Bugs catch fire in 3rd, rout Topeka for 6th straight win
Jack Jaunich parlayed a steal deep in Topeka’s zone into a tiebreaking goal midway through the third period on George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum on Saturday.
The tally sparked a five-goal third-period onslaught as the Shreveport Mudbugs dismantled the Topeka RoadRunners late to claim a 7-2 victory – the team’s sixth straight.
“There was a little bit of magic there,” Mudbugs head coach Karlis Zirnis said. “Jack is a skilled player and we’re happy with his progress.”
Shreveport (22-11-1) set a team record for goals in a game at The George and tied the overall mark set at Amarillo on Nov. 19. Topeka (11-24-3) suffered its 10th-straight defeat.
The first 48 minutes of action featured a mountain of penalties, but little flow. However, the Mudbugs caught fire thanks to the work of its 18-year-old winger from White Bear Lake, Minnesota.
“Our team was battling back. The bounce came to my stick and I tried to get through the middle, got a shot off and kind of got lucky,” Jaunich said following his third goal of the season.
The Mudbugs then posted four more goals from four different players (Brendon Gysbers, Frankie Melton, Kieran Durgan, Steven Mather) during a span of 4:14 late in the game. Seven different players scored for Shreveport on Saturday.
“It was good to bury them in the third period, because we have to move on and be ready for the Brahmas on Monday,” Jaunich said.
Saturday’s victory completed a tripleheader sweep of the RoadRunners this weekend and pulled the Mudbugs within one point of Wichita Falls in the South Division. Shreveport will have Sunday off before traveling to North Richland Hills, Texas, for a Monday afternoon date with the Lone Star Brahmas, the South Division leaders by 11 points.
“It’s a big game because the following week we don’t play,” Zirnis said of the trip down I-20.
Topeka and Shreveport combined to waste six power-play opportunities in the opening 20 minutes. The Mudbugs squandered a 4-minute man-advantage in the opening minutes and the RoadRunners failed to score on a lengthy 5-on-3.
The Mudbugs got on the board in the second period with a Cameron Cook goal, and doubled their advantage when Giovanni Carabelli scored midway through the frame.
“I thought the whole line with (Jack) Holmers and Cook and Jaunich has been good all weekend long,” Zirnis said. “Tonight, it was Jack’s turn.”
Despite the lengthy losing streak Topeka battled to tie the game. A goal during a two-man advantage late in the second preceded a tally 31 seconds into the final period
However, when Jaunich created a turnover and beat Ben Churchfield between the legs the rout was on.
John Roberts made 38 saves between the pipes to collect the win for Shreveport.