Sunday, April 1, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap 3/31: Lincoln 5, Omaha 4

The Lincoln Stars snapped their six-game losing streak to the Lancers tonight with a dramatic come from behind victory at the Civic Auditorium in Omaha by a score of 5-4.  The heroes of the game were Matt Friese who scored three goals for the hat trick, and Kevin Roy, who broke a 4-4 tie late in the third period with his 48th goal of the season, which is a new franchise record.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the win and the two points, the Stars improved to 34-17-4 (72 points) and are now only one point behind the first place Omaha Lancers (73 points) in the USHL Western Conference.  The Stars still have two games in hand over the Lancers, and have a better winning percentage (.655 for Lincoln to .640 for Omaha). Click here to view the updated USHL standings.

I watched the game on FastHockey tonight, but I regret now not being one of the many Stars fans who made the trip to the Civic.  If you were in attendance tonight, please leave a comment below.  I'd love to hear from you.

Lincoln came out very strong tonight, and scored two quick goals early on to take a 2-0 lead in the first period.  Luke Johnson scored first, his 19th of the season, at the 2 2:29 mark with the lone assist going to Ralfs Freibergs.  It was a nice play by Freibergs who stepped up to intercept an Omaha clearing attempt, and then passed it to a wide open Johnson who buried a shot stick side on Lancers goaltender Alex Lyon.

About two minutes after Johnson's goal, Matt Friese drove hard to the net and scored his 10th goal of the season on a juicy rebound left by Lyon.  Jared Hanson and Zach Frye collected the assists.

Omaha started to take back control of the game late in the first period and were rewarded for their good play with a pretty goal scored by Tanner Lane.  Lane fake out a Stars defenseman and then beat goaltender Charles Williams to pull Omaha to within one goal.  Stars outshot the Lancers 11-4 in the first period.

In the second, the Lancers took advantage of some questionable calls by referee Christopher Pitoscia to outscore the Stars 3-1 in the period.  For the most part, the Stars played the entire period with at least one player in the penalty box.  Two of the three Omaha goals scored in the 2nd came on the powerplay, and both were 5-on-3 PP goals.  It was ugly, for sure.  Matt Friese scored the lone Stars goal in the second period, with an assist going to Kevin Roy.

Because of some of the questionable calls made by Pitoscia, Lincoln associate head coach Jimmy McGroarty picked up an "abuse of officials" bench minor, and head coach Chad Johnson picked up an "abuse of officials" misconduct and was forced to leave the bench after the second period concluded.

Down 4-3 going into the third period, the Stars could have rolled over on their backs and let the Lancers skate to another win.  However, Matt Friese answered the call early in the third period with a PP goal to knot the game up at 4-4.  Friese's goal, his third of the game, was assisted by Kevin Roy and Luke Johnson.

Wit the score tied up at 4-4 halfway through the second period, the USHL's leading scorer provided the fireworks and the late heroics.  Kevin Roy intercepted a lazy Omaha pass at the blueline, outskated a defenseman, and broke in alone on Alex Lyon.  Roy put a quick deke on Lyon, went to the backhand, and then roofed the puck to score his 48th goal of the season, which is a new Stars franchise record for most goals in a season.  The previous record was held by Brandon Bochenski, who scored 47 goals in 2000-01 for the Stars.

What more can you say about this kid.  The franchise record 48th goal turns out to be the game-winner against Omaha, in their barn, to snap a six-game losing streak to the Lancers.  Clutch.

Stars outshot Omaha overall, 32-24.  Lancers went 2-for-9 on the powerplay, while the Stars were fortunate enough to be granted four PP opportunities, and scored on one.  Charles Williams stopped 20 of 24 shots to record his 17th win of the season.

The Stars took a bus to Des Moines, IA tonight where they will sleep for the night before driving on to Waterloo to face the Blackhawks on Sunday afternoon.  The puck will drop at 3:05pm for that game.  If Lincoln can win tomorrow, they will leapfrog the Lancers and be in first place in the west.  The Waterloo Blackhawks are only four points behind the Stars, so they have a lot riding on this game as well.

I really loved the never say die effort tonight, especially in that third period.  Despite the calls, the Stars really pushed the play and wanted it more than the Lancers in the third period.  They certainly deserved the win.

Go Stars.

Edit:  Carl Kacvinski of CK Photography got some great shots of Roy scoring the game-winner tonight.  I thought I'd share them with all of you.  Enjoy!  The shot above is the celebration after Roy's goal.  Thanks, Carl!


starsfan said...

Great effort by the boys tonight! They get the win in spite of Petunia's terrible calls! We all know Omahole is the darling of the USHL but really 4-5 on 3 power plays in two nights? And I've come to the conclusion that Jimmy (I can slash you in the back of the legs but if you touch me Petunia will call a penalty) Murray is the cheapest player on the ice! Omaha has truly become the Cedar Rapids of the western conference-hell they were falling down without anyone near them trying to garner a power play. Everyone in the league knows they can't win without a power play goal or three. A quick look at their +/- stats tells the whole story!
Hurray to the good guys-Matt Freise was on fire last night!!

nutz4puckz said...

OUTSTANDING WIN. Clutch with Kevin is right on. The only thing that would have made Kevin's record breaker any sweeter would had it have come at the Ice Box. Now go get two more this afternoon!!