Friday, October 5, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap 10/5: Des Moines 2, Lincoln 5

Courtesy of Shooting Star Photos
The Lincoln Stars won the special teams war Friday night at the IceBox, scoring three shorthanded goals, and one powerplay goal to pull away from the visiting Des Moines Buccaneers and win by a score of 5-2.  The Stars are now 2-0-0 on the young season and are in first place in the USHL Western Conference.

Click here to view the Poinstreak boxcore.

I thought the Stars came out very, very strong in this game and played a good physical game.  Bodies were flying all over the place in the first period.  Lincoln was rewarded on an early powerplay opportunity when Eric Scheid scored at the 5:57 mark of the first to give the Stars a 1-0 lead.  On the play, Scheid skated towards the Des Moines net from the corner, and appeared to be trying to center the puck but it deflected of a Des Moines player and into the open net.  Justin Woods picked up the only assist on Scheid's powerplay goal.

As well as the Stars played in the first period, the Bucs didn't back down and were able to score their first goal of the game roughly two minutes after Scheid's goal.  Bucs defenseman Marcus Ericsson appeared to shoot the puck from just inside the Stars' blueline, and it deflected at least once before getting past Lincoln goaltender Michael Bitzer.  From my seat, the puck possibly changed directions at least once before finding the open net.  I'm not sure Bitzer saw the puck at all.

At the end of the first period, the score was tied up at 1-1.  Shots were even also at 11 a piece.

Allthough the Bucs outplayed the Stars for most, if not all of the second period, the Stars were able to outscore Des Moines 1-0 in the period.  Lincoln outshot Des Moines 12-7 in the second period, but again, I thought the Bucs clearly outplayed the Stars in the period.  I didn't see the sense of urgency and physicality that was present by the Stars in the first period.  However, very late in the second period, the Stars took their first lead of the game when Eric Scheid scored his second goal of the game.

On the play, Will Suter rifled a shot that was initially saved by Bucs goaltender Billy Christopoulos, but the rookie netminder kicked out a juicy rebound to a streaking Scheid, who was able to bury the puck into the open net.  Scheid's second goal of the game, which came with only 29 seconds remaining in the second period, was scored at even-strength.  Suter and Tommy Schutt earned the assists.  Scheid's late second period goal was a big one, and despite looking a little lost in the second stanza, it gave the Stars a boost of confidence going into the second intermission.

At the end of the second period, the Stars held onto a 2-1 lead.  Lincoln led in shots 23-18 through the first forty minutes of the game.

The Bucs outshot Lincoln 12-7 in the third period, but the Stars outscored Des Moines 3-1 in the final twenty minutes of the game.  Two of Lincoln's three goals in the third were scored on an empty net.

Will Suter scored his first goal of the game at the 3:44 mark of the third thanks to a very nice pass by Eric Scheid on a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush.  Scheid skated the puck into the zone before somehow getting a tape-to-tape pass to a wide open Suter who wristed the puck into the open net.  This was a HUGE goal, as it gave the Stars that insurance goal (two-goal lead) it needed early in the third period.  It also turned out to be the eventual game-winning goal.  Scheid and Tommy Schutt earned the assists on Suter's first goal of the season.

The Bucs crept back into the game at the 16:10 mark of the third period when Michael Marnell scored to pull Des Moines to within one goal at 3-2.  I didn't get a good look at this goal, but it appeared Bitzer was either screened on the play, or just didn't see the puck.

Des Moines was given new life after Marnell's goal, and it seemed that they might be able to get back into the game after the Stars were whistled for a "too many men on the ice" bench minor with 1:53 left in the game.  However, the Stars scored two shorthanded goals in the 1:15 of the period to seal the 5-3 victory.

First, Will Suter outskated two Des Moines players to the puck and scored on an empty net at the 18:45 mark of the period.  The Bucs had pulled goaltender Billy Christopoulos for the extra attacker while on the powerplay, but Suter turned on the jets and beat two Bucs players to the puck before tapping the puck into an open net.  Zach Frye added another empty-net, shorthanded goal with 36 seconds remaining.

Tommy Schutt and Paul LaDue picked up assists on Suter's second goal of the game.  Frye's empty-netter was unassisted.

The Pointstreak boxscore from last night shows Zach Frye's empty-net goal coming at even-strength, but I'm pretty sure that's incorrect.  As I mentioned above, the Stars were whistled for a "too many men on the ice" bench minor with 1:53 left in the third period.  So Frye's goal with 36 seconds remaining should have been shorthanded as well.  I'll keep an eye on the Pointstreak boxscore to see if that changes.

Lincoln went 1-for-2 on the powerplay while the Bucs were blanked, going 0-for-5 with the man advantage.  The Stars definitely won the special teams war, scoring one PP goal and three SH goals.  As a friend pointed out to me, the Stars have scored four shorthanded goals in two games this season.  Last season, the Stars scored four shorthanded goals TOTAL in 60 regular season games.

Lincoln's line of Eric Scheid-Tommy Schutt-Will Suter was dominant in this game, as they scored a total of 8 points (4g, 4a) and were a combined +8.  Without a doubt, that line was Lincoln's best against the Bucs.

Stars goaltender Michael Bitzer earned his first USHL win Friday night as the Moorhead, MN native stopped 28 of 30 shots on goal.  Bitzer made a number of game-saving stops, and in the process showed off an amazingly quick glove hand.  Both of the goals he gave up were ones that I'm not sure any other goaltender would be able to make.  He looked very solid in his USHL debut, in my opinion.

Stars Co-Captain Dominik Shine was whistled for a head-butting major and a game misconduct at the end of the second period, and will be suspended for next Friday's home game against the Tri-City Storm.  Lincoln's other Co-Captain, Mike McKee, did not play against the Bucs after he was assessed a one-game suspension by the league after his fight last Friday against the Sioux Fall Stampede.  We need these two players on the ice, and not in street clothes watching from the stands.  Both need to play smarter.

Just like last weekend, the Stars will take today (Saturday) off and will not return to action until next Friday night when they will take on the Tri-City Storm at the IceBox.  Next Saturday, the Stars will travel to Kearney to play the Storm again in what will be Lincoln's first road game of the season.  More on that home-and-home weekend series later next week.

If you were at the game, please leave a comment below.  I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions!

Go Stars!


Anonymous said...

Suter without a scholarship offer is dumbfounding to me! Help me out with this one! A captain who continually leaves everything on the ice......HELLO!

Yeti said...

I completely agree, Anonymous. I've always been a big Will Suter fan. The kid hustles every shift and leads by example. Good things happen for those who work hard. Will busts his ass every game and leaves it all on the ice.

I'm convinced he'll earn that hockey scholarship this season. If I'm a college hockey coach, I'd definitely want him on my team. He's a warrior.