|Michael Bitzer and Jonathan Desbiens touch gloves|
Courtesy of Shooting Star Photos
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The loss dropped the Stars' record to 4-11-4 (10 points), which is good enough for a three-way tie for sixth place in the USHL western conference.
Click here to view the current USHL standings.
I thought the Stars played one of their better periods of the season to start this game, but they did not have any puck luck. That seemed to be a common theme for the night. Lincoln outshot the Stampede 12-8 through the first twenty minutes, but neither team would score. Lincoln did a good job staying out of the penalty box, and were the better team by far in the opening period.
Early in the second period, with two Lincoln players in the penalty box, the Stampede got their first goal of the game to take a 1-0 lead. The PP goal came on a 5-on-3 opportunity and was scored by Zeb Knutson. It was a fantastic shot by Knutson, who put it high and on the short side just past Michael Bitzer. I thought Bitzer played the shot well and was in position, but the shot by Knutson was a rocket and extremely well placed.
Both teams put up 10 shots on goal a piece in the middle period, but the Stampede would take that 1-0 lead into the second intermission. Lincoln put a ton of offensive pressure on Stampede goaltender David Jacobson in the last couple of minutes of the second period, but he stood tall and preserved the shutout.
Early in the third, the Stampede once again took advantage of a powerplay opportunity to take a 2-0 lead. Six minutes later, Sioux Falls scored an even-strength goal to complete the scoring.
Give credit to the Stampede for making the most of their powerplay opportunities. That was the key to the game. Sioux Falls was able to score those two powerplay goals, and the Stars were not able to convert any of their 5 PP chances. Sioux Falls went 2-for-4 on the PP.
David Jacobson stopped all 35 shots he faced tonight to pitch the shutout. Stars goaltender Michael Bitzer stopped 22 of 25 in the loss.
Honestly, I thought the Stars played pretty damn well in this game. This seems like a broken record, but the Stars were the better team 5-on-5 for the majority of this game. However, Lincoln could not win the special teams war. There have been plenty of games this season that I thought Lincoln played well at even-strength, but the opposing team would always win the special teams war. That happened again tonight.
It's not for lack of hard work, that's for sure. The Stars busted their butts tonight, but puck luck was just not on their side. Lincoln outshot a very good Sioux Falls team, 35-25. The effort was there this evening, but the final score just doesn't show it.
After a two-day break, the Stars will be back in action this Saturday night in Des Moines, IA against the Buccaneers.
Wishing everyone out there a Happy Thanksgiving! Hoping that you all get to spend some quality time tomorrow with friends and family. I'm extremely thankful for all of the readers of this blog. Your patronage is always appreciated.