Shreveport Mudbugs (31-14-2-5, 69pts) vs. Odessa Jackalopes (25-23-1-2, 53pts)
Location: Ector County Coliseum in Odessa, TX
Time: Friday 7:15 p.m. CDT | Saturday 7:15 p.m. CDT
Broadcast: (Home) HockeyTV | Listen Live Here
What You Need to Know:
All-Time Record: 23-34-4-3
Season Series: 4-1-1
SHV: 38pts, Morse (15G, 23A)
ODA: 48pts, Mansfield (16G, 32A)
Both teams have a handful of players that have touched the ice in every game this season. For the Mudbugs their ironmen are Garrett Steele, Jaden Goldie, and Matthew Danziger. Last season, Shreveport did not have any player lace up his skates for the entire season. As for Odessa, their ironmen are Ryan Mansfield, Emerson Goode, Tanyon Bajzer, and William Marshall. Last year, the only Jackalope to play in all 60 games in a Jacks jersey was Ryan Kusler.
The Mudbugs are currently on an eight-game point streak (7-0-0-1) which is the longest active streak in the NAHL. The last time the Mudbugs lost was Feb. 25th against the Lone Star Brahmas. Also, since that game, the Mudbugs schedule only has them playing two games against a current playoff team which will be against Oklahoma from Mar. 31-Apr. 1. As for Odessa, this weekend will start a stretch of seven-straight games against a playoff team. The final two are against the New Mexico Ice Wolves, whom they are trying to chase down for the final playoff spot. Shreveport still has a lot to play for as they are in third place and only two points behind Lone Star. They are also only six points ahead of New Mexico.
Shreveport has been rolling with Simon Bucheler for most of the season. He is the third-ranked goalie in goals-against-average at 1.88 and he ranks fourth in save percentage at 0.924%. He currently leads all NAHL goalies in wins with 24 in 35 games played. The Mercyhurst University commit is T-2nd in shutouts with five. Bucheler has been awarded NAHL Goaltender of the Month twice this season as well as South Division Star of the Week. Odessa has gone with the senior goalie, Greg Orosz, for a large portion of this campaign. The University of Alaska-Anchorage commit is T-8th in the league for wins with 20. His save percentage of 0.918% ties him for 15th among all NAHL goalies. Orosz has also been named South Division Star of the Week twice this season. He is fifth in saves with 1,177 and leads the league in shootout wins with six.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Mudbugs (F: #29 – Jake Mack)
The New Hudson, MI native is in his final year of junior eligibility. The 6’3”/195lb. right-handed forward started his NAHL career in 2020-21 playing 16 games (3G, 2A) with the Mudbugs. Last season, Mack finished eighth on the team in scoring with 21 points (11G, 10A). The 21-year-old is currently fourth on the team in points with 31 (13G, 18A). He leads the team in shooting percentage at 18.3%. Mack is currently on a career-long point streak at six games (2G, 5A). He has played in five games against Odessa this season and has registered four points (3G, 1A).
Jackalopes (F: #11 – Ryan Mansfield)
The 20-year-old is in his final season of junior hockey. The Burlington, ON native currently leads the team in points with 48 and assists with 32. The Jackalopes captain is T-1st in power-play assists with seven. He is also only one of two Jackalopes players with a short-handed this year. The 5’11”/195lb. left-handed forward has six points in his last six games (1G, 5A). Last season, Mansfield finished his rookie year fourth on the team in points with 32 (12G, 30A). Mansfield represented Team South at the 2023 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament and finished with four assists in two games. He has played in all six games against the Mudbugs and has a total of five points (1G, 4A).
Photo credit: Danne Braden