Thursday, September 22, 2011

B³ USHL Fall Classic Recap 9/22: Green Bay 4, Lincoln 3 OT SO

The Lincoln Stars came up a bit short Thursday evening in Sioux City at the USHL Fall Classic as they fell 4-3 in an overtime shootout to the Green Bay Gamblers at the IBP Ice Center.  Click here for the Pointstreak boxscore.  With the overtime loss, the Stars fell to 1-1-2 in four preseason games so far this exhibition season.  The Stars will have Friday, September 23rd off, but will return to the ice on Saturday the 24th to face the Youngstown Phantoms at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.  I was able to watch the Stars-Gamblers game on FASTHockey, so here are my thoughts of the game.

Against the Gamblers, I thought the Stars came out and played very strong (and smart) in the first twenty minutes.  Lincoln took the play right to the Gamblers, and outskated them to the puck in most cases.  The Stars were rewarded for their early hard work in this game when Jared Hanson scored on a rebound tap-in to give Lincoln a 1-0 lead about halfway through the first period.  Teemu Tiitinen earned the lone assist on Hanson's first preseason goal.  At the end of the first period, the score remained 1-0 Lincoln, and the shots were 12-11 in favor of the Stars.

The Stars struggled a bit in the second period as the Gamblers came back to life and scored three unanswered goals before Lincoln could answer late in the second stanza.  Stars goaltender Charles Williams gave up second period goals to Nolan LaPorte, Sheldon Dries, and Alex Kile before shutting the door on the Gamblers in regulation.  The Stars seemed a bit more timid in the second period compared to the first, and it was the Gamblers who played a little more aggressive and forechecked much better than earlier.  Down 3-1, the Stars got right back into the game when forward Kevin Roy deflected a shot by Jared Hanson past Gamblers goaltender Ryan McKay to pull Lincoln to within one goal at 3-2.  Assisting on Roy's second period tally was Jared Hanson, and Teemu Tiitinen.  Green Bay outshot the Stars 16-10 in the second period.

In the third period the Stars play much better as a team, especially in their own defensive zone.  Down one goal with less than seven minutes remaining, Stars forward Dominik Shine knocked in a near goal-mouth rebound on a Lincoln 5-on-3 powerplay to knot the game at 3-3.  Shine's goal, his second in as many games, was unassisted.  At the end of regulation the scored remained 3-3.  Shots on goal in the third favored Lincoln 8-7.  Green Bay outshot Lincoln overall 34-30.

I'm not exactly sure why, but this game went directly to a shootout instead of a 4-on-4 five minute period.  I'd love to know why they did that because the game (Des Moines vs. Indiana) right before the Stars-Gamblers tilt at IBP Ice Center also went to overtime, and they did play 4-on-4 for five minutes.  Not sure if this was a decision both coaches made, or if the lead referee made the decision to skip the five minute OT and go right to the shootout.  Regardless, all three Lincoln shooters (Roy, Tiitinen, Shine) in the shootout were denied by goaltender McKay, while the Gamblers only needed Ville Jarvelainen's goal to get the 4-3 SO victory.

Stars goaltender Charles Williams again played very well in this game, stopping 31 of 34 shots on net in the loss.  In three preseason games, Williams has a 1.94 gaa, and a .932 save percentage.  I was a believer of Williams after watching him at the Lincoln tryouts this past June, and he is proving me right with his play.  He plays a very calm game between the pipes, but he is also very quick and nimble with his movements.

Overall, I was really impressed at how smart and disciplined the Stars played yesterday against a veteran-laden squad (Green Bay) that many are picking to be one of the top teams in the USHL next season.  After giving up 10 PP opportunities to the Chicago Steel the day before, Lincoln only surrendered 3 PP's to the Gamblers.  Lincoln finished 1-for-4 with the man advantage, while GB finished 0-3 on the PP.  I thought both teams yesterday played very well on the PK.  It seemed like Dominik Shine and Brent Tate played a lot together yesterday on the same line, and both really played well and generated a ton of offensive chances.  Same also with the line that Teemu Tiitinen and Jared Hanson were on.  Kevin Roy is another guy that the fans are really going to have a lot of fun watching live.  Very quick, and skilled forward.

That's about it for my recap.  Sorry for the length, and for waiting until today to get it done.  As I stated above, the Stars return to the ice at the USHL Fall Classic on Saturday, September 24th at 4:00pm CST to face the Youngstown Phantoms.  I plan on watching that game also via FASTHockey, so I hope to have a recap article up later that night after the game.  I also plan on posting some pictures from the Stars-Gamblers game later tonight on the blog, thanks to a faithful reader.


nutz4puckz said...

Thanks for the preseason updates and recaps, they are much appreciated. Just from looking at the box score it seems the guys played a bit more disciplined than in the game from Wednesday.

One week from today we will be getting revved up for the home opener -- can't wait!!

Yeti said...

Hard to believe it's only one week away, nutz4puckz! w00t!