Wednesday, September 21, 2011

B³ USHL Fall Classic Recap 9/21: Lincoln 3, Chicago 1

I know it's just a preseason win, but I just had to play the song!  It has been too long since we've last heard it!



The Lincoln Stars won their first matchup at the 2011 USHL Fall Classic with a convincing 3-1 victory over the Chicago Steel.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.  The win was Lincoln's first at the Fall Classic since 9/27/08 when the Stars beat the Waterloo Blackhawks by a score of 4-2.  Lincoln had gone winless at the USHL Fall Classic in 2009 (0-1-2) and 2010 (0-3) before today's big victory.  I wasn't in attendance this afternoon in Sioux City, but I did watch the game via FASTHockey.  Here are my thoughts after watching the game.

The Stars came out very strong in the first twenty minutes but were unable to put any pucks past Steel goaltender Mathias Dahlstrom.  Lincoln outshot Chicago 8-6 in the first 20 minutes.  From what I saw online, the Stars did a great job of forechecking and keeping the puck in Chicago's defensive zone.

In the second period, the Stars were rewarded very early for their efforts when Brent Tate passed the puck to an open Dominik Shine on a 2-on-1, and it was Shine who roofed the puck past Dahlstrom to give Lincoln the 1-0 lead.  Tate earned the only assist on Shine's first preseason goal.  Tate has scored 3 points (1g, 2a) in the last two preseason games for the Stars.  The Stars spent much of the second period (and for most of the game for that matter) on the penalty kill.  At the end of the second period, the Stars had been whistled for 7 straight minor penalties, and they killed each of those Chicago PP opportunities.  Thru two periods the Stars had outshot the Steel 27-15.

In the third period, Lincoln's Teemu Tiitinen gave the Stars that much needed insurance goal with his first gino of the preseason with an unassisted tally at the 7:25 mark.  Teemu used his world famous speed to beat the lone Chicago defender wide, and after his first shot was saved by Dahlstrom, Teemu drove hard to the net and knocked in his own rebound to give Lincoln the 2-0 lead.  Less than three minutes after Tiitinen's goal, Lincoln's Brad Hawkinson collected a beautiful saucer pass from Ryan Cole and wristed the puck past Dahlstrom to increase the lead to 3-0.  Cole collected the only assist on Hawkinson's first goal of the preseason.

Stars goaltender Charles Williams' shutout attempt was thwarted late in the third period when Steel forward Theo DiPauli collected a loose puck, drove hard to the net, and slipped a backhand shot past Williams to pull the Steel within two goals at 3-1.  The Steel would pull Dahlstrom with under a minute in the game, but neither team would score.  Charles Williams stopped 25 of 26 shots in the win, while Mathias Dahlstrom stopped 32 of 35 shots in the loss.

The story of this game was the fact that neither team could do much on the PP, especially the Steel.  Not a big surprise because we've seen it before, but the Stars played very undisciplined today and could have pitched a tent in the penalty box they were there so often.  The Steel had a whopping 10 powerplay opportunities, but the Stars' PK unit came up big and did not allow any PP goals.  Conversely, the Stars could not generate too many chances with their PP chances, and finished 0-for-5 on the powerplay.  In terms of special teams, it was a bit ugly, but give credit to the Stars PK unit for shutting the door on the Steel.  At even strength, Stars goaltender Charles Williams wasn't tested very often, but he came up big quite often while his team was a player down.

Lincoln scratches for this game were Bob Kinne, Zach Aston-Reese, Colten Saucerman, Kevin Roy, and Zach Frye.  The FASTHockey announcer stated that Stars goaltender Jackson Teichroeb is still recovering from offseason foot surgery, and would most likely miss all of the Fall Classic.  Not sure when Teichroeb will be healthy enough to play for the Stars.

Regarding FASTHockey, I was pleasantly surprised in the quality of the broadcast.  The resolution wasn't the greatest, but that's to be expected.  Sometimes it was a bit hard to see the players names and numbers on the back of the jerseys due to the fuzziness, but I thought the play-by-play was outstanding.  I was really impressed by the job radio announcer Jordan Berger did.  You could tell he did his homework on both teams, as he frequently brought up background history on every player.  I also thought it was nice that he wasn't constantly screaming and yelling like some other USHL radio announcers.  I believe Berger works as a radio announcer/media relations for the SC Musketeers.  The Muskies have a good one in Berger.

I will be posting some pictures from the game courtesy of Brandon Anderson very soon, so keep an eye out for those.  The Stars will be back on the ice tomorrow evening at 6:00pm CST when they take on the Green Bay Gamblers at IBP Ice Center.  The Gamblers will be a much tougher foe for the Stars than what they faced today.

I hope to hear from some of the Stars fans who were in attendance today!  Please leave a comment below, or send me an email at lincolnstarshockey@gmail.com if you'd rather stay anonymous.  I've love to hear your thoughts!

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