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Aikins, DeCaro Lift Mudbugs into Second Round

April 6, 2011 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs News Release

PRESCOTT VALLEY, AZ - Justin Aikins scored his second goal of the night with 39 seconds left and John DeCaro made 48 saves as the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs defeated the Arizona Sundogs 2-1 in Game 4 of their Opening Round playoff series Wednesday night at the Tim's Toyota Center. The win propels the Mudbugs into the Berry Conference Semifinals, during which they will face either Tulsa, Texas or Odessa in another best-of-five series.

DeCaro faced a barrage of Arizona shots throughout the night to keep the ‘Bugs in the game, which was tied at one for over 45 minutes of play. Aikins then scored the series-clinching goal on the powerplay with under a minute remaining to cap off a two-goal night and complete the four-game series victory for Bossier-Shreveport.

The Sundogs struck first in the contest as Adam Smyth had just exited the penalty box when Matt Frick fed a pass into the slot that Smyth snuck between John DeCaro's pads at 9:19 to put Arizona on top 1-0. The ‘Bugs countered three minutes later however when David Rutherford stole the puck at center and sent it cross-ice to Justin Aikins, who deked Scott Reid in front before depositing a backhander to tie the game at one. The teams combined for 37 shots on goal and the game was tied at one through 20 minutes.

Arizona got four powerplay opportunities in the second period and outshot Bossier-Shreveport by a 17-6 margin, but DeCaro and the Mudbugs held them off the scoreboard. The ‘Dogs held a 36-24 shot advantage through two periods as the game remained tied going into the third.

The teams traded chances throughout the third and the Mudbugs' penalty killers held the Sundogs off the board on a fifth-consecutive powerplay to keep the game deadlocked at one. Then with just over one minute remaining, Jason Visser was whistled for interfering with Steven Crampton to set up the ‘Bugs late powerplay chance. Aikins then sped down left wing and stopped at the top of the crease before backhanding a perfect shot over Reid's shoulder to give Bossier-Shreveport the narrow 2-1 triumph.

John DeCaro (2-0) was stellar in goal with 48 saves in his second consecutive victory as the Mudbugs were outshot 49-35. Scott Reid (1-3) was also solid for the ‘Dogs with 33 saves in defeat. Bossier-Shreveport went 1 for 3 on the powerplay while holding Arizona scoreless on six chances to complete the series with a perfect 19-for-19 penalty killing performance.

Next up for the Mudbugs will be a matchup against either the third-seeded Tulsa Oilers or the winner of the Texas-Odessa series, pending this week's completion of those two matchups. For all the latest team news, as well as round two schedules and ticket information, visit

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