In one of the better games played at the IceBox in a long time, the Stars used a strong third period effort to beat the Sioux City Musketeers, 3-2. The Stars have now won six straight games, and five straight at home. With the win, the Stars improved to 8-5-0 (16 points) on the season, which now puts them in a tie for third place in the USHL Western Conference. In less than a month, the Stars have dug themselves out of last place in their conference, and are now only two points out of second place, and four points out of first place.
The Muskies got off to a quick start in this game when Ryan Carpenter wristed the puck past Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock to give Sioux City the early 1-0 advantage. Carpenter's goal came at the 4:31 mark of the first period, ending Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock's shutout streak at 90 minutes over three games. After the SC goal, the Stars generated a lot of quality chances on offense, but Musketeer goaltender Jake Hildebrand stood tall and made a number of very good saves. Toward the end of the first period, the Stars finally got a puck past Hildebrand when Eric Scheid scored on a well put together play to even the score at 1-1. Assisting on Scheid's fourth goal of the season was John McCarron and Josh Berge. At the end of the first period, the score was all tied up at 1-1. The Stars out-shot the Muskies 11-9 in the period.
Sioux City came out a little stronger in the second period and they were rewarded with a goal when Max Gaede scored with about five minutes left. Gaede's goal came on the powerplay, and gave the Muskies a 2-1 lead late in the period. Just when you thought the Stars would go into the second intermission down a goal, they dug down and were able strike back. With less than two minutes remaining, Stars forward Garrett Peterson drove to the net and batted a rebound past Hildebrand to even the score at 2-2. Petey's goal was his third in as many games. Andrew Schmit and Kyle Quick collected the assists on Peterson's goal. At the second intermission, the score was 2-2. The Muskies out-shot the Stars 14-8 in the period.
In the third period, the Stars proved they were the stronger, and hungrier team by shutting the Muskies out and scoring one goal to win the game. Stars forward Josh Berge gobbled up a juicy rebound in front of Hildebrand halfway through the period, and slipped the puck past him to give the Stars a 3-2 lead. John McCarron and Chris Casto got the assists on the game winning goal by Berge. The Muskies were able to put some good pressure on the Stars and Murdock after the Berge goal, but they were denied. Final score: Sioux City 2, Lincoln 3. Shots were even for the game at 29-29. Sioux City went 1-for-2 on the powerplay, while the Stars only had one powerplay opportunity and were held scoreless. Kevin Murdock stopped 27 of 29 shots to record his seventh win of the season, and his sixth straight victory.
Wow....what a game! I remarked to a good friend of mine sitting next to me in the third period that this game had a playoff feel to it. Very few penalties (thanks, ref!), great back and forth action, physical play, and outstanding goaltending. As a hockey fan, it doesn't get much better than that. It was fun to watch two very good teams trade punches for 60 minutes. The Stars proved in the third period that they wanted it more, and it showed. They say in hockey that good things happen when you go to the net, and all three goals scored by the Stars were a good example of that. Stating the obvious here, but this team is a lot of fun to watch live. They forecheck like demons, and pass the puck so much better than earlier in the season. They don't rattle easy, and they never look lost or dejected when down a goal. This group never quits.
The Stars will have Saturday off, but will return to the IceBox next Wednesday evening (day before Thanksgiving) to battle their long-time rival, the Omaha Lancers. Folks, if you don't have tickets to this game....BUY THEM NOW. No doubt that this game will sell out. You won't want to miss it.
Let's get seven! Go Stars!!
Okay...now I want to hear from you guys! Thoughts of the game?