The Shreveport Mudbugs open the North American Hockey League playoffs Friday night at George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum.
The Mudbugs (35-19-3-3), who finished second in the NAHL’s South Division, face the third-place Corpus Christi IceRays (32-19-4-5) in the first game of a best-of-five series at 7:11.
Game 2 is Friday night at 7:11 at George’s Pond. The series shifts to Corpus Christi Wednesday for Game 3. Game 4, if necessary, is Thursday in Corpus Christi.
If a decisive Game 5 is necessary, it will be Tuesday, April 25, at George’s Pond.
The other South Division first-round series pits No. 1 Lone Star (44-14-2-0) against No. 4 Wichita Falls (29-24-5-2).
Friday’s game will be the 13th between Shreveport and Corpus Christi this season. The IceRays have had the upper hand, winning nine of 12.
The teams split a two-game set March 31 and April 1 at George’s Pond. The Mudbugs won the first game 5-4 and the IceRays won the second 5-2.
Frankie Melton was Shreveport’s top scorer in the regular season with 35 goals and 23 assists. His 58 points ranked 12th in the league.
Croix Evingson scored 52 points (12 goals, 40 assists) in the regular season. Kieran Durgan ranked third on the team with 47 (18 goals, 29 assists).
Shreveport goaltenders John Roberts (16-12-0-2) and Dylan Lubbesmeyer (18-7-3-1) ranked sixth and seventh, respectively, in the NAHL in goals-against average in the regular season. Roberts allowed 2.23 and Lubbesmeyer 2.31.
Mason Krueger led Corpus Christi with 56 points (22 goals, 34 assists). Brad Power was the IceRays’ second-leading scorer with 54 (24 goals, 30 assists).
Corpus Christi goaltender Tomas Vomacka (19-13-2-4) ranked ninth in the league with a 2.43 gaa.
— Russell Hedges, email@example.com