Sunday, November 17, 2013

B³ Postgame Recap: Lincoln 2, Des Moines 1

The Lincoln Stars used a gutsy effort Saturday night in Des Moines, IA to beat the Buccaneers by a score of 2-1, and in turn snapped their seven-game losing streak.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

The win improved Lincoln's record to 3-9-4 (10 points), and moved them into a three-way tie with Fargo and Tri-City for sixth place in the USHL western conference.  Click here to view the current USHL standings.

This will be another brief recap.  I did not watch the FASTHockey broadcast, but I did catch most of the radio broadcast.  I'm not a big fan of FASTHockey, to be honest.  For the amount of money they charge per game, I don't believe it's a good product.  So for most road games I will listen to the radio broadcast only.

In a nice change of pace, the Stars got the first goal of the game when Jason Stephanik scored a 5-on-3 PP tally at the 5:53 mark of the first period to give Lincoln an early 1-0 lead.  That lead would continue into the first intermission with the Stars leading on shots, 14-11.

In the last three minutes of the first period, Stars defensemen Zach Frye and Connor Frantti were both ejected from the game.  Frye picked up a double minor for checking from behind and a 10 minute game ejection misconduct.  Frantti picked up a major penalty for head contact and a game ejection misconduct as well.  Because of the ejections, the Stars played shorthanded on the blueline for the second and third periods.  Both Frye and Frantti have been suspended by the league this season, so it wouldn't surprise me if they have to sit more games after these latest penalties.  Not good.

Late in the second period, the Stars got their second goal, and the eventual game-winner, from forward Luke Voltin.  Lincoln radio announcer Mike Melbye was adamant that Voltin scored the goal, although Pointstreak still shows that Christian Lampasso scored.  Melbye later tweeted that the scoresheet he viewed after the game showed that Voltin scored, so I would assume the Pointstreak boxscore will be changed eventually.  Regardless, the goal at the 16:28 mark gave the Stars a 2-0 lead.

That two-goal cushion wouldn't last long, as the Bucs scored a PP tally less than a minute after to pull to within one goal.  At the second intermission, the Stars led 2-1 with Des Moines leading in shots, 30-25.

Both teams put up 10 shots a piece in the final twenty minutes, but neither club would put the puck in the net.  The Bucs had a lot of PP opportunities in this game, but they were only able to score one PP goal in nine chances.  Coaches often say that a team's best penalty killer is the goaltender, and Michael Bitzer was certainly that last night.

Lincoln went 1-for-8 with the man advantage in the win.  Shots were 40-35 in favor of Des Moines.

Stars goaltender Michael Bitzer was the #1 star of the game as he stopped 39 of 40 shots for the win.  Bucs netminder Billy Christopoulos played well for the second straight game, but it wasn't enough as he stopped 33 of 35 in the loss.  In the two games against the Stars in Des Moines this weekend, Christopoulos stopped 82 of 85 shots on goal.  Considering those numbers, the Stars should feel very fortunate they salvaged two of four points this weekend.

It may not have been pretty, but props to the players for getting the two points last night.  Playing shorthanded for most of the game due to the loss of Frye and Frantti, the team had to kill a ton of penalty minutes to keep the Bucs from getting back in it.  Gutsy effort for sure.

The Stars play their next three games at the IceBox, so it should be a good opportunity to string some wins together.  However, the opponents in those three games will be tough.  On Friday 11/22, the Stars will host the Youngstown Phantoms.  Saturday 11/23, Lincoln will take on the Waterloo Blackhawks.  And then on Wednesday 11/27, the day before Thanksgiving, the Stars will battle the Sioux Falls Stampede.

Also, I'd expect the USHL and the Stars to announce something early this week about the selling of the team.  I've heard some rumors on my end about that, so it will be interesting to see who the buyer(s) is and what their plans are for the team.

Go Stars.

Edit:  Once again, here are video highlights from this game, courtesy of Bucs fan Scott Thompson.


Yeti said...

Check out the nasty slewfoot by Tanner Karty of the Bucs on Jason Stephanik right after Stephanik scored Lincoln's first goal. Very dangerous play that should have been whistled.

I hope the Stars show this video to the league because that should be a suspendable offense.

Jason said...

These DM games have been rather chippy. I guess I hope that this starts a new streak for the boys. As much as the coach has left me scratching my head, he did explain his reasons behind the Willet/Humitz switch, and I'm willing to say that a lot of factors like new players adjusting to the game and a new staff at the last minute took their toll.

But I have to take one exception: they have GOT to find a way to give the goalies more 'goal support.' More battles in front of the net. For all these 'shots' how many are truly good chances? I don't think they run into such a streak of hot goalies. Quality vs. quantity.

Yeti said...

Well, the original video Scott posted included the slewfoot on Stephanik after the first goal. I see now that the video has since been edited to stop right after the goal is scored. So conveniently, the slewfoot is not able to be viewed now.