Sunday, December 18, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 12/17: Lincoln 2, Green Bay 3 OT

Jared Hanson scored a game-tying goal with only 1.3 seconds remaining in the third period to force overtime, but it was the hometown Green Bay Gamblers that won it in the extra period over the Lincoln Stars by a score of 3-2.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the overtime loss (and the one point), the Stars will head into the USHL holiday break with a record of 15-8-2 (32 points), and are now tied for first place in the USHL Western Conference with the Omaha Lancers.  The Lancers have played one more game than the Stars, and have one more loss.  Lincoln has a .640 winning percentage, while Omaha has a .615 winning percentage.  Click here to view the USHL standings.

I decided to watch this game on FASTHockey, and I'm glad I did.  This was a very good matchup between two of the top teams in the USHL right now.

In what has become an unfortunate hallmark for this Lincoln squad, the Stars came out a bit sluggish in the first twenty minutes and fell behind early to the Gamblers.  I'm not sure what it is about this team, but it seems that more often than not, they play uninspired hockey in the first period.  They are certainly not a team that starts strong, but thankfully, they do seem to turn it on and play better as the game progresses.

Green Bay got out to a 2-0 lead in the first period thanks to two different defensive turnovers made by the Stars in their own end.  On GB's first goal, Nick Schmaltz stripped the puck from a Stars defenseman behind the net and then centered it to a wide open Sam Kerr who snapped the puck past Stars goaltender Charles Williams.  

The second GB goal came when Nicholas Schilkey picked the pocket of another Stars defenseman just inside the blueline, and then drove hard to the net before passing it over to Alex Kile who one-timed the puck past Williams to increase the lead to 2-0.  Hard to blame Williams on either of those two goals.  His defensemen left him out to dry for sure.

Lincoln outshot Green Bay 13-11 in the first period, but many of those 13 shots were from bad angles, so Gamblers goaltender Michael Rotolo really didn't have to work too hard to make those 13 saves. 

In the second period, both teams would go scoreless although I thought Lincoln played with more urgency and tested Rotolo with higher quality shots on goal.  Both teams would put up 15 shots on net in the second period.

The Stars would finally get on the board at the 5:55 mark of the third period when Paul LaDue's shot from the point was tipped in by Markus McCrea.  The powerplay goal pulled Lincoln to within one goal at 2-1.  Jared Hanson and Paul LaDue earned the assists on McCrea's fourth goal of the season.  Just like the second period, I thought Lincoln outplayed Green Bay for the most part in the third period, but as the minutes ticked away, it started to appear that Lincoln would not be able to tie the game.

However, Jared "Mr. Clutch" Hanson had other plans.  With only 1.3 seconds remaining in the game, and with Stars goaltender Charles Williams pulled for the extra attacker, Jared Hanson drove hard to the net and knocked the puck past Rotolo on a goal-mouth scramble to knot the game up at 2-2.  At this point of the game, you could say Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye was a happy guy.  Brent Tate earned the only assist on Hanson's tenth goal of the season.  Just when it looked like the Stars would lose their second game of the weekend by one goal in regulation, Hanson came up huge, which seems to be his calling card.  We would go to overtime.

However, just one minute and sixteen seconds into the 4-on-4 five minute overtime period, Gamblers defenseman Jordan Schmaltz ripped a shot past Charles Williams to win the game.  Schmaltz, who was left all alone by the Stars at the blueline, skated a few strides in and snapped the puck glove high past Williams to give his team the 3-2 victory.

Stars outshot Green Bay overall, 39 to 34.  Lincoln goaltender Charles Williams stopped 31 of 34 shots on net in the loss.  Green Bay goaltender Michael Rotolo stopped 37 of 39 shots on goal in the win.  I thought both goaltender played very, very well.  Stars finished 1-for-2 on the powerplay, while the Gamblers went 0-for-3 with the man advantage.  Stars did a great job killing a near two minute 5-on-3 Green Bay powerplay in the second period.

Tough loss, but I thought Lincoln deserved at least a point tonight and they got it thanks to Hanson's heroics.  Hopefully the team can figure out a way to avoid these lazy starts, because if they can, they will continue to win a lot of games.  Lincoln now has the following 10 days off for the holiday break.  The next game for the Stars will be on December 28th in Fargo, against the Force.

I hope everyone out there has a happy and safe holiday season, and thank you for patronizing this blog.  I have plans for some articles this week and next to keep content fresh, so stay tuned for those.  For one of those articles I'm going to highlight some of the younger, up-and-coming players the Stars have drafted recently, and update everyone on where they are playing right now.

Go Stars.  


Billy said...

Any video of Luke Johnson's fight available?

Yeti said...

Hi, Billy. Thanks for the comment.

Copy and paste the youtube link below. Go to the 3:02 mark of the video to see the Luke Johnson fight.