Sunday, March 22, 2009

Postgame Report - Fargo at Lincoln 3/21

Final Score: Fargo 1, Lincoln 5

What a great weekend of hockey!

The Lincoln Stars won their fourth game in a row and clinched the West Division Title Saturday night, as the good guys beat the visiting Fargo Force, 5-1. By clinching the USHL West Division regular season title, the Stars are assured of home ice advantage thru the first two rounds of the playoffs (if they get that far). Scoring goals for the Stars was Michael Sdao, Garrett Vermeersch (GW), Ryan Kretzker (PP), Mike Dalhuisen, and Eric Alexander (EN, SH). Stars netminder Kevin Murdock stopped 33 of 34 Fargo shots on goal, and earned his 20th win of the season. Doc is now the #1 rated goaltender in the USHL in terms of save percentage (.921), and goals against average (2.19).

This one was another fun one to watch as a fan. The Stars came out blazing hot, and the Sdao goal at 2:35 of the first period really seemed to deflate the Force. The Stars played much more physical than the Force did, and used their forecheck to create numerous chances. The Stars penalty kill unit stopped all 8 PP opportunities for the Force, which included 1:36 worth of a 6-on-3 man advantage in the third period which saw Michael Sdao, Chris Forfar, and Jake Newton block shot after shot. What a treat it was to watch those three (and Doc) completly shutdown the Fargo PP.

I was very surprised to see Mike Lee not start in net for the Force. I don't think it really would have mattered tonight, as the Force offense really never clicked and Kevin Murdock was just that hot in net for the Stars. I was also surprised at how chippy the game got. Two back-to-back fights in the first period, and two game ejections in the third period. I don't know if the Force wanted to send a message, but the Stars were more than willing to trade punches. In the third period, Stars forward Jimmy Siers jumped a Forgo player, which could lead to a suspension. We'll have to wait and see if the USHL takes action against Siers. I think Siers just had enough chirping from the Fargo player, and started punching him. I would have liked to see Jimmy take a Force player with him to the bench in that case.

1ST STAR: Murdock, Kevin (LIN)
2ND STAR: Sdao, Michael (LIN)
3RD STAR: Alexander, Eric (LIN)

Very solid effort tonight against a good Force team. The Stars are now 5-1 against Fargo this season, which is a very good record considering how well the Force are playing this season. These two teams meet again in Fargo on 4/4, which will be the last regular season games for each squad. I'm sure the extracurricular activities that occurred in this game will carry on to that game in Fargo. That game might be one you'll want to watch on B2...even if you do think B2 sucks. :)

After 9 games in 15 days, the Stars have earned a five day break before their next game, which will be against the Cedar Rapids Roughriders on Friday, March 27. That game will also be the last home game of the regular season. If you don't have tickets to that game, you'd better buy them now. There's no doubt the game will be a sellout. Go Stars.

Your thoughts of the game? Would it have been a different game had Mike Lee started for Fargo? Is this the best the Stars have played this season?

Quick Note: I'm going to post a separate blog article regarding the MDA jersey auction from the game tonight. Stay tuned for that. Those throwback jerseys looked great.

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