The Lincoln Stars won their 10th straight game to start the season tonight with a well-earned 5-3 road victory over the Musketeers in Sioux City, Iowa.
Click here to view the Poinstreak boxscore.
With the win, the Stars moved to 10-0-0 (20 points) on the season. Lincoln is still tied for first place in the USHL Western Conference with the Waterloo Blackhawks who are 10-1-0 so far this season. Click here to view the current USHL standings.
From my perspective watching the game on FASTHockey tonight, it looked like the Stars came out a bit sluggish to start. Shots by the Stars weren't finding the net, and goaltender Jackson Teichroeb was hung out to dry a few times in the opening period. The Muskies were rewarded around the half-way point of the first period with a goal from Jake Montgomery, which gave Sioux City a 1-0 lead.
The Stars would answer less than five minutes later when Jake Wood scored a very nice goal to knot the game up at 1-1. After accepting a pass from Will Suter, Wood worked his way into the slot in the Sioux City zone before roofing a beauty backhand shot past Muskies goaltender Joe Ballmer. Suter earned the only assist on Wood's fourth goal of the season, which came at even-strength.
At the first intermission the score remained tied at 1-1. Lincoln led in shots 11-5 through the first twenty minutes.
Although they were outshot 10-9 in the second period, the Stars outscored the Musketeers 2-0 in the middle period. At the 2:30 mark, Zach Aston-Reese skated the puck behind and around the Sioux City net before centering a nice pass to a wide open Vinnie Lettieri in the slot who one-timed the puck into the open net to give the Stars its first lead of the game at 2-1. Lettieri actually broke his stick on the shot, which is something you don't see every day. Aston-Reese earned the lone assist on Lettieri's second goal of the season, his second in as many games.
Later in the second period, the Stars would strike again thanks to more nifty passing, this time from forward Eric Scheid. Scheid controlled the puck in the SC zone before firing a tape-to-tape pass to a wide open Zach Frye who fired it past Ballmer for a commanding 3-1 Lincoln lead. Eric Scheid would collect the only assist on Frye's third goal of the season.
Stars took the 3-1 lead into the second intermission, leading in shots 20-15.
In the third period, both teams would score two goals a piece, but in the end it was the Stars winning their 10th straight by a score of 5-3. After a SC goal which brought the Muskies to within one goal at 3-2, Stars alternate captain Will Suter scored a clutch insurance goal to give Lincoln a two-goal lead back at 4-2 with only 3:47 remaining in the game. Will's sixth goal of the season was unassisted. Suter used to play for the Musketeers a few years ago before being released, so I'm sure he was pumped to score on the team that gave up on him.
Sioux City would score a late goal to get within one goal again, but Dominik Shine put the icing on the cake with an empty net, unassisted goal with only 25 seconds remaining to seal the 5-3 victory. Shine has now scored a goal in four straight games, and has 7 goals in 9 games played.
Neither team would score on the powerplay tonight as the Stars went 0-for-3 while the Musketeers went 0-for-2. Despite their undefeated 10-0-0 record, the Stars' powerplay unit isn't very potent. In fact, it's pretty bad. The Stars have scored a total of 3 powerplay goals in 35 opportunities through 10 games played, which is "good" enough for second to last in the USHL. They have more shorthanded goals scored (5) than powerplay goals, which is very odd. Once this team starts clicking with the man advantage....look out. It's only a matter of time. Hopefully they can get that turned around soon.
Jackson Teichroeb stopped 21 of 24 shots to record his seventh win of the season. As I stated above, Teichroeb was hung out to dry a few times in this game by his teammates and he came up big each time. Most of the three goals against were screened shots, so it's hard to fault him at all for those. Another solid effort for Teichroeb. He's playing with a ton of confidence and putting the team on his back at times, which is great to see.
Because Stars goaltender Michael Bitzer is playing for Team USA in the 2012 World Junior A Challenge, the Stars brought in goaltender Nick Deery from the NAHL Brookings Blizzard to be Teichroeb's backup. Click here to view Deery's stats with the Blizzard. Deery will stay and practice with the team for the next couple of weeks while Bitzer is away. Who knows, he may even get to get to start a game for the Stars.
Considering the Stars were missing key players such as Mike McKee, Luke Johnson, Justin Woods, and Michael Bitzer from the lineup, I thought the Stars played very, very well tonight. It wasn't exactly pretty at times, but they got the job done. That's the bottom line, getting the two points. Quality team effort tonight. They should all be very proud.
I hope to post some photos from this game sometime on Saturday courtesy of Shooting Stars Photos. Stay tuned for that.
Big home game Saturday night against Fargo! Let's pack the IceBox and get loud as hell! Show the boys some love!