Saturday, October 12, 2013
Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.
With the loss, the Stars fell to 0-2-2 (2 points) and are alone in last place in the USHL western conference. Waterloo improved to 3-1-0 with the road win.
You can pretty much summarize this game with how both teams played in the first twenty minutes. The Stars came out very flat, while the Blackhawks took control of the game thanks to their superior teams. Waterloo had four powerplay opportunities in the first period and scored on two of them, while the Stars' PP unit was held scoreless in 3 PP opportunities.
Stars goaltender Nick Schmit started this game for Lincoln, but was pulled after surrendering the third Waterloo tally. I know Schmit probably would like a do-over with this game, but I also think he didn't get a lot of help out there. As good as Lincoln's penalty kill unit looked in the preseason and the first few games of the regular season, it did not look good last night. Give credit to Waterloo for that.
Waterloo took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission and led in shots, 12-5. Schmit stopped 5 of 8 shots before he was pulled in favor of Michael Bitzer.
In the second period, the Stars played much better, but Waterloo added another powerplay goal at the 8:44 mark to take a 4-0 lead. Referee Lucas Martin was certainly whistle-happy last night, but I thought there were some bad calls on both sides of the ice.
Stars forward David Parrottino finally got the home team on the scoreboard with a snipe at the 12:36 mark of the second period. Luke Voltin and Connor Frantti collected the assists on Parrottino's even-strength goal.
Waterloo took a 4-1 lead into the second intermission and led in shots, 24-19. The Stars outshot Waterloo 14-12 in the middle stanza.
In the third, the Blackhawks added their fourth powerplay goal of the game at the 15:19 mark to complete the scoring. Lincoln didn't play as aggressive in the third period, and Waterloo outshot them 13-8 in the final twenty minutes. The Blackhawks outshot Lincoln overall, 37-27.
Michael Bitzer stopped 27 of 29 shots on goal in relief of Nick Schmit, who picked up the loss. Blackhawks goaltender Cal Petersen stopped 26 of 27 to get the win.
Waterloo finished 4-for-9 on the powerplay, while Lincoln went 0-for-8. As I mentioned above, those stats pretty much sum up this game. Both teams spent a lot of time in the sin bin, but Waterloo took advantage with the four powerplay goals. Unfortunately, Lincoln's special teams was anything but special last night. Through four games, the Stars have the second-worse PP and PK units in the USHL.
Stars captain Zach Frye picked up a five-minute major for head contact (and a ten-minute game misconduct) late in the third period after an elbow to a Waterloo player who was already on his knees. It wouldn't surprise me if the league hands out a suspension for that hit. We'll have to wait and see how that works out. Losing Frye would definitely hurt, especially against a team like the Sioux Falls Stampede, whom the Stars play tonight (Saturday).
It won't get any easier for the Stars as a grumpy Sioux Falls Stampede club will visit the IceBox tonight (Saturday). Surprisingly, the first-place Stampede were shutout by the Omaha Lancers last night by a score of 2-0. I'm sure the Stampede will be ready to take out their frustration on the Stars, so the good guys will have to be ready. Speaking of the Lancers, Omaha has gotten out to an unbelievable start. They are 4-0-0 so far through four games, and they have not given up one goal. You read that right. They have outscored their opponents 15-0 through four games. Lancers goaltender Cole Bruns has four straight shutouts to start the regular season. Unbelievable.
It wasn't pretty Friday night, but you have to think the play will improve as this team gets more experience. When you lose 98% of your goal scoring from the year before, you have to expect some growing pains. I know a lot of fans aren't happy, judging by all the empty seats in the IceBox last night in the third period, but we have to keep the faith. These kids deserve better.
Edit: I'm going to get on my soapbox for just a little bit and talk about the new "rule" that the opposing team has to get on the ice at the IceBox after the light show/starting lineups. I was hoping that when I saw it happen during the home opener it was just a one-time deal, but it appears that it is something that the league has told visiting teams they must do. I know some fans here on this blog had talked about it before, after the Des Moines game last weekend that I missed.
I don't understand the reasoning for it, and so far from what I've seen, I believe kills the atmosphere at the IceBox big time. One of the things Lincoln is known for throughout junior hockey is their great pregame show. You hear interviews from opposing players all the time how crazy the atmosphere is at the IceBox, and how intimidating it can be. I really think having the opposing team on the ice really adds to that excitement, but apparently the league has neutered that. It's really unfortunate. It's definitely not the same kind of pregame atmosphere we've been used to since the late 1990's.
Posted by Yeti at 9:43 AM