Thursday, April 06, 2006

4/6 Wichita vs. Mudbugs, Game 3

Mudbugs coasting to win
With less than four minutes left, the Mudbugs maintain their 3-0 lead over Wichita.
Time: 9:32 p.m.

Low showing
An announced crowd of 4,085 showed up for Game 3. Is it me or is that a little low for the first home playoff game of the season? Especially since it's spring break and kids are home from school. Just a thought.
Time: 9:20 p.m.

Two down, one to go
The Mudbugs continue to outwork Wichita which has looked lost in its defensive zone surrending the two goals to Sheppard and Manitowich. The Mudbugs need to stay out of the penalty box to even give Wichita an opportunity like that, even though the Thunder are 0-for-9 on the power play.
Time: 8:59 p.m.

Second period underway
Laplante just made a great save in the early stages of the second, robbing Dan Wildfong. Laplante flashed his glove hand up to stop Wildfong's shot which was heading for the top corner.
And Cacciola answers with a great save of his own, doing the splits and stabbing his left leg out to stop a Wichita player streaking toward the net.
Time: 8:11 p.m.

One is done
The Mudbugs won the first period and not just because of Brassard's goal. The Thunder need to find some life to their game and stop committing stupid penalties. The Mudbugs have outworked the Thunder and done a marvelous job on the penalty kill. Wichita had five power plays in the period, and you'd think they could cash at least one in. Guess not.
Time: 7:51 p.m.

Key point here
The Mudbugs are down 4-on-3 after penalties to Scott Sheppard and Dan Wildfong. Let's see if the Thunder can take advantage...Nope. Excellent job by the Mudbugs penalty killers. The Thunder had one legit shot and couldn't convert. The Mudbugs kept the Thunder out on the perimeter out of harm's way.
Time: 7:41 p.m.

Wichita looking slow
The Mudbugs are all over Wichita on their latest power play. The Thunder have eight shots on goal and that's surprising. They have no offense in the early going and look very out of sync.
Laplante is getting a workload.
And now, Wichita is going off with another penalty...
Time: 7:36 p.m.

Mudbugs strike quick
Chris Brassard fires a laser from the right circle beating Wichita netminder Sebastien Laplante early in the game and the Mudbugs are up 1-0.
This game is getting chippy as Blair Manning just drew a major penalty for boarding, driving a Wichita player into the boards from behind on a dangerous looking play.
The Thunder aren't taking advantage of the situation though and the Mudbugs are adding to their problems.
There goes Brent Smith for two minutes for elbowing...
Time: 7:23 p.m.

Bringing the heat
The Mudbugs are putting early pressure on the Thunder, which is having a tough time clearing their own zone. You'd think the early pressure would pay off big with a goal or two early, but this is the playoffs and stranger things have happened.
Time: 7:06 p.m.

Keys to the game
We're minutes away from faceoff and so far it's a sparse crowd at the CenturyTel Center. Unless the fans are waiting out in the parking lot to make a mad dash for the doors, this crowd could be around 3,000, which is stunning for the faithful Mudbugs fans.

Anyway, the biggest key for tonight's game will be if the team's top lines can finally crack through and put some points on the board. Neither team's top line has produced much through the first two games.

Wichita's Travis Clayton, Joe Blaznek and Jason Duda have three points between them. The Mudbugs top line of Blair Manning, Scott Sheppard and Brett Smith have a goal back in Game 1 - thanks to Smith.

Also, look for this to be another goaltender battle. Defenses usually step it up in the postseason and that's been the case between the teams.
Time: 6:40 p.m.


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