The Shreveport Mudbugs (26-7-5) got a big hat trick from Connor Gatto to lead the way in a 4-2 victory over the Wichita Falls Warriors Friday night at Kay Yeager Coliseum.
The Bugs killed a big five-minute major against Austin Brimmer for a slew-foot penalty to begin the game. Shreveport used that momentum to generate the game’s first goal as Connor Gatto flipped in his sixth tally from the far corner off the pads of the Wichita Falls goalie’s pads and in at 11:54 to give Shreveport the early 1-0 edge. Chris Hedden and Joe Mack earned the assists on the game’s opening tally. The Warriors struck back at 15:24 when Cade Lemmer shot in the rebound in front for his sixth of the year to even the score, 1-1. The Warriors out-shot the Bugs, 16-4 after one.
Shreveport regained the lead at 5:44 of the 2nd period when Matt Weber deflected home his 11th goal of the season off a shot from Adam Kolcon at the point to give the Bugs a 2-1 lead. Aidan Metcalfe and Kolcon earned the helpers. The Bugs extended their lead at 15:08 of the 2nd period when Gatto tipped home his second of the night and seventh of the year off a 2-1 odd-man rush to make it a 3-1 contest. David Breazeale earned the only assist with a brilliant pass through the slot to Gatto. The Bugs were out-shot 28-13 by Wichita Falls despite owning the two-goal lead after two periods of play.
Wichita Falls got closer at 13:01 of the third period when Drake Usher shot in his fourth tally of the season from the point to make it a 3-2 lead for the Bugs. Shreveport would halt any momentum Wichita Falls had and it was Gatto again at 19:51 tapping in his third goal of the season lifting the Bugs to a 4-2 victory and their third straight overall.
Arseniy Sergeev was terrific in net making 42 saves on the night to earn his seventh win in the cage.
The Bugs and Warriors will conclude their two-game series tomorrow at Kay Yeager Coliseum. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.