Saturday, March 3, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap 3/3: Lincoln 5, Des Moines 2

A big third period by the Lincoln Stars tonight propelled them to an impressive 5-2 road win over the Des Moines Buccaneers.  The Stars outscored the Bucs 4-1 in the third period to snap Des Moines' five-game home winning streak.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the win and the two points, the Stars improved to 28-15-5 (60 points) and are still in sole possession of second place in the USHL Western Conference.  Click here to view the current USHL standings.

I didn't watch the game on FastHockey tonight, but I did listen to the radio broadcast.  I hope to post some video highlights from the game sometime later, courtesy of the Des Moines Bucs Highlights twitter page.  When those highlights get posted on youtube, I will post them here.

Stars got out to a quick 1-0 lead in this game thanks to an even-strength goal from Luke Johnson just 2:50 into the game.  Brent Tate collected the lone assist on Johnson's 14th goal of the season.  Johnson has now scored a goal in three straight games.  Johnson's goal would give the Stars a 1-0 lead going into the first intermission.  Bucs outshot the Stars 15-13 in the first period.

The Bucs would get on the scoreboard late in the second period to knot the game up at 1-1.  Chad McDonald of Des Moines scored a goal just as a Stars penalty was ending at the 17:59 mark of the second.  The Bucs outshot the Stars 14-10 in the second period.

As I mentioned above, the Stars exploded in the third period with four goals to take control of the game and seal the victory.  Brent Tate started the scoring with a PP goal just 37 seconds into the period with an assist going to Ralfs Freibergs.

At the 7:51 mark, Stars affiliate player Vinnie Lettieri scored his first USHL goal to give the Stars a 3-1 lead. Lettieri, who will finish the season and playoffs with the Stars, scored what would turn out to be the game-winning goal.  Vinni's goal was unassisted.

Matt Friese scored his 8th goal of the season at the midpoint mark of the third period to increase Lincoln's lead to 4-1.  Markus McCrea earned the only assist on Friese's goal.

The Bucs would score at the 15:32 mark to pull Des Moines to within two goals at 4-2.  However, the Stars would finish out the third period scoring with Kevin Roy's empty net goal coming with only 26 seconds left in the game.  The goal was Roy's 40th of the season, and was assisted by Mike McKee and Vinni Lettieri.

The #1 star of the game tonight was Lincoln goaltender Charles Williams who stood on his head and stopped 42 of 44 shots to record his 12th win of the season.  Great effort by CW3 tonight.  Lets hope the coaches stay with Williams next weekend when the Stars go back on the road with games against Team USA and Muskegon.

Lincoln finished the game 1-for-2 on the powerplay, while the Bucs went 0-for-8 with the man advantage.  Great to see the much aligned Stars penalty kill unit come up huge tonight.  In order to win the special teams war, your goaltender must be your best penalty-killer.  That certainly was the case tonight with Charles.

Just when the Stars offense couldn't get any more lethal, they added the youngster Vinnie Lettieri to the lineup.  I've highlighted Vinni before on this blog, but for those who are unfamiliar with him, here's the skinny.  Vinni was a 2011 USHL Futures Draft pick of the Stars and played this season in Minnesota with his Minnetonka high school team.  After his team was eliminated in the state playoffs this past week, Lettieri joined the Stars and will finish out this season in Lincoln.  Born in '95, Lettieri is now the youngest player on the Stars roster.  Despite his young age, this is a player many scouts are drooling over.  Vinni has committed to play collegiate hockey at the University of Minnesota.  He'll wear #7 for Lincoln for the remainder of this season.

Stars forward Dominik Shine was injured in this game, and did not return to ice afterwards.  Listening to head coach Chad Johnson after the game, it sounds like Shine will undergo testing for a possible concussion on Monday.  Hopefully Shine isn't injured too badly and can return to the lineup next weekend when the Stars will be back in his home state of Michigan.

Nice to see the boys rebound from the disappointing home loss last night to Cedar Rapids with a full 60 minute effort on the road in a hostile barn.  Let's hope they can keep the road winning streak of two games rolling next weekend in Michigan.

Go Stars.

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