Sunday, December 12, 2010

B³ Postgame Recap 12/11: Lincoln 1, Dubuque 2

Photo courtesy of Brandon Anderson
The IceBox blues continued for the Lincoln Stars Saturday night as the Stars lost their fourth straight game at home, losing 2-1 to the Dubuque Fighting Saints.  With the loss, the Stars dropped to 11-9-1 (23 points), and are in fifth place in the USHL Western Conference.  The Stars have only scored six goals in their last four games at home.  Despite an impressive 6-3-0 road record, the Stars having a losing record (5-6-1) at the IceBox.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxcore.

The Stars' lone goal came first Saturday night, as forward Ryan Dzingel scored on a fantastic individual effort at the 13:42 mark of the first period to give Lincoln the early 1-0 lead.  Dzingel brought the puck into the offensive zone, turned a Dubuque defenseman inside-out, then buried a top-shelf wrist shot, glove-high, on Saints goaltender Jackson Teichroeb.  Andrew Schmit collected the only assist on Dzingel's goal.  Unfortunately for the Stars, who were shutout Friday night, it was the only offensive highlight of the whole weekend.  The Saints responded less than two minutes later when forward Vinny Saponari scored on a one-timer on the powerplay to even the score at 1-1.  I need to stop highlighting players from other teams.  In my weekend preview article, I highlighted Jimmy Mullin of Fargo, and Vinny Saponari of Dubuque.  Mullin and Sapornari each had a goal against the Stars this weekend, and both players were named the number one star of their respective games.

Towards the end of the first period, Stars defenseman Chris Casto was injured on an icing call when Saints forward Brooks Bertsch hit Casto from behind as he was skating towards the puck near the boards.  I've seen some cheap shots over the years at the IceBox, and this was one of the worst.  Casto did not see the hit coming, and it came a few feet away from the boards, which is a very dangerous area.  Casto was skating back to get the icing call, and had started to slow down as he was clearly closer to the puck than Bertsch.  For some reason, Bertsch hit Casto from behind sending him head-first into the boards.  Luckily for Casto, he seemed to turn after the hit and went in shoulder first.  Casto separated his shoulder on the play, and would not return to the game.  After listening to head coach Chad Johnson's comments after the game on the radio, it sounds like Casto could be back in the lineup next weekend.  I really hope the USHL reviews the tape of the hit on Casto, and hands out a lengthy suspension for Bertsch.  Despite the injury suffered, it could have been a lot worse.

In the second period, the Saints would score the eventual game-winning goal at the 10:17 mark when Saints forward Shane Sooth scored on the powerplay (again) to give Dubuque the 2-1 lead.  The Saints outshot the Stars 12-7 in the period.  There was one fight in the second, as Stars forward Garrett Peterson dropped the mitts with Dubuque forward Joe Bueltel.  Both players landed some big punches, but it was Bueltel who landed more, and won the decision.  Petey looked like he had at least two cuts on his face from the punches.  Personally, I didn't like to see Petey fighting, considering he's coming off of shoulder surgery.  He's too valuable to the team to lose him fighting a guy like Bueltel.  I would rather see a different teammate step up to try to get the team fired up, but that's just my opinion.

In the scoreless third period, the Saints outshot the Stars 10-7, and overall 28-20.  Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock stopped 26 of 28 shots in the loss.  The story of this game was special teams.  Both goals scored by Dubuque were on the powerplay, while the Stars continued to look lost and disorganized on the PP as they went 0-for-6.  In their last four games at home, in which they are winless, the Stars are 0-for-20 on the powerplay.  Not good at all.  I'm not exactly sure why this team seems to struggle at home, and not on the road, but they certainly didn't look like a playoff team this weekend.  Although they played much better Saturday night against Dubuque compared to Friday night, the Saints were still the better team last night.  As far as positives go, it was nice to see Ryan Dzingel finally get the monkey off his back with a goal.  After starting the season on fire, Dzingel has cooled down considerably the last month.  His goal against Duqubue was his first in 9 games, dating back to 11/16/10.

The Stars will finish their three-game homestand next Friday night when they will host the Sioux City Musketeers.  Just two games remaining until the X-Mas break.  Lincoln will play Sioux City on Friday 12/17, then against the Lancers in Omaha on 12/18.  The Stars need to finish strong in these last two games before the break.  It will be difficult however as the injuries are starting to pile up.  Josh Berge, Matt Prapavessis, Brent Tate are all out until after X-Mas, and it is unknown if Casto's injury will keep him out of the lineup next weekend.  John McCarron played the first period Saturday night, but was pulled because of a very high fever he was fighting.  Let's hope the Stars can get healthy fast.  Another two big games against western conference foes this weekend.

Go Stars.


Yeti said...

Would love to hear from the fans! You guys have been really quiet as of late. I know you're out there. What did you think of the effort this past weekend?

nutz4puckz said...

Well that is just a a crummy weekend and I missed both games. It must have been an omen of things to come Friday night when the tire blew out on the way to the game and had to head back home, GRRR then to get shut out!!

I agree Yeti, I don't like to see Petey fighting, but you have to respect the fact that he will drop with just about anyone to try and get the boys fired up.

Hopefully these two games were the wakeup call that they needed and now realize that nothing in the league comes easy. Here is to a good week of practice and a solid game Friday night!!

Anyone coming up Saturday night?

Yeti said...

I'll be up there Saturday night in Omaha, nutz4puckz. Bought my tickets through the Blueline Booster Club. Sounds like there should be another large contingent of Stars fans at the Civic that night Looking forward to it. Last chance to get that live hockey fix before the x-mas break.

lincolnfan said...

friday night was horrible... last night was decent, but we weren't able to get the win. still lots of hockey left to play, and we've shown we can play together as a team and score goals. we just need to be a little more consistent.

Yeti said...

According to the Pointstreak transactions page, Brooks Bertsch of Dubuque was suspended one game for his hit on Chris Casto.

Copy and paste:

It's good he was suspended, but I thought the hit warranted a much longer suspension.

starstruck said...

Does the USHL have any set criteria outlined for handing out suspensions or is it all subjective? I agree that the suspension should have been for more than one game - that is not much of a deterrent to keep that kind of action from being repeated. The whistle had blown for icing before he made that hit on Casto - clearly a pointless & dangerous act in my opinion.

MacAttack said...

was not a good weekend for the guys. they just didn't have it together on Friday night. Saturday they just couldn't find the back of the net. although I could have sworn I saw the referee pointing to the net in the 2nd period to indicate a goal that would have tied it up. don't know why he changed his mind.

on a positive note, I got to meet the Dubuque head coach Saturday after the game and got a couple of his hockey cards signed. I have been waiting to meet him since they announced his appointment as head coach last April. I would have liked to gotten a picture taken with him but unfortunately no one was available to handle my camera. maybe we will meet up with Dubuque in the playoffs and I can catch up with him then.