Lincoln improved to 23-14-3 (49 points), and are still in fifth place in the USHL Western Conference standings, one point behind the fourth place Omaha Lancers. Lincoln needed some help from Fargo this past weekend against Omaha, but didn't get it. Click here to view the current league standings.
This recap will be very short. I was unable to make it to the game, and I was only able to listen to parts of the contest on the radio. I would appreciate any comments left below! Let me know how the team looked.
Surprisingly, the Stars first scored on a powerplay when defenseman Daniel Willett scored at the 14:10 mark to give Lincoln a 1-0 lead. Zach Frye and Vinni Lettieri picked up the assists on Willett's third goal of the season. Glad to see Willett back in the lineup.
Just about a minute later, at the 15:11 mark, Vinni Lettieri scored his first of three goals on the night, to give Lincoln a 2-0 lead. Zach Aston-Reese picked up the lone assist on Lettieri's even-strength goal.
With just two seconds remaining in the first period, Phil Marinaccio scored an even-strength, his tenth of the season, to give the Stars a commanding 3-0 lead going into the first intermission. By all rights, this game was already over.
In the second period, Vinni Lettieri potted his second goal of the game at the 14:58 mark to give the Stars a 4-0 lead. Garrett Brossart and Mike McKee collected the assists on Lettieri's even-strength goal.
The Bucs scored two meaningless goals in the third period before Vinni Lettieri put the icing on the cake with an empty-net goal at the 18:04 mark to complete the hat trick and finish out the scoring. Brossart and ZAR picked up the assists on Lettieri's third goal of the game.
Stars outshot the Bucs 32-28 through the three periods. Michael Bitzer stopped 26 of 28 shots to record his 13th win of the season. Lincoln went 1-for-3 on the powerplay while the Bucs were 0-for-4.
In three of the last four games the Stars have played against the Des Moines Buccaneers, a player for Lincoln has scored a hat trick. On 12/21/12 in Lincoln, Stars forward Michael Bunn scored three goals in Lincoln's 6-1 win over the Bucs. Just last Sunday in Des Moines, Luke Johnson scored three goals in Lincoln's 5-0 shutout win against the Bucs. And now Vinni Lettieri with three goals against Des Moines in the 5-2 win last night at the IceBox.
The Stars are winning games they should in the western conference, which is good. Against the bottom three teams in the west (Des Moines, Tri-City, Sioux City), the Stars have a combined record of 14-1-0 record in fifteen games played. That's impressive, despite those teams' record. I'm of the opinion that there is no bad team in the USHL.
It's hard to believe the "Battles on Ice" outdoor game at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha is less than a week away. I'll have more on that historic game later this week. Before that, the Stars will play a Friday night contest at the IceBox against the Tri-City Storm.