save percentage.

I don't want to sound religous right now, but if the Mudbugs expect to win this game they are going to have to make the third period an un-Christian period for the Steelhounds.

The Steelhounds outshot the Mudbugs 13-9 during the second period and are an unbelievable 4-7 on the powerplay tonight. This coming from the team that is currently tenth in the league with a 14.63 powerplay percentage.

The Mudbugs have got to clamp down on their penalty kill, stay out of the penalty box, and capitalize on their rushes to the net. Brett Smith, Ryan Manitowich, and Chris Brassard all had opportunities to score in the second but were shut down by David St. Germain

TIME - 8:43 PM

LUPUL VIES FOR GORDIE HOWE HAT TRICK...IN SECOND PERIOD ALONE

Dale Lupul scores his second goal of the year at 12:54 in the first and three minutes later gets in his second fight of the year. The former came off of assists by Ryan Manitowich and Brett Smith, the latter off of an assist by Steelhound forward Darryl Lloyd's head.

The game is tied at three apiece after Youngstown forward Jonathan Gagnon scored his ninth goal of the year after helpers by Jeff Christian and Chris Richards.

TIME - 8:15 PM

ALCOMBRACK TAKEN OFF THE ICE

Steelhound defenseman Jeff Alcombrack was helped off of the ice after crashing into the boards in his own defensive zone. He placed no weight on his right leg when leaving the ice and was not taken to the locker room but to the zamboni entrance. I can only speculate, but that is never a good thing when you are taken to the entrance off of the ice that leads to the outside doors. He did receive a nice ovation while leaving the ice but was in noticable pain. I did not see what led to the injury, no players were around him at all when I noticed him laying on the ice, and there were no penalies on the play. We will keep a good thought for Mr. Alcombrack.

FIRST PERIOD RECAP

The period belonged to two players. Brett Smith who scored his 15th goal of the year on assists by Jeremy Downs and Ryan Manitowich. The goal was scored with 44 seconds left in the period and tied the game at two heading into the first intermission.

The tie was important because Jeff Christian only shot the puck twice during the first period, which is good news. The bad news is that he found the back of the net on both shots to record his now league leading 27th goal of the season. Jonathan Gagnon and Jeff Alcombrack provided the assists on the goal. Both of Christian's goals were power play goals. This is Christian's third game against the Mudbugs. He has taken nine shots. He has scored four goals including three power play goals during these games. I am not a coach by any means, but I would be willing to wager that the number 72 (Christian's number) will come up in the locker room during intermission.

The Mudbugs led the Steelhounds in shots during the first 15-12.

AND THANK YOU MR. VODRAZKA

Milan Vodrazka scores his third goal of the year on an even strength goal at the 11:44 mark of the first period to tie things up for the Mudbugs. Brett Smith and Blair Manning provided the helpers on the goal which should be of no surprise to the Steelhounds. Smith (4 goals, 1 assist) and Manning (5 assists) share the team lead in scoring against Youngstown with five points each.

TIME - 7:29 PM

THANK YOU FOR PROVING MY POINT MR. CHRISTIAN

Jeff Christian scores his 26th goal of the season on a power play goal off of assists by Chris Richards, and Jeff Alcombrack. Ryan Manitowich was guilty of the hooking infraction that led to the power play. Youngstown takes the 1-0 lead with 17:10 left to play in the first period.

TIME - 7:20 PM

LINE CHANGES FOR THE MUDBUGS

Coach Scott Muscutt has changed his forward lines a bit for tonights game.

Dan Wildfong, Chris Brassard, and Chad Spurr started the game.
Milan Vodrazka, Shane Palahicky, and Jason Campell were the second line.
Ryan Manitowich, Brett Smith, and Blair Manning made up the third line.

One more little tidbit of trivia for tonight's game. The Mudbugs are 8-0-0 in their first game of the calendar year in their first eight seasons. Hopefully that streak will continue.

TIME - 7:15 PM

PREVIEW OF TONIGHT'S GAME

Roy Lang is celebrating the holiday season back in Chicago this weekend so you will be stuck with me for the game tonight. The Mudbugs are 1-2-1 since I have been blogging for Roy so I am hoping we can pull even in the win column tonight.

Tonight’s game marks the third meeting of the year between the Youngstown Steelhounds and the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs. The Mudbugs have gotten three points out of the previous two games winning the first game 4-3 on 10/22 and losing 7-6 in a shootout on 11/22.

Kudos go out to four members of the Mudbugs as forward Scott Sheppard, defenseman Dale Lupul, and goaltender Ken Carroll were all named to the 2006 CHL Northern Conference All-Star team earlier today. This marks the first appearance by both Sheppard (currently assigned to the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League) and Lupul. For Carroll, this marks his third consecutive All Star game appearance. The fourth member of the Mudbugs making the trip to Hidalgo, Texas is broadcaster Steve Mears. I believe that all of us in Mudbug Nation and those who have listened to Steve in games televised on CHL TV agree that the honor is much deserved for the voice of the Mudbugs. Congratulations gentlemen, make sure that you bring me back a hat.

It is the All Star for the Youngstown Steelhounds that the Mudbugs will need to keep an eye on tonight. Forward Jeff Christian is second in the CHL in goals with 25, second in the league in power play goals with 11, second in the league in game winning goals with 6, holds the CHL best scoring streak at 6 games with a goal, and holds the CHL game high with 4 goals scored in a November 4 contest against Oklahoma where he scored all of the teams goals in a 4-3 win.

Back on the ice tonight is defensemen Chris Shaw (activated from the 45 day IR) and Dale Lupul who has missed the last three games. This should be welcome relief for the Mudbug blue liners (Chad Kemp, Jason Basile, Quade Lightbody, and Jeremy Downs) who have been logging ridiculous minutes in the pair’s absence. The thoughts and prayers of the Mudbug nation are heavy tonight as this marks the first game played since the passing of defenseman Craig Minard's father. God speed Mr. Minard.

The key to the game may lie between the pipes as David St. Germain is in goal for the Steelhounds and has a 3.90 Goals against average with and .892 save percentage. In goal for the Mudbugs is Ken Carroll who relieved Paul Schonfelder on 10/22 and stopped 14 shots while allowing one goal to pick up his first win of the year.

Look for the first goal of the night. The Mudbugs are 10-3-1 when scoring first in their contests while the Steelhounds are 4-10-0 when they allow their opponent to score first.

TIME - 7:00 PM

12/31 BUGS at LUBBOCK (L 5-1)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

12/30 BUGS at OKLAHOMA CITY (W, 3-2 in overtime)