SHREVEPORT, La (KMSS/KTAL) – Much has been made about the Mudbugs improbable return to the postseason. After a 3-13 start, the Bugs could have folded. Instead, a miraculous finish snuck Shreveport into the postseason.
Their reward? Facing off against their most hated rival, the Lone Star Brahmas, in the first round of the NAHL Playoffs.
“We’ve played some pretty great games in the regular season and the playoffs against Lone Star. I think it’s good for the teams, the communities. I think it’s good for the league,” said Mudbugs Head Coach Jason “Soupy” Campbell.
The most memorable game played between the two? Game 5 of their post-season series in 2019. The Mudbugs won the longest game in franchise history, a three overtime thriller, 3-2, to advance to the South Division Final. That particular game is a microcosm of this rivalry: intense, exhausting, and exciting.
“We were fortunate enough to come out with a victory in that game,” said Coach Campbell. “You’ve got two teams battling tooth and nail for every inch and a lot of times its just one bounce that goes the right way and one team prevails and one team doesn’t.”
Expect more of the same this weekend. Shreveport holds a 5-3 record against Lone Star this season, but there’s a noted difference between their style of victory and the Brahmas.
“When you look at it, they beat us 9-2 one game, they beat us 5-2 another game,” said Coach Campbell. “The games we won, they were only by one goal, with a couple shoot-outs in there.”
Starting off the postseason against the top seed also means the margin for error becomes even slimmer.
“Every goal, every play that happens, could be a gamechanger,” said Coach Campbell. “Or ultimately a series changer or season ending play.”
With five postseason appearances in the NAHL and two championship banners, what makes this team believe they can add a third?
“In the playoffs, it’s like that do or die mentality,” said Alternate Captain Austin Brimmer, who scored his 20th goal in the Mudbugs’ season finale on Saturday. “We’ve been playing like that for months now, so I think we’re confident going into this weekend.”
Puck drop for game one of a best-of-five series against Lone Star is set for 7:30 at the NYTEX Sports Centre.