No. 6 New Mexico Ice Wolves (13-34-2-3, 31pts) vs. No. 4 Shreveport Mudbugs (34-18, 68pts)
at Outpost Ice Arenas in Albuquerque, NM
Time: 7:30 p.m. MST (Friday) | 7:00 p.m. MST (Saturday)
What You Need to Know:
Season Series: 0-6
NMO: 30pts, Dominique (11g-19a)
SHV: 40pts, Miller (16g-24a)
COMING TO A CLOSE:
The Ice Wolves have eight games remaining in their inaugural season. Each weekend they will be closing out a season series against a South Division opponent. The only teams they will not be seeing until next year are the Amarillo Bulls and the Lone Star Brahmas. This weekend the Mudbugs are coming to the Outpost for the first time since Oct. 25-26. The last time these two teams saw one another was Dec. 6-7. In that weekend alone, New Mexico took 27 infractions (70PIM) and Shreveport was assessed 27 infractions as well (78PIM). The Ice Wolves have scored eight goals against the Mudbugs this year and allowed 27.
KINGS OF THE PIM:
Last season, Shreveport finished second in the league in penalty minutes with 1357. They currently have the most this year (1269). They also lead the league in average penalty minutes per game with 24.40. New Mexico is fifth at 18.92. The Mudbugs have four players with over 100 penalty minutes. The leader in PIM for Shreveport is Jacob Smith (157). He has the third-most penalty minutes in the league. The rookie also has the most minor penalties in the NAHL with 36. Smith has had three games this season in which he totaled at least 22PIM. He is currently averaging 3.34PIM/PG.
FLIP A COIN:
The top six goalies in the NAHL are all on a South Division team. Maiszon Balboa (18-8) is ranked fifth (1.92GAA) and Richie Parent (16-10) is ranked sixth (1.93GAA). Both Shreveport goalies have allowed 50 goals this season. They have nine combined shutouts, which is the third most for a goaltender duo. They also each have three wins against New Mexico this season. Scoring will be hard to come by this weekend for the Ice Wolves, as Shreveport allows the third-fewest goals against per game (2.06).
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Ice Wolves (F: #7 – Spencer Rudrud)
The Eden Prairie, MN native is in his rookie season in the NAHL. He is currently tied with Alex Dominique for the team lead in goals (11). The 18-year-old scored one of the four Ice Wolves goals last Friday, en route to their 4-3 win over Corpus Christi. The 6’1” 190-pound forward is second on the team in power-play goals (3). Rudrud loves to let the puck rip, as he has taken the most shots on the team with 129. Prior to entering junior hockey, Rudrud spent the last three seasons playing for Eden Prairie High (USHS-MN). Totaling 69 games played and 48 points (20g, 28a). His 25 points last year (12g, 13a) put him fifth on the team in scoring.
Mudbugs (F: #17 – Conor Witherspoon)
Conor is currently in his third year in the NAHL. He first started in 2017-18 playing six games (1g, 1a) for the Amarillo Bulls. Last year he scored 21 points (7g, 14a) in 45 games for the Mudbugs, putting him eighth on the team in points. The 20-year-old is second on the team in points this year (35). The native of Metamora, MI has a pass-first mentality as he leads his team in assists with 30. The 5’11” 170-pound forward is tied with Alexis Girard for most power-play-assists on the team (9). Last year in the Robertson Cup Playoffs, Witherspoon played ten games and finished with three points (2g, 1a). Witherspoon has eight points against the Ice Wolves this season (1g, 7a).