The Shreveport Mudbugs (4-5-2) faltered late in the contest dropping a 5-3 decision to the Corpus Christi Ice Rays Friday night at the American Bank Center.
The Bugs got off to a fast start as Tim Khokhlachev jabbed in his second goal of the season in front after a great feed in front from Jacob Onstott and the Bugs led 1-0 6:43 into the opening period. Shreveport would get another at 7:52 when Austin Brimmer redirected in his third tally of the year to make it a quick 2-0 edge for the defending champs. Tyler Behl in his Bugs debut and Davis Goukler earned the helpers. Surprisingly, Corpus Christi led in SOG, 9-4 after one.
The Ice Rays cut the deficit in half late in the 2nd period on a broken play as Nathan Butler got on a breakaway and flipped in his fourth goal of the season short side to make it a 2-1 contest at 12:15. The Bugs really lost the momentum after that goal and it took a gigantic glove save from Simon Bucheler to rob Anthony Contreras to preserve the lead. The Ice Rays led in SOG, 14-11 after two periods.
Corpus Christi tied the game just 1:57 into the 3rd period when Stepan Kuznetsov fired home his third goal of the season from the RW circle to make it a 2-2 contest. The Bugs regained the lead at 7:12 when Logan Valkama rifled home his first tally of the season through the slot top shelf to give Shreveport a 3-2 edge. Jonah Copre earned the only assist on Valkama’s goal. Then it fell apart after that for the defending champs as they couldn’t stay out of the box and it burned them on a 5-3 disadvantage. It was Oliver Stumpel slugging in his sixth goal of the season from the RW to tie the game up again, 3-3 at 14:08. The Ice Rays then would take their first lead of the game at 17:38 on a fluky broken play as Albin Persson pelted in his third goal of the campaign from the far side on a fortunate bounce in front for him to make it a 4-3 contest. The Bugs would pull their netminder to try to tie it up, but it was Frank Jenkins tapping in the EN goal at 19:48 to seal up a 5-3 victory over Shreveport.
The Bugs have now dropped their last three straight games.
The Bugs and Rays will conclude their two-game series tomorrow night at the American Bank Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.