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Goaltender Nick Schmit got the start for the Stars in this game. Michael Bitzer had the night off, so the backup goaltender was Jake Ireland. Schmit and Ireland are competing for the backup position behind Bitzer.
Scratches for Lincoln were (F) Magnus Hoff, (F) Jonathan Desbiens, (F) Tommy Marchin, (D) Zach Frye, (F) Hunter Anderson. Basically, every player that scored a goal in Friday's 5-2 win over Fargo got to watch this game from the stands. I assume that's the coaches way of saying, "you've earned the night off." Also, the coaches want to play the kids who are considered borderline to make the team.
Lincoln came out very strong in this game and dominated the first twenty minutes, and outscored the Force 4-0. Shots were 19-6 in favor of the Stars in the first period.
While on a powerplay, the puck found its way through Fargo goaltender Cam Johnson and Stars forward Brandon Smith was in the right place at the right time to bat the loose puck into the wide open net to give Lincoln a 1-0 lead. Max Humitz collected the only assist on Smith's goal at the 6:25 mark.
Less than two minutes later, Stars forward John Simonson scored what would be the first of two goals on the night at the 8:17 mark of the first. After a Keegan Ward shot was initially stopped by Cam Johnson, the rebound came to a streaking Simonson who buried the puck glove-high past the Fargo goaltender and into the net. Ward and and Ryan Ivey earned the assists on Simonson's even-strength goal.
Only 24 seconds after his first tally, Simonson caught the Force defense and Cam Johnson napping with his second goal of the game. A turnover behind the Force goal led to the puck squirting out to a wide open Simonson who wristed the puck short side past Johnson. The unassisted goal came at the 8:41 mark of the first period.
Lincoln finished their first period scoring bonanza later in the stanza, again on the power play. A shot by Stars forward Dan Kucerovy was stopped by Johnson, but the rebound came to defenseman Connor Chambers who batted the rebound into the open net for Lincoln's second PP goal of the night. Kucerovy and David Parrottino picked up the assists on Chambers' PP tally at the 17:08 mark of the third period.
Lincoln took a 4-0 lead into the first intermission, and that is basically all that they needed offensively to win this game.
The second period saw both teams play pretty evenly, and the Force finally got on the scoreboard at the 12:08 mark when Luke McColgan scored on a fluke deflection. It looked to me like the puck bounced off a Stars defender before getting past Nick Schmit.
Both teams put 9 shots on goal in the second period, and the Stars took a 4-1 lead into the second intermission.
The third period saw the Force play their best hockey of the game, but the Schmit shut the door and stopped all 15 shots on goal he faced in the final twenty minutes. I'm not sure if the Force finally work up, or if Lincoln took their foot off the pedal, but the puck was in Lincoln's zone most of the third period. Fargo outshot Lincoln 15-7 in the final stanza.
Stars goaltender Nick Schmit played very solid between the pipes for the Stars, as he stopped 30 of 31 for the win. Force netminder Cam Johnson stopped 31 of 35 in the loss. Forgo went 0-for-4 on the powerplay in this game, and were 0-for-11 with the man advantage in the two preseason games this weekend against Lincoln. The Stars went 2-for-6 on the PP on Saturday night, and were 2-for-9 over the two games in Fargo.
Pretty good effort once again, especially defensively. I thought the Force pulled away from the Stars a little bit in the third period, but overall I thought the Stars played better team defense in the win tonight compared to the win on Friday evening.
The Stars will take a few days off to rest up and practice before making the trek up to Sioux City, IA next week for the USHL Fall Classic (West), which will be held on September 11-12 (Wed and Thu). I will be posting a Fall Classic preview article here on the blog early next week, so keep an eye out for that.
I'm planning on being at the Fall Classic as well, so I will get a chance to see the Stars in person for the first time this preseason. Really looking forward to that. Until then....