Friday, September 6, 2013

B³ Postgame Recap: Lincoln 5, Fargo 2 (preseason)

The Lincoln Stars opened up the 2013 preseason schedule Frida evening with a 5-2 road victory over the Fargo Force at Scheels Arena in Fargo, ND.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.  Lincoln is now (1-0) in the preseason and will look to improve to (2-0) Saturday night in Fargo against the Force.

Michael Bitzer got the start for Lincoln in this matchup and played the entire game.  Scratched for the Stars were (F) Christian Lampasso, (F) Dominick Sacco, (F) Luke Voltin, (F) Keegan Ward, and (D) Luke Shiplo.

In the first period, the Stars struck early thanks to some nice teamwork by forwards Jonathan Desbiens and Magnus Hoff.  Desbiens skated into the Fargo defensive zone and sent a centering pass to a breaking Hoff who quickly fired the puck past Force goaltender Brendan Jensen to give Lincoln the 1-0 lead at the 4:08 mark of the first period.  Desbiens and Zach Frye picked up the assists on Hoff's even-strength tally.

I thought the Stars started out playing very well in the first period, but the Force woke up in the latter half of the period and outplayed Lincoln.  However, the Stars hung onto the 1-0 lead going into the first intermission.  Fargo outshot Lincoln 18-7 through the first 20 minutes.

Fargo and Lincoln exploded for a total of four goals in the second period, with each team getting two a piece.  Like the first period, the Stars got out to a quick start in the second when forward Tommy Marchin scored exactly one minute into the second stanza.  After a Jonathan Desbiens shot on goal was saved by Jensen, the rebound bounced to Tommy Marchin in the slot, who one-timed it into the open net.  Desbiens and Magnus Hoff picked up the assists on Marchin's even-strength goal.

With Lincoln leading 2-0 in the second, Fargo scored at the 14:01 mark to pull within one goal.  Andrew McDonald of the Force was able to slip the puck past Bitzer on a goal-mouth scramble to put Fargo on the scoreboard.

Less than two minutes after McDonald's goal, the Stars answered right back to increase their lead to two goals.  Jonathan Desbiens scored at the 15:48 mark on a nice individual effort to give the Stars a 3-1 lead.  After getting a pass from Hunter Anderson at the side of the net, Desbiens quickly made a few moves and deked out Jensen before putting the puck into the open net.  Anderson and Magnus Hoff picked up the assists on Desbiens' even-strength goal.

With only 1:36 remaining in the third period, a sloppy turnover in the Lincoln defensive zone allowed Force forward Alex Jackstadt to score for Fargo to pull them within one goal once again.  Hard to fault Bitzer at all on this goal as his teammates fell asleep in their own zone.

Stars took at 3-2 lead into the second intermission.  Shots were 36-20 in favor of Fargo through sixty minutes.

In the third, the lone goal from either squad came from Lincoln forward Hunter Anderson at the 14:56 mark of the period.  After a point shot from defenseman Daniel Willett was saved by Jensen, Anderson was right there to collect the rebound and sent the puck into the open net past the sprawling Fargo goaltender.  Willett and Magnus Hoff.

After sixty minutes, the score of this game was 4-2 in favor of Lincoln.  Most in attendance and watching at home assumed the game was over, but both teams played an additional 5 minute overtime period which featured 3-on-3 hockey.  3:48 into the extra session, Zach Frye scored on a 2-on-1 to complete the scoring at 5-2.  Daniel Kucerovy collected the only assist on Frye's OT goal.

Based on some tweets I saw Friday evening, it appears that the USHL is testing out the possibility of having teams play 5 minutes of 3-on-3 overtime hockey during the regular season if teams are tied after regulation.  I hope that happens.

As usual, Michael Bitzer stood on his head and kept Lincoln in this game.  Bitzer stopped 45 of 47 shots to record the win.  Total shots on goal were 45-39 in favor of Fargo.

The line of Hunter Anderson-Magnus Hoff-Jonathan Desbiens combined for 9 points (3g, 6a) against the Force, and were +11.  Hoff led all scorers with four points (1g, 3a) and was +4.  

The Stars spent a good amount of time in the penalty box, but the Force could not score with the man advantage in seven opportunities.  Equally, the Stars went 0-for-3 on the powerplay.  Stating the obvious here, but I don't think the shots against would have been as bad if Fargo didn't have seven PP chances in this contest.

Considering the Stars just had their first team practice this past Wednesday, I thought the team played pretty well.  There is a lot to be positive about, and some obvious things to work on.  But that's what preseason games are for.  This game did not have a lot of flow due to some of the sloppy play and all of the whistles, but that will improve.

These two teams will face each other again Saturday night in Fargo.  Like this game, the contest on Saturday evening will be broadcast on FASTHockey.com for free.  I'll be watching for sure and will report back here to the blog afterwards with a full recap.

Go Stars.

1 comment:

Brandon Anderson said...

I really dont like the idea of 3on3 OT hockey. since this is a development league I think the USHL should be doing what the NHL or even NCAA are doing regarding the OT either skate 4 on 4 for 5 min and then have a shoot out or sudden death 5 on 5 hockey. I prefer the 2nd option of the sudden death.