Saturday, March 5, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 3/4: Sioux Falls 4, Lincoln 3 OT

Courtesy of Jeff White

It was a third period collapse which doomed the Lincoln Stars Friday night as the IceBox, as the visiting Sioux Falls Stampede stormed back from a 3-0 deficit to force overtime, and then beat the Stars, 4-3 in OT.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.  With the loss, the Stars dropped to 23-18-5 (51 points), and are still in fifth place in the USHL Western Conference.  The Stars finished 5-2-1 in eight regular season game against the Sioux Falls Stampede this season.  The Stars' 51 points puts them seven points behind the fourth place Fargo Force (58 points), and four points ahead of sixth place Des Moines Buccaneers (47 points).  

It was an uneventful first twenty minutes of the game, as both teams skated to a 0-0 tie at the first intermission.  Stars out-shot the Stampede 11-7 in the first period, and controlled play for the most part.  A total of six penalties were whistled in the first period, three against each team.  

In the second period, the Stars got on the scoreboard first when defenseman turned forward Ben Oskroba received a long pass from teammate Richie Coyne, broke in all alone on Stampede goaltender Juho Olkinuora, and slipped the puck past him to give Lincoln the 1-0 lead.  Jared Hanson also collected an assist on Oskroba's goal at the 4:17 mark of the second period.  Later in the period during a Stars' powerplay,  forward Ryan Dzingel potted his 18th goal of the season to give Lincoln a 2-0 lead.  Forwards Garrett Peterson and John McCarron collected the assists on Dzingel's powerplay goal.  Sioux Falls would be held scoreless in the second period, despite the Stampede out-shooting the Stars 18-8.

The Stars would jump out to 3-0 lead early in the third period when Garrett Peterson scored his 19th goal of the season at the 1:07 mark.  Defensemen Chris Casto and Nick Cecere collected the assists on Petey's third period tally.  Just when it looked like the Stars would cruise to their second straight victory over the Stampede, the bottom fell out.  The Stampede woke up and scored three unanswered third period goals to knot the game up at 3-3, and force overtime.  Lincoln would out-shoot Sioux Falls 17-14 in the third period.

In the five-minute overtime period, Stampede defenseman Marcus Perrier was turn out to be the hero for Sioux Falls, as the native of Thunder Bay, Ontario scored a minute into the OT period to  complete the comeback and give his team the 4-3 victory.  Perrier's game-winning goal was his second of the night.  Perrier has scored a total of seven goals this season, and four have come against the Lincoln Stars.  Call him a Stars-killer, I suppose.  Sioux Falls would celebrate with a pile-up on the ice, which seemed to anger a number of Stars players, who took offense and started some pushing and shoving.  Cooler heads would prevail, although it appeared for a moment that the game could get out of control with each team out on the ice, squared off against each other.

Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock stopped 36 of 40 shots in the loss, while Stampede goaltender Juho Olkinuora stopped 34 of 37 shots for the win.  Stars went 1-for-4 on the powerplay while the Stampede went 1-for-5 with the man-advantage.    

Well, there's no way to sugarcoat that loss.  One of the worse collapses I've seen at the IceBox in  a long time.  There's no way Sioux Falls should have been allowed to get back into the game.  For the majority of the third period, I saw Sioux Falls players hustling to the puck, and giving it a total effort, while I did not see the same on the other side of the ice.  Stars seemed to just roll over and play dead in that third period.  It's that lack of a killer instinct we saw earlier this season which thankfully we haven't seen much lately, until last night.  Lincoln had every opportunity to put the Stampede away last night, but they just didn't get it done.  Give credit to the Stampede for wanting it more, and playing with that sense of urgency that disappeared from the Stars' bench in the third period.

Thankfully, the Stars will have a chance for redemption tonight on the road against the Sioux City Musketeers.  The Muskies are in last place in the western conference, but are only 6 points behind the Stars in the standings.  Lincoln can't take Sioux City for granted tonight.  Puck drops at 7:00pm CST in Sioux City.  Due to schedule conflicts, we will not be doing a live in-game chat for the Muskies game this evening.

Go Stars.

Note:  According to the Lincoln Journal Star, Stars co-captain Brent Tate will be out of the lineup until at least April with an elbow injury he suffered in a fight against Oleg Yevenko of the Fargo Force last week.  Not good news at all, but at least the injury won't require surgery.

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