The Shreveport Mudbugs (5-8-4) missed valuable opportunities to score in the game and it came back to burn them in the end as they lost in the shootout, 3-2 to the El Paso Rhinos Friday night at the El Paso County Coliseum.
El Paso got the game’s first goal at 19:59 of the opening period when Matt Johnson skated in from the far side with open space and backhanded his fifth goal of the season to give the Rhinos a 1-0 lead after one. The Bugs were 0 for 2 on the PP in the opening period.
The Bugs started out the 2nd period very poorly, but recovered nicely and had some great scoring chances. Unfortunately, Shreveport was unable to cash in and trailed 1-0 after two periods of play.
The defending champs roared back in the 3rd period when Timofei Khokhlachev drilled home his fourth goal from the LW circle to even the score, 1-1 at 3:32. Davis Goukler and Billy Feczko earned the assists on Khokhlachev’s PP goal. The Bugs would then go ahead at 5:02 on a broken play in front of the net as it was Logan Gotinsky firing home his third tally of the year short side to give Shreveport a 2-1 edge. Garrett Steele and Nik Miller picked up the helpers on the go-ahead goal. Shreveport would come up empty on a five-minute major PP opportunity and it would come back to haunt them. El Paso would take advantage of their next PP when Alex Krause threw a puck toward the net which deflected off of Colin Doherty and into the net to unexpectedly tie the game, 2-2 on a fluky goal at 15:25.
The game would eventually go to a shootout where Graham Harris would score five-hole for the game-winning tally lifting the Rhinos to a 3-2 victory over the Mudbugs.
Shreveport earns one point for their effort, but are now 1-5-3 in their last nine games played.
The Bugs and Rhinos will conclude their series tomorrow night from the El Paso County Coliseum. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. CT.