The Brahmas road game woes continued tonight in another I-20 showdown with the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs. In front of a sparse Tuesday night crowd at the CenturyTel Center, the Mudbugs took control of the game in the second period, opening with two goals in 37 seconds and never gave up the lead thereafter.
With the loss, the Brahmas record goes to 20-15-5, good enough to retain sole possession of third place in the Southern Conference for at least two more days until they meet the Laredo Bucks on Friday. With Mississippi's loss today, the Mudbugs retain sole possession of third place in the North at least until Thursday.
The Brahmas took the momentum off the score, out shooting the Mudbugs 17-10 in the period (at one time 13-5), but were unable to beat DeCaro again. They managed to kill off three consecutive power plays and the first frame ended with the Brahmas up 1-0.
The second period was (almost) all Mudbugs with two scores in 37 seconds (their first two shots) to start off the period and three unanswered in 20 minutes.
The first score came on special teams with David Pszenyczny in the box for Tripping at the :45 mark. Joe Blaznek scored an unassisted tally 89 seconds later after stealing the puck at the blue line. Skating up between the circles, Blaznek paused momentarily, putting the fake on Jaeger and then sent it in on the stick side for the equalizer at the 2:14 mark.
Seconds after Pszenyczny left the box, Brett Smith took possession of the puck on the right wing side and found Joe Ori at the back door. Ori was able to feed the the puck to defenseman Simon Mangos who backhanded his shot past Jaeger for the 2-1 lead at the 2:51 mark.
The Mudbugs kept the pressure up, outshooting the Brahmas 6-1 through the first half of the middle frame and then finally notching their third straight score at the 11:46 mark. David Rutherford took a feed from Justin Aikins and made his way around a Brahmas defender, who may have partially screened Jaeger as Rutherford sent in his shot top shelf on the stick side to make it 3-1 Mudbugs. Mark Johnson was also credited with the assist.
The Brahmas were down, but not out and Jordan Cameron put the bulls back on the board less than a minute later after receiving a beautiful pass from Tyler Skworchinski who was stationed behind the Mudbugs net. Skworchinski looked like he might go for a wrap around when he fed Cameron and DeCaro was unable to stop the shot and just like that, the Brahmas were back within a goal at the 12:41 mark.
The Mudbugs out shot the Brahmas 12-7 in the second period and outside of those two goals early on, Jaeger was very sharp, stopping several solid opportunities. After 40 minutes the Brahmas had a 24-22 shot lead but were down 3-2 heading into the second intermission.
The Brahmas battled throughout the final period but were unable to score. With 1:16 remaining and Brett Jaeger pulled in favor of the extra attacker, the Mudbugs scored on the empty net almost immediately. Joe Blaznek, assisted by Brett Smith and Joe Ori, took the puck up the ice and gently placed the puck across the goal line to seal the win with 1:04 remaining in the game.
Brett Jaeger made 24 saves on 27 shots and takes the loss. His record goes to 9-10-1-1. John DeCaro made 28 saves on 30 shots and earns the win. His record goes to 12-8-1.
The Brahmas went zero for three on the power play. Bossier-Shreveport went zero for five. The Brahmas were assessed 10 minutes on five infractions; the Mudbugs received six minutes on three infractions.
The 3rd Star of the game went to Jason Deitsch who had one goal tonight. The 2nd Star was awarded to Joe Blaznek who had two goals and the 1st Star went to David Rutherford, who scored the game-winning goal.
You can view the box score here
The Brahmas continue their road trip on Friday when they visit the Laredo Bucks and on Saturday, they continue on to Hidalgo to take on the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees.
Photo Credit: Mike McClure