Friday, April 8, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 4/8: Tri-City 3, Lincoln 4

Fifth straight win against the Storm, and another two points in the standings!  w00t!

The Lincoln Stars won their last regular season home game in front of a sellout crowd Friday night, beating the Tri-City Storm by a score of 4-3.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.  With the win, the Stars improved to 32-22-5 (69 points) and are in fifth place in the USHL Western Conference standings.  After the results of last night, the Stars and the Fargo Force will meet in the first round of the Clark Cup playoffs.  The only thing yet to be determined is where the playoff series will take place. If the Stars can beat the Storm tonight, and if the Force lose in regulation, then the Stars will leapfrog Fargo and end the season in fourth place, thus earning home ice for the first round.  If that doesn't happen, the Stars will play every first round playoff game on the road in Fargo, ND.

The Stars came out in the first period of last night's game with their hair on fire, peppering the Storm net with shot after shot.  From what I can remember, the Stars fired the puck off the goalpost 2-3 times in the first four minutes of the game, narrowly missing multiple goals.  However, it was the Storm who capitalized on their chances first when Daniil Zharkov scored at the 4:39 mark to give Tri-City the 1-0 lead.  The Stars would respond quickly a little over two minutes later when Matt Prapavessis collected a juicy rebound from Storm goaltender Scott Diebold and fired the puck into the net for his ninth goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1.  Rasmus Juell and John McCarron earned the assists on Prapavessis' goal.  A little more than three minutes after the goal from Prapavessis, Stars forward Andrew Schmit re-directed a pass by Sam Alfieri past Diebold and into the back of the net to give the Stars a 2-1 lead.  Eric Scheid collected the other assist on Schmit's 15th goal of the season.  Lincoln went to the first intermission with a 2-1 lead. Stars out-shot the Storm 11-10 in first twenty minutes.

In the second period, the Storm would tie the game at 2-2 when Jason Binkley scored a powerplay goal at the 2:03 mark.  The Stars would answer less than three minutes later when defenseman Ben Oskroba scored from a nice pass from Eric Schied to give the Stars the lead at 3-2.  Brent Tate earned the other assist on Oskroba's goal.  A little over two minutes after Oskroba's goal, Stars forward Andrew Schmit scored his second goal of the game to give Lincoln a commanding 4-2 lead.  Eric Scheid and Cole Martin earned the assists on Schmit's 16th goal of the season.  The Stars are undefeated (14-0) this season when Andrew Schmit scores a goal.  Stars out-shot the Storm 12-11 in the second period.

The Stars would allow the Storm to score one goal in the third period, but it was not enough.  It might not have been the most complete effort, but the Stars did enough in the third period to hang on and beat the Tri-City Storm, 4-3.  Stars finished 0-for-3 on the powerplay, while the Storm finished 2-for-6 with the man advantage.  Storm out-shot the Stars overall, 30-28.  Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock stopped 27 of 30 shots on net and earned his sixth win over the Storm this season.  With their 32nd win of the regular season, the Stars doubled their wins from last season when they finished with only 16.

It wasn't pretty last night, but two points are what matters.  I thought the Stars seem to put the game in auto-pilot mode in the third period, and the Storm came very close to tying the game up late in the third period, but Murdock and the Stars did what they needed to do to close the door.  Stars forward Garrett Peterson was lost in the first period due to an injury, so his status is unknown.  It appeared Petey blocked a shot with his hand, and he went right to the bench afterwards and did not return to the game.  Stars head coach Chad Johnson said after the game that Petey would be going to the hospital to get x-rays on his hand.  Fingers crossed that it's not a broken bone(s), and Petey can return to the lineup very soon.

Stars will travel to Kearney today to take on the Storm once again.  Last regular season game with a LOT still left on the line.  We're all Lincoln and Sioux City fans tonight.  I'll be in Kearney tonight for the game, so we will not be doing a live chat.  I talked with a lot of Stars fans last night who are going to the game tonight, so it should be interesting to see how many Stars fans invade the Viaero Event Center.  Let's finish the regular season strong with a win tonight.  I'll be posting updates from the game tonight on the B³ twitter page, so click here throughout the game to follow along.

Go Stars.

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