Friday, 02.17.2017 / 10:12 pm CT
By Alex von Keudell
Returning to Shreveport hoping to snap a four-game losing skid, the Wildcats fell flat in a 4-0 decision against the Mudbugs. Dropping their fifth straight, the Cats are now on their longest losing streak in over three years.
Frankie Melton registered his NAHL-leading 29th goal of the season just 3:41 into the game, finding himself with an opening near the bottom of the right circle. He managed to skate in close enough to release a point-blank shot, and he roofed a shot over Evan Moyse’s glove to open the scoring.
Just 22 seconds later, Melton gave Kieran Durgan a crisp pass behind the Wildcats defensemen. Durgan sliced his way to the net and backhanded a shot by Moyse’s blocker to double the Mudbugs’ lead.
Shreveport out-battled the Cats for the majority of the opening period. Wichita Falls’ best opportunity came off a shot by Ilya Skvortsov in tight, which Dylan Lubbesmeyer barely denied with his outstretched left pad on the goal line.
Things started promising at the start of period two, but Lubbesmeyer and the Bugs held off the Cats’ early onslaught. Shreveport’s power play, the top-ranked in the NAHL, cashed in on its first opportunity.
Aleksi Poikola caused Croix Evingson to turn the puck over twice in his own zone, nearly resulting in a Wildcats shorthanded goal. Instead, Evingson recovered and redeemed himself by launching a beautiful breakout pass onto Durgan’s tape. The Mudbugs’ Alternate Captain slipped the puck between Moyse’s legs on a breakaway for his second goal of the game.
Just 17 seconds later, Shreveport Captain Steven Mather sniped a shot inside the right post from the left circle to quadruple the Mudbugs’ lead, prompting a change in net for the Wildcats. George McBey relieved Moyse 26:42 into the game.
Lubbesmeyer locked things down in the closing period, and the Cats failed to solve him no matter how many shots they fired his way. The Mudbugs would win their first-ever home game against the Wildcats by a 4-0 final.
Lubbesmeyer earned his 13th victory of the season and his first shutout as a Mudbug, stopping all 24 shots he faced. Moyse was charged with his 9th regulation defeat, denying 14/18. McBey was a perfect 9/9 in relief. The Wildcats will play their season’s final game at George’s Pond Arena tomorrow night. Puck drops at 7:11 pm CT.