The Shreveport Mudbugs begin play in the North American Hockey League’s Robertson Cup on Friday at Fogerty Arena in Blaine, Minn.
Shreveport, the No. 2 seed, faces the No. 3 seed Maine Nordiques in Game 1 of a best-of-3 semifinal series at 7:30 p.m.
Game 2 is Saturday at 7:30. Game 3, if necessary, is Sunday at 6.
In the other semifinal series, the No. 1 seed Aberdeen Wings play the No. 4 seed Minnesota Magicians.
The winners will play one game for the Robertson Cup, which goes to the NAHL champion.
Shreveport swept Wichita Falls three games to none to win the South Division.
Maine won the East Division, sweeping Maryland in the finals.
The Mudbugs defeated the Amarillo Bulls three games to one in the first round of the playoffs. Shreveport won three straight, including two in overtime, after losing the series opener.
Shreveport was 38-11-7 in the regular season and finished first in the South Division.
Braiden Dorfman led the Mudbugs in points during the regular season with 59 (21 goals, 38 assists). Dawson Sciarrino ranked second with 42 (11 G, 31 A) and Giovanni Procopio was third with 40 (18 G, 22A).
Joe Mack and Dorfman tied for first in goals with 21 each.
Cole Hudson was the team’s top goalkeeper with a 20-6-2 record and 2.16 goals-against average. He is 6-0-0 in the playoffs with a 1.63 GAA.
Aberdeen won the Robertson Cup in 2019, the last time it was held. The event wasn’t held last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shreveport won the Cup in 2018.
The NAHL is the only USA-Hockey sanctioned Tier II Junior League. It has 25 teams in 17 states.
“The NAHL is part of the USA Hockey National Junior Development Model, which includes the USHL and the US National Team Development Program,” the league’s website states. “The NAHL works closely with NCAA College Hockey, the NHL, the USHL, and USA Hockey’s National Development Program in order best serve as an imperative piece in the development system for collegiate and professional hockey.
“During the 2019-20 season, the NAHL set a new single-season record with 361 NCAA commitments, with over 70% of those (249) being NCAA Division I commitments, also a new single-season record. Additionally, 34% of all Division I freshman played hockey in the NAHL. Over the course of the last five seasons, 1,500+ NAHL players have made NCAA commitments and 30 have been drafted into the NHL.”