Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Click here to view the Pointstreak.
The loss dropped the Stars to 31-20-3 (65 points), and with Waterloo's 4-1 win over the Chicago Steel last night, the Blackhawks are now tied with Lincoln for third place in the USHL Western Conference.
The Stars are currently five points behind the second place Force, and three points ahead of fifth place Omaha. The Lancers play tonight (Wed) at home against the Tri-City Storm. Click here to view the USHL standings.
I did not watch this game on FASTHockey, but I did listen to the radio broadcast.
In the first period, with about 8 minutes remaining, it appeared that Lincoln would take an early 1-0 lead thanks to a goal from Jimmy DeVito. However, after the goal was initially called as good, it was later ruled that Fargo goaltender Brendan Jensen was interfered with. DeVito's goal was disallowed and the score remained at 0-0.
In the second period, Fargo got on the scoreboard first with a goal from Austin Ortega at the 8:13 mark. About a minute and a half after Ortega's goal, with the Force up 1-0, Stars forward Eric Scheid was whistled for a 5 minute major penalty for charging into Fargo goaltender Brendan Jensen. The Force capitalized on the long PP with a goal from Alex Iafallo at the 13:09 mark.
I've since seen video of Scheid's penalty, and it was a very bad call. Eric got around a Force defenseman wide using his speed, and was driving towards the net before he was pushed from behind at the last minute causing him to knock into Jensen. Scheid was able to put a shot on goal, but it was saved. I like to think I can be objective about calls against the Stars, and in my opinion, the play was not a penalty....and certainly wasn't worth a major penalty.
Regardless, the Force had all the momentum after the Iafallo PP goal and took the 2-0 lead into the second intermission. Fargo outshot Lincoln 15-6 in the second period, largely due to the PP's they had.
Fargo increased their lead to 3-0 later in the third period with a goal from Dominic Toninato at the 12:51 mark. Things were looking bleak for the Stars, but forward Tommy Schutt gave his team some life with a goal scored less than a minute after Toninato's tally.
Later in the third period, with Stars goaltender Michael Bitzer pulled for the extra attacker, Vinni Lettieri scored at the 18:03 mark to pull Lincoln to within one goal. Suddenly, the Stars were in this game.
However, try as they might, Lincoln could not get that game-tying goal.
Austin Ortega potted an empty net goal with less than one minute remaining to finish out the scoring. Lincoln put 17 shots on goal in the third period, but could only get two shots past Jensen.
Fargo outshot the Stars 41-35 overall. The Force went 1-for-4 on the powerplay while Lincoln went 1-for-5. Stars goaltender Michael Bitzer stopped 37 of 40 shots in the loss. Force goaltender Brendan Jensen stopped 33 of 35 for the win.
Lincoln has surrendered 83 shots on goal in their last two games, both of which were against Fargo. That's a lot of pucks for Michael Bitzer to stop. From talking to other Stars fans who watched this game online, it sounded like Fargo had quite a few breakaway chances in this game which were all stopped by Bitzer.
The Stars dressed only five defensemen in this game due to an injury to Zach Frye, and a one game suspension to Mike McKee. Frye was hit in the head last Friday by Muskegon's Cameron Darcy, and has not played since. The good news is that Darcy, who wasn't whistled for a penalty at the time, has since been given a four-game suspension by the USHL. So obviously that was a missed call by the referee that night.
Lincoln will head out to Waterloo this Friday night to face the Blackhawks for the final time in the regular season. After losing their first meeting (in Waterloo) by a score of 10-3, the Stars have reeled off two dominating wins against the Blackhawks to take a 2-1-0 series lead. Both teams are tied with 65 points in the west, so this will be a huge game. On Saturday, Lincoln will be back at the IceBox to battle the Green Bay Gamblers.
Posted by Yeti at 9:33 AM