Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Insider Preview – Texas Brahmas vs. Bossier Shreveport Mudbugs

Game four of the I-20 Series at NYTEX tonight

The Texas Brahmas (15-10-4, 34 points) host the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs (15-11-1, 31 points) tonight at the NYTEX Sports Centre. This will be the fourth of eight games scheduled between the two clubs this season. The Brahmas lead this season’s series 2-1 with wins on the road on October 30th (6-4) and at home on December 5th (4-2).

The Mudbugs are coming off Sunday night's 4-3 shootout loss on the road to the Allen Americans.

The Mudbugs have continued to struggle with injuries and inconsistent play at all positions so far this season but they always play hard against the Brahmas. One of their notable problems is on the penalty kill. The two teams are very well matched and it should be a good game tonight.

The Mudbugs are 9-4-1 on the road thus far this season. The Brahmas are 9-4-0 at home.

The Mudbugs' top three scorers include Joe Blaznek (F) with 24 points (11 G, 13 A, -4), Travis Clayton (F) with 22 points (9 G, 13 A, +6) and Brett Smith (C) with 20 points (7 G, 13 A, -1). Blaznek is their leading road warrior with 16 points (6 G, 10 A, +1). Their leading defensive scorer is Simon Mangos with 17 points (3 G, 14 A, +3).

Their top goons are forward Neil Clark (36 PIM) and defenseman David Pszenyczny (35 PIM).

On special teams, the Mudbugs have the number seven power play with a 16.33 percentage (ninth on the road at 14.50%) and the number 13 penalty kill with an 81.05percentage (eighth on the road at 83.8%). They have scored three short-handed goals this season.

Goaltender duty has been split between Ken Carroll (6-5-0-1) and John DeCaro. (9-6-1-0). Carroll is ranked fourth in the league with a 2.41 GAA and second with a .927 save percentage. DeCaro is ranked 12th with a 3.02 GAA and 14th with a .902 save percentage. Carroll is expected to start tonight.

The Brahmas top three scorers are Jordan Cameron (F) with 30 points (8 G, 22 A, +4), Grant Jacobsen (F) with 20 points (12 G, 8 A, +1) and Kevin McLeod (D) with 19 points (10 G, 9 A, 0). Cameron leads the home guard with 15 points (3 G, 12 A, +3). McLeod is the Brahmas' leading defensive scorer.

On special teams, the Brahmas remain are ranked 13th in the league with an 11.73 percentage (12th at home at 11.10%) and eighth on the penalty kill with an 83.96 percentage (12th at home at 81.90%). They are second in the league in short handed goals with eight.

Joe Palmer (8-3-3-2) had the last two starts and is ranked third in the league with a 2.37 GAA and fourth with a .920 save percentage. He is expected to get the start tonight. Brett Jaeger (7-7-1-0) is ranked 14th in the league with a 3.05 GAA and 18th with a .892 save percentage.

The Mudbugs have struggled with injuries all season and have three players currently on injured reserve including defenseman Dale Lupul and forwards Joe Zappala and Tyler Liebel.

For the Brahmas, forward Lee Jubinville and defensemen Justin Kinnunen, Kevin McLeod and Tyrell Mason (30days) are all out on injured reserve.

Defenseman Kevin Seibel signed a contract today and is expected to see some shifts tonight.

The game begins at 7:05pm and will be broadcast on CHL-TV if you can't be there.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

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