No. 7 New Mexico Ice Wolves (5-19-0-2, 12pts) vs. No. 4 Shreveport Mudbugs (15-8, 30pts)
at George’s Pond Hirsch Coliseum in Shreveport, LA
Time: 7:11 p.m. CST (Friday) | 7:11 p.m. CST (Saturday)
What You Need to Know:
Season Series: 0-4
NMO: 13pts, Rudrud (5g-8a) | SHV: 18pts, Miller (7g-11a)
BACK TO WHERE IT ALL BEGAN:
The first ever games in Ice Wolves history took place at George’s Pond Hirsch Coliseum. Unfortunately they were shutout the first game (2-0) and only managed to score one goal the following night (6-1). The captain, Kennan Johnson, scored that lone goal. New Mexico put up 50 shots during those two games whereas Shreveport combined for 92. Over the next 11 games for the Mudbugs ten of them will be played on home ice. They have only had four games on home ice all season.
KEEP THE STREAK ALIVE:
The Ice Wolves have earned a point in their last three games while on the road (2-0-0-1). During those games they have recorded 13 goals and allowed nine. They are currently four points away from tying the Odessa Jackalopes for sixth place in the South. New Mexico will continue their road trip next weekend when they face the Amarillo Bulls for three-straight games. Before the Ice Wolves return to the Outpost Ice Arenas on Dec. 20th (vs. AMA) they need to earn as many points as they can if they want a chance to get back into the playoff hunt.
There are only two teams in the entire league that have not lost a game that has gone into overtime or a shootout (Shreveport, Chippewa). The Mudbugs have had three games go past the 60-minute span, two of which ended in OT. New Mexico has also had three games extend past regulation but all three have been decided via shootout (1-2).
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Ice Wolves (G: #43 – Josh Graziano)
The first ever commit in Ice Wolves history is playing in his final weekend of junior hockey. The Williamsville, NY native will be returning to his home state to play NCAA D1 hockey this winter. Graziano was the first draft pick in Ice Wolves history (#2 overall) and is currently 3-12-0-2 this season with a 3.47GAA and a .907SV%. The 6’2” 190lb. goalie played ten games for the Brantford 99ers (OJHL) and three games for the Brooks Bandits (AJHL) last season. In 2017-18 Graziano played 16 games for the Coulee Region Chill (NAHL). In 2018 he was drafted #117 by the Central Illinois Flying Aces (USHL). So far this season he has earned multiple spots on NAHL “Plays of the Week” as well as “Players of the Week”. He also earned honorable mention for the month of November (2-4-0-1, 1SO).
Mudbugs (G: #31 – Richie Parent)
The 20-year-old goaltender is in his second and final season in the NAHL. Last year he played three games for the Mudbugs (0-1-1-1, 2.48GAA, .929SV%). This season though he is 8-3 and leads all goalies with a 1.36 goals-against-average and a .951 save percentage. After only winning one of his first four games, Parent has not lost in his last seven starts. Through those seven games he only allowed six goals and recorded two shutouts. The Pensacola, FL native became the second Shreveport goalie this season to be awarded the NAHL goalie of the month. In September it was the Air Force Academy commit, Maiszon Balboa. The former 2018 WSHL Champion has played in two out of the four games against the Ice Wolves and only let in one goal each game.