Thursday, 02.16.2017 / 1:36 pm CT
By Alex von Keudell
The Wildcats will return to Shreveport for the last time this season, seeking to sweep them for the second straight time. Though they’re undefeated in Shreveport, they are in the midst of a four-game losing stretch.
Series of Unfortunate Events
There’s no denying that the Wildcats have not exactly been “lucky” of late. A clear goal Nick Rosa scored two weeks ago against the Brahmas which would have changed the game did not count because the net came off as the goal was scored, and Lone Star would go on to win in regulation. Last Friday, a distinct dislodging of the net by Amarillo’s Nikita Babintsev resulted in Ryan Burnett missing what probably would’ve been the game winning goal. Instead, the Bulls held off an onslaught in overtime in which the Cats outshot them 10-1, did not score, and then lost in a shootout. The following night, Seamus Donohue was given a phantom penalty for “roughing” to partially offset an Amarillo instigating major, where the Cats would strike the inside of the right post twice within a matter of seconds and somehow failed to convert on the five-minute power play. The Bulls would win both nights despite being outshot and outplayed. Adversity and misfortune seem to be piling up on the Cats from every angle right now, and that’s not even to mention the fact they’re now as injury-riddled as they’ve been in years.
Bruised and Battered
It is not uncommon for teams to endure a handful of injuries near the ¾ mark of the regular season. The grind of a 60-game hockey campaign tends to have that effect. However, the Cats have taken that trend to a new extreme. Half of the roster has now sustained some sort of recent wound, and six players will be either questionable or out for this weekend’s series. Jared Dempsey will meet the team in Shreveport this weekend, but he will not be playing again until next week at the earliest. Blake Ripley remains doubtful with an upper-body injury, while CJ Walker, Roman Kinal, and Wyatt Mathews are all questionable with upper-body injuries. Jonathan Waring is also questionable as he tends to a minor lower-body injury. The Cats will have their work cut out for them as they attempt to avoid dropping a fifth straight, which would be their longest losing streak in over three years (January 24, 2014).
The Wildcats’ offense exploded the last time they visited Shreveport, scoring eight regulation goals to sweep the Mudbugs in a two-game set. Evan Moyse also had a phenomenal series, making 76 of a possible 80 saves and five shootout stops en route to a South Division First Star of the Week selection. He is likely to shoulder the majority of the workload this weekend. On the other hand, the Mudbugs are riding high after snapping the Brahmas’ 14-game winning streak last Friday. There’s also a chance their top dog Erik Zohovs will return from an extended injury. Even if he does not, the Bugs have a good deal on the line this weekend. Second place and a four-game home losing skid hang in the balance. With both teams seeking to snap out of a funk of sorts in their continued fight for second place, we ought to be in for another captivating series.