Mudbugs head to New Mexico with memories of COVID shutdown fresh in their minds

Local Sports

SHREVEPORT, La (KMSS/KTAL) – After a series sweep earned the Shreveport Mudbugs their eighth consecutive win, the team will travel to Albuquerque to face the New Mexico Ice Wolves. The last time they did so, they never took the ice as the COVID-19 pandemic ended their season. Head Coach Jason “Soupy” Campbell said it was a long drive to visit one of America’s favorite breakfast stops.

“If we had known there was a local Denny’s we would have just eaten there instead of go all the way to New Mexico to eat at the one there but that’s what happened,” as the ‘Bugs left the diner, they would never play as a team again. “Before we put our gear on for practice we found out that we were just to put our stuff back on the bus and come back home.”

In their first season after the shutdown, the team is playing some of their best hockey in franchise history. A major reason has been the team’s offensive play over the past month, including a three-goal effort in Saturday’s victory against the Jackalopes from Matt Vermaeten. For his play, he was named the NAHL’s South Division Player of the Week.

“Sometimes you get the bounces sometimes you don’t…my linemates made a great couple of plays. I got fortunate and scored a hat trick. It’s a great feeling, especially in front of the home crowd.”

Veteran Mudbug Captain David Breazeale became the fifth member of this year’s squad to sign on to play collegiate hockey, committing to Lindenwood University. His coach says it’s a well-deserved accomplishment in the Michigan native’s hockey career.

“He’s really focused and he’s really been very coachable and he’s done everything we asked him to do in the community as captain.”

As the Bugs head to New Mexico one win shy of tying their longest winning streak ever, Forward Garrett Steele says the team is only worried about one team as the playoffs near.

“We’re most worried about the Shreveport Mudbugs, I mean as long as we’re playing, the way we need to play then no other team can beat us.”

The three-game series between the Mudbugs and Ice Wolves begins Friday night at 8:30, Saturday night’s contest will begin at 7:30, with the series wrapping up Sunday afternoon at 2:30. Shreveport holds a six-point lead over Lone Star for the South Division lead.

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