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The loss dropped the Stars to 5-13-5 (15 points), and with Tri-City's win last night, Lincoln is now in seventh place in the USHL western conference. Click here to view the current USHL standings.
This recap will be brief for a variety of reasons. First of all, I don't want to waste any time on trying to recap this sort of loss. Secondly, I only caught part of the radio broadcast and did not watch it on FASTHockey.
In the first period, the Sioux Falls scored three goals (two were on the powerplay), and outshot the Stars 19-8. Two of the three goals scored in the first period by the Stampede came from forward Griffen Molino.
In the second period, it was more of the same as the Stampede outscored the Stars 2-1 and outshot them 15-11. Griffen Molino potted his third goal of the game in the second period on a powerplay. The lone Stars goal in the middle stanza was scored by forward Dominick Sacco, his fourth of the season.
The Stampede outscored the Stars 2-1 in the third period as well, and outshot them 12-8. Griffen Molino scored his fourth goal of the game in the final period, again on the powerplay. So three of the four goals Molino scored against the Stars last night came on the powerplay.
In his past 24 games for the Sioux Falls Stampede, forward Griffen Molino had a total of 3 goals. Last night he scored four goals in sixty minutes. He probably wishes he could play the Stars every game.
The lone Stars goal in the third period was scored by Daniel Willett, on the powerplay. It was Willett's first goal of the season.
Michael Bitzer, who was appearing in his 23rd straight game for the Stars, was pulled from this game after surrendering the third Stampede goal. Lincoln backup goaltender Jacob Nehama, who had zero USHL experience coming into this game, relieved Bitzer for the rest of the contest. What a way to make your USHL debut: down 0-3 on the road on the small ice surface of Sioux Falls arena. Gotta feel for the kid on that one.
Bitzer stopped 12 of 15 before he was pulled, and Nehama stopped 27 of 31 for the remainder of the game. Stampede goaltender Arthur Brey stopped 25 of 27 in the win. Sioux Falls outshot Lincoln overall, 46-27.
The Stampede went 4-for-7 on the powerplay while the Stars finished 1-for-6.
I'm not sure where to start with this one. I've mentioned it before, but we've seen these kind of losses all season long. The Stars start out slow, get behind early, play undisciplined hockey, and lose the special teams war. It's a broken record that needs fixed. But how do you fix it?
Let's take a look at the Chicago Steel. Much like the Stars, they began this season with only a few returning players from the 2012-13 season. In their first ten games of the 2013-14 season, the Steel struggled mightily. They lost each of those ten games to start the season 0-10-0.
I'm not sure what the Steel did after that tenth game, but since then they are 10-5-1. They have climbed out of the eastern conference cellar and are beating teams above them in the standings. They are 8 points out of a playoff spot in the east. Meanwhile, the Stars are 18 points out of a playoff spot in the west.
The Steel are a great example of turning a season around and coming together as a team. I'm not sure what's going on with the Stars, but it almost seems they are regressing, not improving.
Regardless, I'll continue to support the players and hope they can find a way to turn this around. It starts tonight at the IceBox against the first-place Omaha Lancers. The Lancers will be a salty bunch tonight after losing a rare home game Friday night against the Waterloo Blackhawks.