Mudbugs pick up first-ever NAHL victory
By Roy Lang III (Shreveport Times)
The Shreveport Mudbugs made an emphatic debut in the North American Hockey League on Wednesday morning in Blaine, Minnesota. Jacob Holmers scored 2:56 into the 2016-17 season — after more than five years, plastic crustaceans again hit the ice in celebration — and the Mudbugs applied pressure throughout a 3-1 victory against the Northeast Generals at the NAHL Showcase.
Head coach Karlis Zirnis couldn’t have asked for a much better start in the Mudbugs’ return to hockey as his team outshot the Generals 44-22.
Holmers’ first-period wrister from the left circle was part of a dominating opening frame for the teal and purple. The Mudbugs outshot the Generals 19-5 in the first period and 14-5 in the second.
“We want to be fast, we want to be aggressive and we want to be physical,” Zirnis said. “Props to the guys. They came out and executed what the coaching staff asked.”
Gueorgui Feduolov scored 57 seconds into the second period to make it 2-0 Shreveport. The Mudbugs took a 3-0 lead midway through the third period on a goal from Eriks Zohovs.
The Generals spoiled a shutout bid by 17-year-old John Roberts when they scored with 1:57 left in the game.
Feduolov and Zohovs garnered a goal and an assist in their Mudbugs debut. Frankie Melton collected a pair of assists.
“It’s a big showcase for these players, there are a lot of scouts and everything else,” Zirnis said. “They just worried about doing their job, their part. They weren’t distracted by the big lights, showed good composure and played Mudbugs hockey.”
Northeast, also a new NAHL franchise for 2016-17, has lost its first three games of the regular season.
Shreveport gets right back on the ice Thursday’s for an 8:15 p.m. matchup against the Janesville Jets. Friday will offer a 4 p.m. faceoff against the Kenai River Brown Bears. The Mudbugs will complete the showcase with a noon contest against the Johnstown Tomahawks on Saturday.
“I will try to get the exposure for all the players,” Zirnis said regarding the showcase. “Johnny played well in net, but we’ll give the next guy a chance.”
Zirnis said the plan is to start 18-year-old Brookline, Massachusetts, product Dario Latessa between the pipes Thursday night.