Sunday, December 8, 2013

B³ Postgame Report: Lincoln 5, Des Moines 4 OT SO

The Lincoln Stars picked up their fifth win of the season with a gutsy, come-from-behind 5-4 overtime victory over the Buccaneers in Des Moines, IA on Saturday night.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

The big win and the two points improved Lincoln's record to 5-12-5 (15 points) and they are still in sixth place in the USHL western conference, 3 points behind the fifth place Buccaneers.  Click here to view the current USHL standings.

This will be short recap.  I listened to the radio broadcast, but I did not watch the FASTHockey video feed.

For the 16th time in Lincoln's 22 regular season games thus far, the opponent scored the first goal.  At the 5:28 mark of the first period, the Bucs scored an even-strength goal to take a 1-0 lead.

Lincoln responded about three minutes later when John Simonson scored a powerplay goal at the 8:30 mark to knot the score at 1-1.  The Pointstreak boxscore which I have linked above mistakenly has Magnus Hoff scoring Lincoln's first goal.  Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye was very adamant that Simonson scored the goal.

The score would remain at 1-1 going into the first intermission.  Lincoln doubled up the Bucs in shots, leading 16-8 after one period.

In the second period, it was pretty much all Des Moines as they outshot Lincoln 18-6 and outscored them 2-1.  The Bucs scored the first two goals of the second period to take a commanding 3-1 lead, but a Stars scored late in the period gave Lincoln new life.

Jonathan Desbiens scored a powerplay goal with only 8 seconds remaining in the middle period to pull the Stars to within one goal.  The tally also gave Stars some momentum going into the third period where they outscored the Bucs 2-1 to force overtime.

Lincoln's Luke Voltin opened the scoring in the third period with an even-strength goal against his former team at the 6:00 mark to even the score at 3-3.  However, two and a half minutes later the Buccaneers responded with a powerplay goal to retake the lead at 4-3.

With roughly seven minutes remaining in regulation, John Simonson scored his second goal of the game for the Stars to knot the game up at 4-4.  Simonson's ninth goal of the season also came on the powerplay, giving him two PP goals on the night.  Five of Simonson's nine goals this season have been scored on the PP.

Shots were 10-7 in favor of Lincoln in the third period, however the Bucs lead 33-32 in that department through sixty minutes.

In the overtime period, the Bucs outshot Lincoln 9-0, but Michael Bitzer and company stood tall and forced the shootout.

Dan Willett scored the only goal in the shootout, while Michael Bitzer stopped all three Bucs shooters he faced to give Lincoln the 5-4 OT victory.

Speaking of Bitzer, he stopped 38 of 42 for the win.  Bitzer has played in EVERY game for the Stars this season.  That's 22 games.  Poor guy deserves a break but I'm not sure that's going to happen anytime soon.  Bitzer's backup, Jacob Nehama, has zero USHL experience so I'm guessing the Lincoln coaches will continue to ride Bitzer going forward.  Hard to imagine where this team would be without Bitzer between the pipes.

Lincoln won the special teams war as they went 3-for-6 on the powerplay while the Bucs went 1-for-6.  Nice to see the Stars on the winning side of that battle.  Too often this season that hasn't been the case.

Really proud of the Stars after this win.  This season isn't going as well as they had hoped, yet they battle every game and will not quit.  Against the Bucs, they faced a 3-1 deficit in the second period but kept their composure and continued to fight back.  They should be very proud of their effort.

Looking ahead to next weekend, the Stars will be in Sioux Falls, SD on Friday to take on the Stampede, and then back home on Saturday evening for a huge tilt against the Omaha Lancers.  Lincoln will be taking on the top two teams in the west next weekend, so it will be a big test for them.  More on those two games later in the week.

Go Stars.

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