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Brahmas – Mudbugs Preview For 9/15 & 9/16

Photo courtesy of Rebekah Bing: Aidan Spellacy and the Lone Star Brahmas will open their defense of the Robertson Cup when they roll into Northwest Louisiana to face the Shreveport Mudbugs to kick off the NAHL regular season schedule.


The Lone Star Brahmas will open the regular season and defense of the Robertson Cup on the road against the Shreveport Mudbugs Sept 15 and 16. Prior to the game on Friday, Brahmas’ head coach Dan Wildfong will have his jersey retired by Shreveport where he played eight seasons racking up more than a point per game in his CHL career.

Last season the Brahmas split an eight game NAHL season series with the Mudbugs in Shreveport’s inaugural NAHL campaign. Two of Lone Stars’ four win came beyond regulation, but Shreveport outscored the Brahmas 26-24 on the season.

The two teams have gone in different directions during the preseason. Lone Star went 1-1-1 in their three games including a loss to the Mudbugs. Shreveport on the other hand was a perfect 5-0-0 in their preseason contests.

Lone Star is returning seven forwards from their 2016/17 Robertson Cup Championship team in Justin Addamo, Julian Biondo, Austin O’Rourke, Aidan Spellacy, Frankie Trazzera, Andy Willis and Trevor Zenas. They will also have one defenseman, Kimball Johnson returning. While he was with the team all last season, Johnson did not play due to an extended injury. However, his time with the team allowed him to learn the Brahmas’ system and gives him a running start heading into the schedule.

Shreveport is bringing back 12 skaters. They will have forwards Giovanni Carabelli, Cameron Cook, Jordan Fader, Jay Feiwell, Jacob Holmers, Jack Jaunich, Brendan VanSweden and Gabriel Wahl. On defense Brendon Gysbers, Andrew Lane, Dominick Procopio and Alex Spencer are all back this season.

Six of Lone Stars’ returning forwards saw action against Shreveport last season while all 12 of the veteran Mudbugs played at least two games against the Brahmas. None of the 18 players set the score sheet on fire in their head-to-head matchup all averaging much lower totals than their season averages.


GP G A PIM Shots +/-
Lone Star 5.8 0.33 0.33 12.17 8.67 -1.17
Shreveport 6.4 0.17 0.75 4.58 6.17 -1.58

Full Season

GP G A PIM Shots +/-
Lone Star 41.9 5.71 6.43 82.43 63.43 1.71
Shreveport 48.4 4.75 10.42 43.25 70.67 0.92


Special Teams

The Brahmas have built a reputation for one of the stingiest penalty kills in the NAHL over the past three seasons finishing in the top six every year. After holding the number two spot in both 2014/15 and 2015/16 they slipped slightly to number six last season at 84.8% The power play unit has been respectable as well finishing seventh in 2014/15, eleventh in 2015/16 and ninth last season with at 19.7%.

Shreveport closed out their first season with the nineteenth ranked penalty kill at 78.9% and the second best power play at 23.7%.

Lone Star has also become adept at drawing penalties over the years with 279 opportunities last season second only to Johnstown with 289. At the same time, they were one of the most disciplined teams in the league with 210 times shorthanded. While the Mudbugs had an impressive power play, they did not get a lot of chances to show it off finishing with 211 power play opportunities which was 20th in the league. Shreveport saw only 199 penalty kills last season finishing with the third fewest over the 60 game season.


Inside the Game

  • The Brahmas will look to be the first team to repeat as Robertson Cup National Champions since the St. Louis Bandits were back-to-back-to-back winners in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Oddly enough, the Bandits run followed on the heels of a Texas Tornado threepeate in 2004, 2005 and 2006.
  • Justin Addamo led all returning Brahmas in scoring during the 2016/17 regular season with 10G-10A in 43 games played.
  • Cameron Cook was the most productive returner for Shreveport with 18G-20A in 57 games played during the 2017/17 regular season.
  • Austin O’Rourke finished tied for 4th on the Brahmas in post season goals netting four in 11 games played including a game winner against Wichita Falls in the opening round and one against Aston in the Championship Game.
  • Jack Jaunich and Alex Spencer led all returners in playoff scoring with 1G-0A in three games played as the Mudbugs were swept by the Corpus Christi Icerays in the opening round.
  • Brahmas Head Coach Dan Wildfong and Mudbugs Head Coach Karlis Zirnis had productive professional hockey careers prior to their stints behind NAHL benches.
    • Wildfong played an 8 year career with the Shreveport Mudbugs where he scored 494 points on 192G-302A and a +185 in 488 games played. He also racked up 1970 penalty minutes in the regular season. In the playoffs Dan added 24G-39A and 319 penalty minutes in 88 games. Wildfong has two championships as a player in the WPHL and two as a head coach with one each in the CHL and NAHL.
    • Zirnis was nearly a point per game scorer over parts of six seasons with 250 points on 92G-158A in 282 games played. He was a +93 in his career and had 419 penalty minutes. In 40 post season appearances, Zirnis had 8G-20A and 74 penalty minutes. Zirnis won a championship as a player in the CHL with the Colorado Eagles.
    • Wildfong and Zirnis shared a bench in Shreveport during the 2006/2007 season combining for 44G-57A at a +25 and 400 penalty minutes. In the playoffs they added 5G-7A and 73 penalty minutes.

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