Friday, October 8, 2010

B³ Postgame Recap 10/8: Youngstown 4, Lincoln 3

Thanks to blog reader "Starstruck" for the pic.
The Lincoln Stars opened the 2010-11 home season with a hard luck 3-4 loss to the visiting Youngstown Phantoms Friday night at the IceBox.  With the loss, the Stars fell to 1-1, while the upstart Youngstown Phantoms improved to 3-0 (all victories on the road).  Scoring goals for Lincoln tonight was Eric Scheid (McCarron, Quick), John McCarron (Scheid, Alfieri) PP, and Matt Prapavessis (Shine, Dzingel) PP.  Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock stopped 21 of 25 shots in the loss, while Phantoms phenom goaltender Matthew O'Connor saved 34 of 37 shots to record his third straight win of the season.  The Stars went 2-for-7 on the powerplay, while the Phantoms went 1-for-5 with the man advantage.

The Phantoms got off to a VERY quick start, scoring on an odd-man rush only 21 second into the first period.  That goal pretty much took the wind out of the sails of the Stars fans in attendance.  Before many had a chance to settle down after viewing the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and then the home opener video, the Stars found themselves down one goal.  Exactly six minutes after the first Youngstown goal, the Phantoms scored again to pull ahead by two goals, at 2-0.  The Phantoms only had a few scoring chances in the first period, but the chances they had were very good and they made the most of their opportunities.  Eric Scheid scored with about seven minutes remaining in  the first period on a terrific backhand pass from John McCarron to give the Stars new life.  However, the Phantoms responded on a 5-on-3 powerplay with about three minutes remaining to regain a two goal advantage at 3-1.  After one period, the Stars had out-shot the Phantoms, 14-7.

In the second period, the Stars came out a bit flat and the Phantoms took advantage.  With a little over one minute gone in the second, the Phantoms scored what would turn out to be the game winning goal to increase their lead to 4-1.  About halfway through the second period, the Stars finally started to show some life, and it was John McCarron and Matt Prapavessis who both tallied powerplay goals late in the second period to pull the Stars within one goal at 4-3.  Through two periods, the Stars had out-shot Youngstown, 27-17.

In the third, the Stars would out-shoot the Phantoms 10-8, and for the most part dominate play, but Youngstown would hold on to beat the Stars 4-3.  With about four minutes remaining in the third period, the Stars had the puck deep in the Youngstown zone, and the puck came to the stick of Brent Tate with a wide-open net.  The fans on the south end had all but readied themselves for the eventual game-tying goal, but Youngstown goaltender Matthew O'Connor dove to his left and made one of the best glove saves I've ever seen at the IceBox.  There's a reason this kid is 3-0 on the season already.  He's the real deal.

Despite the loss, the Stars looked pretty good out there tonight.  At times the PP looked terrible, and other times it clicked really well.  I thought John McCarron and Eric Scheid were the best two forwards on the ice for the Stars, and defenseman Matt Prapavessis really impressed me with his offensive skills on the PP.  Prapavessis was a guy that many of us noticed right away at tryouts, so it's not a big surprise to me that he's looked very good so far this season.  Associate Head Coach Jimmy McGroarty mentioned this after the game when he was interviewed by Mike Melbye:  Prapavessis isn't a guy who's going to make the huge check, but he's a guy who can quarterback the powerplay and provide some offensive skill on the back end.  I also noticed tonight that Prapavessis is very good with his breakout passes to the forwards.

Onward and upward!  The Stars have some things to work on, but I'm excited to see this bunch grow together as a team and win some games this season.  It's hard to put a lot of blame on Kevin Murdock tonight, especially on the first three goals Youngstown scored.  Like I mentioned above, the Phantoms didn't have a lot of offensive chances early on, but when they did, they buried the puck.  Gotta give a lot of credit to O'Connor also, although quite a number of Lincoln shots hit the young goaltender right in the chest, which really didn't require a lot of effort.  That's not to take away from his win tonight, because he definitely earned it.  I just was hoping to see the Stars shoot low more often on the big goaltender, and get some rebounds.

How about the pregame festivities?  If you missed it, the Stars had a Hall of Fame induction before the game tonight, and Chris Fournier, Nick Fouts, Jared Boll, Ryan Potulny, and David Backes were all inducted.  Really cool video for that one.  Fournier, Fouts, and Hall of Famer Derek Reynolds were in attendance and came out onto the ice for the ceremony.  Nick Fouts addressed the crowd and and some really great things to say about the Stars, their fans, and the city of Lincoln in general.  Hats off to the Stars organization for a very cool event.

So much to talk about from this game, but I don't want to drone on and on.  I really want to hear from the fans out there.  What did you think of the game?  How did the Stars look?  Impressions?  How about those new uniforms?  Yeti likey.  I thought they were really sharp.  Not sure if they'll be for sale this season or not.  And how about those parking attendants I've slammed in the past?  Mrs. Yeti and myself got to the IceBox around 6pm, and it was quick and painless getting into the Innovation Campus area.  I couldn't believe how easy it was.  I was expecting traffic jams, long lines, and incompetent attendants.  What I got was completely different.  It's just one game, so the jury is still out...however I was pleasantly surprised tonight.  We'll see what happens when a UNL basketball game is held at the same time as a Stars game.  My one complaint was the lack of street lights after the game ended.  It was pretty much pitch black around the IceBox, which made it a little dangerous with people crossing streets and cars whipping around.

Whew!  The Stars will play tomorrow night in Waterloo, Iowa against the Fighting Cowbells Blackhawks.  We'll be blogging/chatting live for that game, so check back here around 6:45pm Saturday night to join in on the fun.  Go Stars.


Yeti said...

I want to make sure I mention the very nice folks who came up to my seats and introduced themselves to me tonight. They were a couple of family members of Stars defenseman Ben Oskroba, and they were super nice people. I wish the game would have turned out different, but I'm sure they had fun. The Oskroba family had a lot of folks in Lincoln tonight from out of town to watch Ben play. It was a pleasure meeting them.

Yeti said... soon as I receive photos from Brandon Anderson, I will post them here.

Yeti said...

Okay, one more before I shut up. Attendance tonight was 4,212. Not sure if that was a sellout or not. If anyone knows for sure, please leave a comment. Thanks.

lincolnfan said...

according to the JournalStar article it was a sellout. last night was a fun game. Youngstown isn't the team they were last year... they have a much better team now. they were definitely the better team last night, in my opinion. they have a lot of speed and talent and they outskated us many times. however, the Stars had a pretty good game last night too. getting those two goals in the second period and they played very well in the 3rd period, despite not scoring any goals. plus, last night i saw the Stars do things that last year the team seldom did... things as simple as passing the puck across the ice, setting up the powerplay, etc. just because we lost last night, does not mean we're going to have another year like last year. there's still the whole season ahead of us and we have a good team this year. go Stars!

PeruStarsFan said...

LincolnFan: You are very correct about the improvement in the Stars over last year. You can see things already that we did not see towards the end of the season. I was in the zamboni pit for the second period goals, and the intensity was fantastic. For those of you that have followed the Stars for years, you know that the second period is normally flat. Not last night, and it was followed by a high energy third. For those of you that are fixating on the loss, you can look back at the quick whistle in the third and blame it on the officiating. The goalie is allowed to hold the puck for three seconds when not under attack. That whistle was almost instantaneous. Yes, the Ref blew it on that call and it cost the Stars the tieing goal. We will never know what could have been. What I do know is that the team and the FANS are in for a wonderful season.