Saturday, February 23, 2013

B³ Postgame Recap: Team USA U-18 5, Lincoln 3

Phil Marinaccio scores on a breakaway in the 3rd period
Courtesy of Shooting Star Photos
Team USA U-18 scored four unanswered goals over the course of the first and second periods to cruise to a 5-3 victory over the Lincoln Stars Friday night at the IceBox.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the loss, the Stars fell to 28-17-3 (55 points) and are still in fifth place in the USHL Western Conference.  The Waterloo Blackhawks, Lincoln's opponent tonight (Saturday), beat Dubuque last night and now are in third place with 58 points.

The Omaha Lancers lost at home to the Sioux City Musketeers last night and are now in fourth place with 56 points.  Click here to view the current USHL standings.

It looked great for the Stars in the first 10 minutes of this game.  They came out strong, physical, and put good pressure on U-18 goaltender Thatcher Demko.  The hard work paid off at the 10:16 mark of the first period when Phil Marinaccio scored a PP goal to give Lincoln it's only lead of the game.

After Marinaccio's goal, you could sense that Team USA finally got the jitters out of their system and started to take control of the game.  What momentum the Stars had early on vanished after Marinaccio's goal, and the U-18's dominated the rest of the contest.

The U-18's scored the next four goals to take a 4-1 lead before Mike McKee scored a shorthanded goal at the 19:02 mark of the second period to bring the Stars to within two goals.  The crowd was back into the game, and it looked like the Stars would be down only two goals going into the third period.

But with only 5 seconds remaining in the second period, the U-18's scored a PP goal and killed whatever momentum that Stars had going into the second intermission.

At the 19:03 mark of the third period, Phil Marinaccio scored his second goal of the game, this time a shorthanded breakaway tally, but it was a little too late.  Lincoln outshot team USA 11-7 in the third period, but could only score the one goal.

Getting back to Phil Marinaccio, he has really performed well since he was obtained from the Cedar Rapids Roughriders for Ross Olsson.  Marinaccio has scored 14 points (7g, 7a) in fourteen games for Lincoln, and arguably has been their best forward the past month or so.

Jake Wood fought Team USA's Sean Malone last night with only 4:53 left in the third period, so there's a good chance he'll be suspended for a game (or two) since players are not allowed to drop the mitts with less than five minutes remaining in the third.

Once again, Lincoln lost the special teams war last night.  The U-18's went 3-for-7 on the power play and scored one shorthanded goal.  So four of Team USA's five goals were due to special teams.  Lincoln went 1-for-4 on the powerplay and surprisingly scored two shorthanded goals.  The Stars have scored 10 shorthanded goals this season, which is tied for the most in the entire USHL.

Jackson Teichroeb stopped 28 of 33 shots before he was pulled at the conclusion of the second period.  Michael Bitzer started the third period and stopped all 7 shots he faced.  I felt bad for Teichroeb last night, as he really didn't get a lot of help from his teammates.

Team USA outshot Lincoln 40-27 last night.  I can't remember when a team outshot the Stars by that large of a margin at home.  Team USA had a whopping 33 shots on goal through the fist two periods.  I think the U-18's eased up a bit in the third period, which allowed the Stars to outshoot USA in the third period.

I was really impressed with how good Team USA U-18 looked last night.  They are as talented as advertised.  It took them about 10 minutes to warm up, but once they did, they took control of the game and never let go.  Speed kills, and that was definitely on display last night.  The U-18's outskated, outshot, and outplayed the Stars.  There wasn't any wasted effort from the U-18's.  I'm never happy when the Stars lose, but it was kinda fun watching the youngsters of Team USA put on a clinic last night.  Lincoln ran into a buzzsaw, so I don't think they should hang their heads today.  Learn from it, and move on.

Because of the loss Friday evening, Saturday's game against Waterloo is huge.  There are only 18 games left in the regular season, so every point right now is very important.  I don't know if it's a "must win" tonight, but if Lincoln wants to play postseason hockey, they'll want to secure the two points against a team that is only three points ahead of them in the standings.

Be loud tonight!  The players need us more than ever.

Go Stars.


lincolnfan said...

i can agree that Team USA played a strong game, but i don't think the Stars gave it their best effort last night. there's too much skating around, chasing after the puck and overall it was just not a good performance by them. i felt like most of the 3rd period we were playing as if we had the lead... little sense of urgency to score goals. time to start holding players (and coaches) accountable if we want to make it to the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

I'm a relative newbie to hockey so I have a couple of questions that may seem kinda dumb, but here goes...1) is Team usa where the majority of our draft picks will come next year? and just how many picks do we have left now that we've traded some of them away?....and 2) I couldn't help but notice a big cheer last night when Bixer got put in the game, am I the only one that thinks the fans don't give Teich a fair shake??....seems to me that the majority of goals scored on him have been from power-plays and breakaways goals where the defense hung him out to dry..last night is a perfect example of whats happened to him all year.

Anonymous said...

Just an observation-it seems like all year long we've had problems bringing the puck up, most of the times it seems we just dump it in and hope we get to it or else make a line change and give up on it all together. That coupled with the fact that our special teams play sucks(for lack of a better word) Aren't these things that can be coached?? or are we doomed to play like this for the remainder of the year? Seems like we have some really good talent, just wondering what your thoughts were on this.

Yeti said...

Anon at 10:36am,

1. No, most of the kids on the U18 roster will be playing college hockey next season. Some will age out of the NTDP program and may play one year of USHL hockey before they go onto college.

I don't know the exact amount of draft picks the Stars have left. There are two USHL drafts: Futures draft (players born in 1997) and the Entry draft. The Stars will select a number of players from those two drafts. I'll have articles about the draft later this spring when the drafts are both held.

2. As I stated in the article, I don't think Teichroeb got a lot of help last night from his teammates. Everyone needs to play better in order to make the playoffs. You can't put any blame on one player, at one position. It's a team effort.

Yeti said...

So people completely understand, I'm not going to allow anonymous pot shots at individual players. I just deleted one that questioned the heart of a certain player. That isn't right, and it won't ever get posted. It's easy to sit on your butt in the stands and question the heart or resolve of a player. It's also easy to come here and question the integrity of individual players under the veil of anonymity.

One of the things I really don't like about running this blog is the negativity that comes out when the team isn't playing like they want to. All of a sudden, I get a bunch of anonymous, negative comments.

Nobody wants to leave comments when the team is winning. I ask for comments all the time after a big win, and never get any.

But people are so quick to criticize and attack players anonymously when the team is struggling. It's frustrating on my end. Makes me seriously consider going back to making people register before they can leave a comment.

Also, I heard from a player parent that there was a "We Want Bitzer!" chant as well as a "USA! USA! USA!" chant that the Stars players heard on the bench. As you can imagine, they weren't very happy about that. I don't understand the mentality of Stars "fans" who would chant stuff like that.


Jason said...

Yeti, you're 100% spot on. It was one of those nights where the 'stars' aligned against them and it's a disservice to team USA's talent to say otherwise. But if there is a time to put all that effort out, it's tonight. Cheer the hits, shots, saves and whatever they do well. For anyone who was at the Waterloo playoff games last year, the 'Box needs that kind of energy.

Anonymous said...

Go Stars.

Anonymous said...

The players are a great bunch of (kids)don't forget they are just kids.