Sunday, October 21, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap: Fargo 1, Lincoln 2

Eric Scheid scores in the second period - Courtesy of Shooting Star Photos
In yet another dramatic game at the IceBox on Saturday night, the Lincoln Stars held on for a 2-1 victory and a weekend sweep over the visiting Fargo Force.

Click here to view the Poinstreak boxscore from the game.

The Stars improved to 6-0-0 on the season, and are all alone in first place in the USHL Western Conference.  Click here to view the current USHL standings.

I was out of town all day yesterday, so I was unable to attend this game.  I don't like missing home games, but I was happy to hear that the Stars won last night.  Much thanks go out to a few people on Twitter for keeping me updated last night.  You know who you are.

Since I was in attendance last night, this "recap" will be very brief.  I'd really like to hear from some of you out there who were at the game.  Please leave a comment below!  I'd love to hear how the game played out.

Fargo struck first Saturday night thanks to a shorthanded tally by Gabe Guertler at the 13:25 mark of the first period.  Guertler has a nack for scoring big goals against Lincoln.  He's sort of a pest, but the kid can play.  Over the weekend, Guertler scored four points (3g, 1a) in the two games against Lincoln.  He also scored a shootout goal Friday night as well in Lincoln's 4-3 OT shootout victory.  Guertler's shorthanded goal was the first shorthanded goal the Stars have given up this season.

Lincoln answered back less than two minutes after Guertler's goal when Eric Scheid continued his hot streak with a goal scored at even strength at the 15:09 mark of the period.  Dominik Shine collected the lone assist on Scheid's fifth goal of the season.

Lincoln would take the 1-1 tied into the first intermission.  Stars led in shots 11-7 through the first twenty minutes.

In the second period, the Stars would get a goal from Tommy Schutt at the 15:28 mark of the period, which would turn out to be the game-winner.  Schutt's first goal of the season would turn out to be a huge one.  Will Suter and Jake Wood earned the assists on Schutt's even-strenth goal.

Looking at the boxscore, it appears the Stars couldn't stay out of the penalty box in the second period.  Again, I'd love to hear from the fans who were in attendance.  Were they good penalties?  Were they undisciplined penalties?  Or just bad calls?  The Stars' penalty kill unit must have done a great job last night, blanking the Force in seven powerplay opportunities.

The Stars were outshot 16-7 in the second stanza, thanks to playing shorthanded most of the period, but took the 2-1 lead into the second intermission.

Both teams would put 8 shots on goal in the third period, but neither team would find the back of the net.  For the first time this season, the Stars were outshot by their opponent.  Fargo led in shots 31-26, but the more important stat was the final score.  Lincoln wins their sixth straight to start the season with a gutsy 2-1 victory over the Force.

What more can you say about goaltender Michael Bitzer.  The Moorhead, MN native (which is a suburb of Fargo, ND) stood on his head and stopped 30 of 31 shots to record his third win of the season.  Coaches often say that goaltenders have to be your best penalty killers, and Bitzer certainly was that last night.  Bitzer was named the number one star of the game for his efforts.

I'm sure Bitzer was very eager to get a start against the Fargo Force, since the hometown team failed to draft him in the 2012 USHL Entry Draft.  Instead, the Force selected goaltender Tomas Sholl of the NAHL in the first round.  Sholl, who only lasted a few weeks in Fargo, was cut from the team before he regular season started, and was sent back to his NAHL team.  Many Fargo fans I know were very unhappy that the Force did not draft Bitzer, especially since he was from the area.  I'm sure Bitzer felt pretty good last night that he could put on the Stars uniform, and stick it to the Force coaches who passed over him in the draft.  I have a feeling Bitzer is going to be a thorn in Fargo's side for many games this season.

Staying with the goaltenders, I'm not sure the Stars have ever started a season with two better netminders.  Both Teichroeb and Bitzer have put up some unbelievable numbers through six games played.  Not to minimize what the rest of the team is doing, because the offensive and defensive units are both playing fantastic.  However, Teichroeb and Bitzer are putting the team on their backs and playing lights-out hockey each night.  Here are their stats through six games:

Jackson Teichroeb:  3-0-0, 1.89 goals against average, .931 save percentage
Michael Bitzer:  3-0-0, 1.33 goals against average, .956 save percentage

Most USHL teams are lucky to have one goaltender put up the numbers Teichroeb and Bitzer are putting up.  Lincoln is lucky enough to have two goaltenders with those kind of gaudy numbers.

Eric Scheid (9 points) and Will Suter (9 points) both lead the Stars in points through six games played.  At their current pace, both Scheid and Suter are on track to score 96 points each this season.  No pressure. :)

I can't imagine a better start for the Lincoln Stars through six games played.  This team will get even better when forwards Michael Bunn and David Parrottino are healthy and back in the lineup.  Scary to think what this team could do when 100% healthy.

After playing 5 of their first 6 games at home, the Stars will now embark on a four-game road swing.  Starting next weekend, the Stars will take the 16 hour road trip to Youngstown, OH to face the Phantoms on Friday, before making a trip to Indianapolis to play the Indiana Ice on Saturday.  This will be a good test for the Stars against two quality eastern conference opponents.  More on those games later this week on the blog.

I hope to post pictures from the Saturday night Fargo game later today, so keep an eye out for that.  Once again, I'd really appreciate any comments left by those who were in attendance!  Comments are wide open, and you do not need to register.

Go Stars.


Brandon Anderson said...

I gotta say that most of the penalties in the 2nd period were just plain dumb ones.

Anonymous said...

I think that Frye's roughing penalty in the 3rd was a bad call. In the 2nd Frye pushed an official(unsporstmanlike conduct). Aston-Reese had a bloody nose in the penalty box during the 2nd.