Saturday, April 18, 2009

Game 4 Postgame Report - Lincoln at Sioux Falls

Final Score: Lincoln 6, Sioux Falls 1

Garrett Vermeersch - 1

Sioux Falls Stampede - 0

Stars forward Garrett Vermeersch scored the first three goals of the game, and Kirt Hill added two goals and one assist, as the Lincoln Stars stomped all over the hometown Sioux Falls Stampede, 6-1. With the victory, the Stars won the playoff series against the 'Pede, 3-1, and advanced to the second round of the USHL playoffs where they will face the Fargo Force. Scoring goals for Lincoln tonight was Garrett Vermeersch (3), Kirt Hill (2), and Corey Chakeen. Anthony Borelli was brilliant between the pipes for the Stars, as A-Bo stopped 34 of 35 shots on goal to record his second straight USHL playoff win against the 'Pede.

'Pede Head Coach Kevin Hartzell decided to start his son, Eric, in net tonight and will probably hear about it for a long time by the 'Pede fans. Despite putting up better numbers against the Stars, goaltender Clay Witt sat on the bench and watched "Baby" Hartzell give up 6 goals on only 26 shots on net. Eric Hartzell finished the playoffs with an 0-2 record, a 8.22 GAA, and a .767 save percentage. Yikes. That's bad. In his defense, I don't know if the 'Pede would have won tonight with Witt in net, as Borelli was on his game. Not too many USHL teams can win games when they only score one goal. Thankfully for 'Pede fans, Eric is off to play college at Quinnipiac in the Fall, so the accusations of nepotism will grow silent.

Fantastic effort on the road tonight. I mentioned this earlier, and it's certainly not an earth-shattering statement, but the OT game winner by Eric Alexander in Game 3 really was the turning point in this series. With just that one shot, all the momentum in the series swung to the Stars. If the Stars would have lost that game, the 'Pede would have been up 2-1 in the series, with a chance to win it all on Friday night. Luckily, that didn't happen. The cream rises to the top, and it certainly showed in this series. The Stars are simply a better, more physical team that just wanted it more.

Nice to see Kirt Hill finally blow up on the scoring sheet. He was due for a breakout game. Vermy continues to be the hottest goal scorer in the USHL playoffs. He now has six goals in four games. Goaltenders Kevin Murdock and Anthony Borelli both played outstanding in this series. Doc finished with a 1-1 record, 2.03 GAA, and a .931 save percentage. A-Bo finished with a 2-0 record, 1.93 GAA, and a .938 save percentage. You can't ask for better stats than that in the playoffs. Both goaltenders will have to continue to play well if the Stars want to beat a very streaky Fargo team in the second round.

Onward and upward! Great to see the guys playing some of their best hockey of the season. The PP needs some work, but overall I think the team is clicking on all cylinders. A VERY good Fargo team looms on the horizon. I plan on putting together a "playoff preview" of the Lincoln-Fargo series sometime very soon. Stay tuned for that. Go Stars.

Your thoughts on Game 4? Should the Stars be worried about Fargo, despite beating them 6 out of 7 times in the regular season?


Anonymous said...

Surprised you didn't mention the "new" pp configuration with Henry at point. Much better puck control...much less bunching up, much greater pressure on the defense, much less chance of short-handed stuff which plagued all season.

Yeti said...

Very good point, Anonymous. I did notice it the last couple of games I've listened to on the radio. First thing I thought of when I heard that Ross was on the PP was that McGroarty must really be worried about giving up the shorthanded goal. Nothing against Ross, but he's not a PP quarterback. However, like you mentioned, it seems as if his presence has calmed things down a bit on the PP. It still needs a LOT of work, but eliminating the shorthanded opportunities is key right now, especially with Fargo just around the corner. That team is VERY dangerous on the PK. Andy Taranto is a shorthanded scoring machine.

Thanks for the comment.

nopuckluck said...

Guess all of us drunken fools at the Ice Box will get 2 more games.