Sunday, January 15, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap 1/14: Omaha 6, Lincoln 3

The Lincoln Stars fell short against the Lancers last night at the IceBox, losing their third straight to Omaha, this time by a score of 6-3.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the loss the Stars dropped to 19-11-2 (40 points) and slipped to second place in the USHL Western Conference.  Omaha improved to 20-10-2 (42 point) and now have sole possession of first place in the west.  Click here to view the updates USHL standings.  Third place Waterloo is now only four points behind the Stars with 36 points, and have three games in hand over Lincoln.

This was kind of a strange game.  I thought Lincoln came out and played very well for the majority of the first two periods.  They outshot Omaha 15-7 in the first, and 9-3 in the second.  However, the Lancers got very lucky with their first two goals and took at 2-0 lead into the second intermission.  Despite putting 24 shots on Omaha goaltender Alex Lyon through the first 40 minutes of the game, they could not find the back of the net.

From my seat, it appeared that the two first Omaha goals were deflections.  In the first period. a shot Ken Babinski of Omaha hit a Lincoln skate in front of Stars goaltender Jackson Teichroeb and found the back of the net.

In the second period, with the Lancers on the powerplay, a point shot by Omaha's Nolan Zajac was deflected by Casey Bailey and behind Teichroeb.  It's hard to fault Teichroeb with those two goals, in my opinion.  When the puck changes direction just a few feet in front of you, it's nearly impossible to be quick enough to make the save.

So going into the third period, the Stars found themselves down 2-0.  That would change quickly as both teams combined for seven goals in the third period .

Lincoln's Kevin Roy scored his league-leading 27th goal of the season just 32 seconds into the first period to bring the crowd to life and pull the Stars to within one goal at 2-1.  After getting a pass from Brent Tate, Roy skated to the center of the Omaha zone, pulled the puck back to himself, and sent a wicked wrister glove-high past Alex Lyon.

In what would turn out to be a familiar theme in the third period, the Lancers seemed to get a little mad after each Stars goal and put the pressure on to score goal after goal.  Less than two minutes after Roy's goal, Max Vallis of the Lancers scored to give his team a two-goal lead once again at the 2:04 mark.  However, just 14 seconds after Vallis' goal, Lincoln's Markus McCrea scored (unassisted) to make it a one goal game again at 3-2 at the 2:18 mark.

Less than one minute after McCrea scored, the Lancers would score again.  Omaha's Nolan Zajac had one of the prettiest goals I've seen at the IceBox this year when he scored at the 3:09 mark of the third to give his team a 4-2 lead.  Zajac deked around one Stars defender before putting an amazing move on Teichroeb and depositing the puck into an open net.  All of a sudden this game turned into a tennis match.  The goal scoring went back and forth with Omaha answering every Lincoln goal with a goal of their own.

Jared Hanson would answer for Lincoln at the 6:47 mark when he sent a stray rebound from Alex Lyon into the Omaha net to pull the Stars to within one goal again at 4-3.  Kevin Roy and Logan Smith earned the assists on Hanson's 15th goal of the season.  Unfortunately for the Stars, this was a close as they would get to the Lancers for the rest of the game.

Omaha finished off the third period scoring with two goals, including an empty-net goal, to pull ahead of the Stars and win the game by a score of 6-3.  Those two goals came late in the period, so the final score really isn't indicative of how close this game was.  The Lancers played very strong in the third period, and outshot the Stars 13-10.

Give credit to Omaha because they certainly deserved to win this game.  Unlike their last matchup on 1/7/12 in which the Lancers scored three powerplay goals, neither team really won the specials teams war last night.  Omaha was 1-for-4 with the man advantage, while Lincoln went 1-for-5.  The Stars outshot the Lancers overall last night, 34-23.

I thought the two areas that Omaha was much better than the Stars last night was team speed, and goaltending.  I was really impressed with how fast the Lancers got up the ice from their own defensive zone and into the Stars zone.  They have a number of smaller, speedster type players that created havoc all night long.  At times, it seemed like the Stars defenseman had a hard time keeping some of the Omaha forwards from skating around them.

Omaha goaltender Alex Lyon made some really big saves throughout the game and was a big reason why his team left the IceBox with two points.  During the first two periods when the Stars were swarming around him, Lyon played cool, calm, and collected.

On the other end of the ice, I know Jackson Teichroeb would like some of those third period goals back.  The first two Omaha goals came off deflections, which are nearly impossible to save.  In the end, Teichroeb stopped 17 of 22 shots on goal in the loss.  Teichroeb is on a bit of a down stretch, having lost four of his last five games.  He is also 0-3 against the Lancers this season and has surrendered 12 goals in those three losses.

Unlike last year where the Stars beat up on the Lancers each time they played them, Omaha seems to have Lincoln's number thus far thi season.  After beating the Lancers in their first matchup this season, the Stars are 0-3 against Omaha and have been outscored 18-7 in those three games.  Ugly numbers, for sure.

The Stars will look to bounce back this Tuesday night in a rare mid-week game at the IceBox against the Tri-City Storm.  I'll preview that game later on Monday.  Thanks for reading.

Go Stars.

No comments: