SHREVEPORT, LA – The Wichita Falls Warriors (6-6-1-2) would make their first trip to George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum to take on the Shreveport Mudbugs (12-2-1-1) for the first time since early November.
Early in the first period the Mudbugs would waste no time getting their home crowd into their first home game since December 19th. Giovanni Procopio (5) would wrap the puck around the net and jam home the rebound just 2:29 into the first period to give the Mudbugs a quick 1-0 lead. After the goal the Warriors would respond with pressure and would hold the puck inside their own offensive zone for minutes on end with the Mudbugs failing to clear the puck out of the zone. At the end of one of the Warriors long possessions Mudbugs goaltender Cole Hudson would lose his stick and the Warriors took advantage finding Cole Teleki (1) who would blast a one-timer into the back of the net for his first career North American Hockey League goal tying the game at 1-1 midway through the first. Both teams would trade chances back and forth down the last few minutes of the opening frame. The Mudbugs would have two quality scoring chances in close in the final minutes but Warriors goaltender Owen Bartoszkiewicz would make two big saves on the right post to keep the game tied 1-1 heading into the second period.
In the second period the Mudbugs would start to take control of the game. Shreveport would score its second of the night and take a 2-1 lead 4:41 into the period. Then, approaching the midway point of the second period, the Mudbugs would strike again on a play where Warriors defenseman Cole Teleki who had scored the Warriors goal in the first period would get up-ended from behind and land awkwardly on the ice. Teleki would leave the game and would not return. The Mudbugs took a 3-1 lead. Trouble would continue for the Warriors on defense as defenseman Owen Baumgartner would be hit into the boards in the corner and he would also have to leave the game and would not return. The Warriors found themselves down two defensemen and trailing 3-1 on the road going into the third period.
The Warriors would open the third period with back to back power plays in the first five minutes of the final frame of regulation, but would be unable to find a way to get one past Hudson. The chances were there but Hudson kept the door shut as the Mudbugs tightened up defensively and were just chipping pucks off the glass and out of the zone. The Warriors would get one last chance in the final minutes of the period when the Mudbugs took a penalty and Warriors Head Coach Garrett Roth pulled Bartoszkiewicz for the extra skater bringing on a 6-on-4 advantage with only 2:20 remaining and the Warriors trailing by two goals. However, since the Warriors were on the power play, the Mudbugs did not have to worry about icing the puck and could send it all the way down towards the empty net as much as they so pleased. This kept the Warriors from finding a rhythm in the offensive zone and chances on Hudson in net. The Warriors would go 0-4 on the man advantage in the game and would be outshot 48-34 in a 3-1 defeat on the road.
Cole Hudson (9-1-1-1) would record the win for Shreveport. He recorded 33 saves on 34 shots faced. Owen Bartoszkiewicz (5-3-1-1) would record the loss for Wichita Falls. He recorded 45 saves on 48 shots faced.
Next up, the Warriors look to split the weekend series with the Mudbugs and head home with two points as they face off with Shreveport on Saturday, January 9th from George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. Puck drop is set for 7:11 pm.