That song never gets old!
The Lincoln Stars won their second straight game, and third in a row at home, Saturday night at the IceBox with a dramatic 3-2 OT shootout victory over the Fargo Force. With the win, the Stars improved to 4-5 (8 points) on the season. More importantly, the Stars captured four points over the weekend which will help build confidence and team moral.
In the first period, the Stars came out VERY strong and outplayed Fargo in every facet of the game. In my opinion, it was probably the best period of hockey I've seen from the Stars so far this season at home. The Stars played the body at every opportunity, and put a ton of pressure on Force goaltender Nicholas Kulmanovsky. Despite outshooting the Force 18-4 in the first period, the Stars could not solve Kulmanovsky. Fargo seemed kind of lost in the first period, and the Stars looked very, very good. At the end of one, it was all tied up at 0-0.
It was the Force who struck first in the game when Force defender (and behemoth) Oleg Yevenko gobbled up a rebound on the powerplay and wristed it past Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock to give Fargo the 1-0 lead. Fargo head coach Jason Herter must have made an impression during the first intermission because his team played much better in the second period. However, the Stars responded about four minutes after the Yvenko goal with a powerplay goal of their own when forward Sam Alfieri scored to even the game up at 1-1. Assisting on Alfieri's PP goal was Ben Oskroba and Kyle Quick. At the end of two, the score was 1-1. The Stars outshot the Force 13-12 in the second period.
In the third, the Stars did not have a lot of offensive chances as the Force outshot the Stars 18-5. However, it was Stars defenseman (turned forward for this game) Cole Martin who scored on a deflection seven minutes into the period to give the Stars their first lead of the game. Defenseman Chris Casto assisted on the Martin goal. Martin has scored two goals this season, both times as a forward. After that goal, the Stars seemed to play a prevent defense and the Force poured on the shots. Late in the period, with less than three minutes remaining, Force forward Tanner Lane fired a shot from the faceoff circle which got past a screened Kevin Murdock to tie the game at 2-2. Just when it looked like the Stars would be able to escape the period with a win, the game was going to oooooovertime.
In the 4-on-4 overtime period, it was the Stars who had the majority of offensive chances, but they could not put any pucks past the Fargo goaltender. The Stars outshot the Force 3-0 in the OT period. On we went to the shootout! The Stars got shootout goals from Matt Prapavessis, Sam Alfieri, and John McCarron to seal the victory. The Pointstreak boxscore is incorrect, as it shows Fargo only scoring one shootout goal, when they did in fact score two. Sam Alfieri's goal was clutch as it sent the shootout into an extra, sudden-death sixth round. After a Murdock save in the sixth round, it was John McCarron who faked the forehand wrister, and buried the backhand shot to send the IceBox into utter mayhem. Final score: Fargo 2, Lincoln 3 OT shootout. Whew! What a game! Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock earned the #1 star second straight game with another fantastic effort at home. Murdock stopped 32 of 34 shots to record his third win of the regular season. In the last two home games, Doc saved 63 of 66 shots on goal in the wins against Sioux Falls and Fargo.
In the first period, Stars forward Brent Tate dropped the mitts with Oleg Yevenko in what turned out to be a heck of a scrap. Tate (6'2", 175 pounds) gave up 5 inches and 50 pounds to Yevenko (6'7", 225 pounds), but I thought Tate did a great job keeping the fight close. Homer call, but I'd say it was a draw. I know that some in attendance tonight recorded the fight, so I will be sure to post it here. In the third period, a Lincoln shot shattered a glass panel in the southwest corner of the IceBox, delaying the game for about 20 minutes while the Stars staff cleaned up the broken glass and installed the new panel. Props to those folks who got that all done, because from my seat, it did not look easy. I'm sure we'll get some good pics of the glass also.
The Stars will look to make it three wins in a row next Friday night when Lincoln plays host to the Tri-City Storm. More on that matchup later in the week. Great effort tonight by the Stars. They should be very proud of these last three victories at home. Enjoy the big wins! Go Stars!!