BOSSIER-SHREVEPORT, La. – David Rutherford recorded a hat trick as part of a four-point night in leading the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs to a 7-2 victory over the Colorado Eagles in Game 5 of the Presidents’ Cup Finals. The ‘Bugs scored the game’s first five goals, while Ryan Munce stopped 31 of 33 shots in his first start of the series.
The Mudbugs used a 4:1 power play disparity in the first period to build a 2-0 lead via a pair of power-play goals by Rutherford. The first came at 7:23 when he stickhandled through the offensive zone before beating Kyle Jones from the right circle. His second came just over four minutes later when he was able to backhand a shot into the net from the doorstep.
Bossier-Shreveport added three more goals in the second stanza to take a 5-0 lead into the third period. At 5:20, Rutherford was in the middle of things again as he worked a give-and-go with Nick Layton in which the latter scored from the low slot.
At 11:05 of the second, Jim Jorgensen made it 4-0 with a shot from the left circle that found its way through traffic and past Jones. With that score, Jones was replaced by Andrew Penner after stopping 19 of 23 shots in just over half a game’s time.
Things didn’t start out too well for Penner either when, just under a minute later, Kyle Peto lost the puck just inside his own blue line and Layton pounced on it, skated into the right circle and made it 5-0.
Colorado finally got on the scoreboard at 4:18 of the third period when Scott May cruised down the left wing and sent a perfect cross-ice pass toward the crease for a stretching tap-in by Dan Sullivan.
But at 7:04, Rutherford picked up his third goal of the game when he came down the left wing and unleashed a shot from atop the left circle that beat Penner. And just over nine minutes later, Justin Aikins took advantage of an Eagles turnover inside their own blue line by making it 7-1 with a shot from between the circles.
Colorado put home the game’s final tally at 17:19 of the third when A.J. Hau recorded his first professional playoff point. On the play, Riley Nelson won a faceoff in the right circle of the offensive zone and Adam Chorneyko sent a quick shot on net. Hau then got the first stick on the rebound, scoring from the low slot.
Game 6 will be played at the Budweiser Events Center on Wednesday, May 25 at 7:05 p.m. (MST). If necessary, a championship-deciding Game 7 will be played on Friday, May 27, also at the BEC at 7:05.