Sunday, April 10, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 4/9: Lincoln 3, Tri-City 2

Second period shot by Matt Prapavessis finds the back of the net.  
Stars close out the regular season with back to back wins!  w00t!

The Lincoln Stars struggled at times Saturday night in Kearney, but John McCarron's goal with only 32 seconds remaining in the third period propelled the Stars to a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Storm.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.  Click here to watch video highlights of the game, courtesy of the official Tri-City Storm website.  With the win, the Stars improved to 33-22-5 (71 points), and finished the regular season tied for fourth place with the Fargo Force in the USHL Western Conference standings.  Since the Fargo Force lost in overtime Saturday night to the Sioux City Musketeers, the Force also finished the regular season with a 33-22-5 (71 points) record.  Due to the Force winning the regular season series against the Stars, going 5-2-1 in eight games, the Force earn the right to host all of the first round playoff games in Fargo.  More on dates of that matchup later in this article.

Getting back to the game in Kearney on Saturday night, the Stars came out very sluggish in the first period and the Storm were able to take advantage of that with a goal at the 11:33 mark by Daniil Zharkov.  I thought the Stars were very lucky to be only down one goal at that point in the game.  The Storm were buzzing around the Lincoln net, while the Stars' offense had issues with puck possession in the offensive zone.  The Stars would get on the scoreboard late in the first period thanks to some hard work from forward Dominik Shine, who outworked a number of Storm players to get a good shot on goal, which was saved by Storm goaltender Christopher Holden, but the rebound went to Zach Aston-Reese who buried the puck to tied the game at 1-1.  Aston-Reese's goal, his second of the season, came with only a minute and 29 seconds remaining in the first period.  Shine and Rasmus Juell earned the assists.  Storm out-shot the Stars 12-8 in the first twenty minutes.

In the second period, the Stars seemed to play with a sense of urgency missing in the first period, and they were rewarded with a goal from Matt Prapavessis at the 8:43 mark of the second period.  An odd-man rush for the Stars resulted in a Sam Alfieri pass to a wide open Prapavessis, who scored his 10th goal of the season to give Lincoln its first lead of the game at 2-1.  Alfieri and Dominik Shine collected the assists.  Prapavessis' even-strength tally would be the only goal scored in the second period.  Although the Stars started the second period playing much better, I thought the Storm finished the period much stronger, but credit Kevin Murdock for coming up big and keeping the Stars in the lead.  Storm out-shot the Stars 10-8 in the second period.

The final twenty minutes of the 2010-11 regular season saw the Storm strike first when Cody Murphy scored six minutes into the period on a goal-mouth scramble to even the game at 2-2.  The Stars seemed to be a step behind the Storm in the third period, but Tri-City just could not capitalize when they had their chances.  Just when it looked like the Stars would be able to hang on and get the game into overtime, forward John McCarron was the hero with a top-shelf, stick-side, wicked wrister to beat Christopher Holden with only 32 seconds remaining to give Lincoln the 3-2 lead, and eventual win.  Ryan Dzingel earned the lone assist on McCarrons's 24th goal of the regular season.  What energy the Tri-City crowd had was suddenly sucked out of the building with McCarron's game-winning goal.  Stars win an ugly one by a score of 3-2.  Stars finish 0-for-6 on the powerplay, and Lincoln goaltender Kevin Murdock stopped 31 of 33 shots to record his 29th win of the season, second most in the entire USHL.

Well, it certainly wasn't pretty, but a win is a win.  Maybe I'm being a bit harsh, but considering how the Stars played Saturday night, they should feel very fortunate they got the win.  The Stars were without the services of Garrett Peterson, Brent Tate, and Nick Cecere in this game, so there was some big names out of the lineup.  It was very disappointing to hear that the Sioux City-Fargo game went into overtime, thus giving Fargo home-ice over the Stars in the playoffs, but it was nice to see the Stars finish the regular season with two wins.  Considering where the Stars were at last season at this time, we should all feel very thankful and proud of what this Stars team has accomplished.  I know we all wanted to have the Stars start the playoffs at home, but we can still show our support for the team here in Lincoln during their upcoming series in Fargo.  We've got a great group of kids on this team, and I can't wait to see what kind of noise they can make in the playoffs.  It's going to be a fun ride.  Buckle up.  

We will go in-depth with an article in the next few days reviewing the upcoming Force-Stars playoff series, so stay tuned for that.  Game one against the Force will take place in Fargo on Friday, April 15th.  Game two will take place in Fargo on Saturday, April 16th.  If there is a need for a game three, that will take place on Sunday, April 17th.  Click here to read an article from the USHL website about the upcoming Clark Cup playoff schedule.

Jeff White and Carl Kacvinsky were at the Tri-City game Saturday night, so I hope to post some photos from the game from those two gentlemen sometime during the day on Sunday.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear from all of the Stars fans who were in Kearney on Saturday night.  I saw a lot of you there.  We represented the Stars well, I thought.  What were your thoughts of the game, and of the upcoming playoff series with Fargo?

Go Stars.


Yeti said...

Watching those video highlights, I forgot the swimming goal celebration Daniil Zharkov made after the first TC goal. Acting like he just won the Stanley Cup with that one. Classy.

lincolnfan said...

great recap, Yeti, as always... very nice that all the Lincoln fans were treated to a win out in Kearney last night. you know, i think we have a good chance still to advance to the next round... the Stars have a decent record on the road. i agree that we were very lucky to get two wins this weekend... the Stars were sloppy at times and they're certainly capable of playing better hockey than this. they just need to show up to play next weekend.

btw, Yeti.. "Due to the Force winning the regular season series against the Storm, going 5-2-1 in eight games, the Force earn the right to host all of the first round playoff games in Fargo." -- i believe that should read "the Force winning the regular season against the Stars."

Yeti said...

Thanks for the correction, lincolnfan. It has been fixed. As you can see, I finished that article around 2am last night/this morning, so I was pretty tired. Lots of errors probably. :) I do my best.