Saturday, 01.28.2017 / 10:32 pm CT
By Alex von Keudell / Photo: Tracey Koby
Looking to complete a road sweep over the Shreveport Mudbugs, the Wildcats endured a nail-biting affair full of momentum shifts to earn a 4-3 shootout victory on Saturday night.
Coming off a disappointing defeat on home ice, the Bugs dictated the first few minutes of Saturday night’s game. Evan Moyse was forced to come up with a handful of point-blank saves to keep Shreveport off the board.
Dylan Lubbesmeyer earned the start for game two after stopping 15/16 in relief on Friday night. He appeared solid early, but unrelenting perseverance by Kevin Fees led to the Wildcats opening the scoring.
At 5:49, Fees out-muscled Shreveport’s defenders at the right side of the net. The puck found its way onto Nick Rosa’s stick square between the circles, and the Wildcats Co-Captain ripped a shot just inside the left post. Players initially weren’t sure if the puck completely crossed the goal-line, but the goal judge confirmed Rosa had score. The early tally would be Rosa’s third of the season.
About eight minutes into the middle period, Georgui Feduolov cross-checked Isaac Kobienia at center ice. After laying for several minutes, Kobienia was escorted down the tunnel to be evaluated, while Feduolov was ejected from the game. The Cats would be given a five-minute power play from the incident.
Ryan Orgel ripped a one-timer from the high slot, which CJ Walker deflected past Lubbesmeyer for his second goal in as many nights to double the Cats’ lead. Just 26 seconds later, Karim Del Ponte fired a wrist shot through a screen from 50 feet out. It found its way through the traffic and past Lubbesmeyer to give the Cats a 3-0 lead.
Despite going to a 5-on-3 shortly thereafter, the Cats were kept off of the scoreboard for the remainder of the extended power play. The Mudbugs finally converted on their own man-advantage, as Frankie Melton sliced through the Wildcats’ defense and snuck a shot inside the elbow of the net.
From the time Melton brought the Bugs to within two goals, they swarmed the Wildcats in their own zone for the remainder of the period. They came close to adding another, but Moyse shut the door to keep his team up by two heading into the second intermission.
The Mudbugs carried their momentum into the third period. Melton found himself on another breakaway, and fired a shot over Moyse’s blocker to draw the Bugs to within a goal. Less than three minutes later, the puck took a strange bounce off Brendan Van Sweden’s shoulder and into the net to tie the game.
Moyse kept Shreveport at bay for the rest of the night. He and the Wildcats penalty kill fought off a long high-sticking infraction served by Rosa at the end of regulation. They also endured a nearly full 4-on-3 power play in overtime to force a shootout.
Heading to just their second shootout of the season, the Wildcats had multiple shooters denied. Goaltenders Moyse and Lubbesmeyer were both perfect through the first four rounds. Finally, Ryan Orgel blasted a slap shot from between the circles over the glove of Lubbesmeyer to give the Cats the advantage. Moyse then slammed the door on Croix Evingson to secure the sweep.
Moyse earned his 13th victory of the season, stopping 43 of Shreveport’s 46 shots. Lubbesmeyer was handed his second overtime defeat, going 34/37 in net. The Wildcats return to Wichita Falls next weekend to host the Lone Star Brahmas on Friday, February 3rd.