Sunday, February 13, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 2/12: Lincoln 3, Youngstown 4 OT Shootout

For the second straight night, the Lincoln Stars lost a heartbreaker to an eastern conference team, as the Youngstown Phantoms beat the Stars 4-3 in an overtime shootout.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.  With the overtime loss, the Stars did pick up one point and now have a record of 19-16-4 (42 points), good enough for sixth place in the USHL Western Conference.  Out of a possible six points attainable in this recent three-game road trip, the Stars earned three points.

In the first period, the Stars dominated play but could only get one shot past Phantoms goaltender Matthew O'Connor.  Lincoln put a total of 19 shots on goal in the first, but only John McCarron's goal at the 17:03 mark found the back of the net.  McCarron's goal, his third in as many games, came on the powerplay with the lone assist going to Ryan Dzingel.  Stars had a 1-0 lead going into the first period, and had outshot the Phantoms 19-8 in the first twenty minutes.

The Phantoms came alive in the second period, as Youngstown scored a total of three goals in the second stanza to get right back into the game.  However, the Stars scored two goals of their own to keep the game close.  Lincoln goals from Garrett Peterson (assist to John McCarron) and Brent Tate (unassisted) kept the Stars from falling too far behind.  At the second intermission, the score was knotted up at 3-3.  Youngstown outshot the Stars 16-12 in the second period.

It was a scoreless third period which again saw the visiting Stars completely dominate the Phantoms, but Lincoln could not get any puck luck.  The Stars outshot the Phantoms 13-4 in the third, but Youngstown goaltender Matthew O'Connor again came up huge for his team, stopping all 13 Lincoln shots.  At the end of regulation, the score was still 3-3, and the Stars had outshot the Phantoms 44-28.  After a scoreless five-minute overtime period, which saw Lincoln outshoot Youngstown 3-1, the game would go to a shootout.

In the shootout, the Stars would get goals from Sam Alfieri and Dominik Shine, but it was not enough.  The Phantoms would put three shootout goals past Stars goaltender Lukas Hafner to complete the win.  The Stars went 1-for-5 on the powerplay, while the Phantoms went 1-for-2.  Hafner stopped 26 of 29 shots in the loss; his first start in net for Lincoln since 12/18/10.

Three out of six points isn't bad at all, especially considering how much time the team spent in a bus the past few days, but the Stars must feel like they left some points on the road this past weekend.  A flu bug also hit the team during the road trip, so not every player was 100%.  The effort was definitely there, but the Stars just weren't rewarded for their hard work.  It's hockey....that happens.  Sometimes the team that deserves to win doesn't, and there's no reason to dwell on that.  Learn from it, and move on.

The schedule doesn't get any easier for Lincoln this week, as the Green Bay Gamblers come to the IceBox this Wednesday night for a rare mid-week home game.  The Gamblers are arguably the best team in the USHL this season, as their 29-9-2 record indicates.  I'll highlight that matchup in an article on Tuesday.

Go Stars.

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