SHREVEPORT, La. – Joey Delgreco and Hunter Jones continued their scoring ways for the Warriors in Shreveport, but a Mudbugs comeback Saturday sent the team back to Oklahoma with a 1-1 weekend record.
- Delgreco’s two-point night Friday places the Grand Rapids, Minnesota native first in rookie scoring with 8 points in 7 games played this season.
- Garrett Horsager scored two powerplay goals in just 3:53 to give Oklahoma a 2-1 lead early in the third period Saturday.
Warriors Spoil Mudbugs Comeback With 3-2 Overtime Win
Friday’s first period included physical play on both sides of the ice and a minor penalty to each team. Shreveport’s Logan Heroux took a roughing penalty halfway through the frame but before the Warriors powerplay could strike, a slashing call on Hunter Jones would even things out for 24 seconds. The penalty kill squad went to work shutting down the Mudbugs, and neither club would find the back of the net by the end of the first. Shots on goal slightly favored the Warriors, 5-4, after the “feeling-out” first period.
Oklahoma peppered the net in the second period, recording 14 shots, and lit the lamp twice. The gritty play continued for both sides and offsetting slashing and roughing penalties presented 4-on-4-play that would prove beneficial to the visiting Warriors. Past the midway point of regulation and still 4-on-4, Delgreco and Therien Thiesing cycled the puck along the near-side wall in the zone for Max Dronen. Dronen, dodging traffic, then skated from the wall to the high slot and fired home his third goal of the season to make it 1-0 Warriors at the 10:35 mark. Fifty-two seconds later the Warriors would take a 2-0 lead. Delgreco sent a puck across the neutral zone to Jones, who gained a step past the Mudbugs defense on the near side. Jones then soared a shot on goal from the hashmarks and Delgreco poked in the rebound on the far side of the net to score at 11:27. Shreveport would answer before the end of the period though, souring the good feeling of two quick Warriors goals. Logan Gotinsky found himself on a breakaway and was able to cut the Oklahoma lead in half with 4:08 remaining. Shots after 40 minutes of play favored the Warriors 19-12 and they took a 2-1 lead into the third period.
Physical play would continue into the third but anxious fans in Shreveport would have to wait almost as long as they possibly could for the Mudbugs to force overtime. An Oklahoma penalty with 1:40 remaining allowed the Mudbugs to get an extra attacker out and skate 6-on-4 in the dying minutes. A final push toward the net would pay off for the Mudbugs as Eric Vitale seemingly managed to beat the buzzer, shoving in a loose puck to tie the game 2-2. After some delay in the arena, 0.5 seconds were put on the clock and it had been settled; the goal was scored before the buzzer, and the game would require overtime.
The Warriors controlled the puck for the majority of the extra-time period and recorded the only two shots that mattered. Shreveport sent an errant pass to the slot in their offensive zone and Rylan Brady stole possession for Oklahoma. Brady sprung Drew Sutton on a breakaway and though the Mudbugs tried, they couldn’t catch up to him. Sutton’s release from the hash marks created a big rebound out the other side and Brady rifled in the free puck, spoiling the Shreveport comeback attempt getting the Warriors back into the win column.
Mudbugs Hold on in Six-Goal Third Period, Beat Warriors 4-3
While Friday’s game did not see the opening goal until after the halfway point, it only took 43 seconds before the Mudbugs found the back of the net to go up 1-0 Saturday. Shreveport sent a point shot toward the net off a faceoff and buried the rebound for the first goal of the game. The goaltenders were put to work through the end of the second period and though the shots were 22-20 after 40 minutes of play, scoring would not resume until early in the third.
The Warriors began the third period with over 1:40 of a carryover powerplay and made the most of the man advantage. From the blueline, Horsager gave the puck to Delgreco who set him up with a return pass from the top of the near-side circle. Then as Rylan Brady slid through the slot to take away the Shreveport netminder’s sight Horsager sent a blast into the back of the net to score his first of the season and tie the game 1-1. Shreveport went right back to the penalty box, not even four minutes after allowing the first goal of the period, and the Warriors tacked on a second powerplay goal. Drew Sutton sent the puck from behind the net up to the far-side circle for Max Dronen. Dronen faked a shot and passed to Horsager, who walked from the point to the high slot and scored his second goal of the period at the 5:30 mark. Just 3:53 separated the two Warriors goals but the Mudbugs supplied a quick response. Forty-five seconds after falling down 2-1, Shreveport’s Garrett Steele scored a powerplay goal to tie the game at 2s. Exactly three minutes later the Mudbugs took their second lead of the game, going up 3-2. Oklahoma answered again under two and a half minutes later as Jones made it a 3-3 game from William Lawson-Body and Brady, but the Mudbugs got the final goal of the game with 6:28 on the clock, and split the weekend series and end their losing streak at six. Jones’ goal was his fifth of the season, and his 12th point, which ties him for third among scorers in the North American Hockey League.
The Warriors will be back in action October 21 and 22 when they play a set in Corpus Christi.