|The fur flies after John Simonson's second period goal|
Courtesy of Shooting Star Photos
The loss was the twelfth in the last thirteen games for the Stars.
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The loss dropped the Stars' record to 4-12-5 (13 points), which is good enough for sixth place in the USHL western conference.
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It didn't take long for the Muskies to get on the scoreboard in this game as Jared Thomas scored on a partial breakaway at the 2:52 mark to give Sioux City an early 1-0 lead.
The Stars outshot Sioux City 8-6 in the first period, but the Muskies took the 1-0 lead into the first intermission. I thought the Stars played very timid in the first twenty minutes, while the Muskies played a little more aggressive.
In the second period, the fur flew at the 4:55 mark when Stars forward John Simonson scored a powerplay goal at the 4:55 mark to tie the score at 1-1. Fans at the IceBox flooded the rink with tons of stuffed animals after Simonson's 7th goal of the season, which leads the Stars.
Less than two minutes after Simonson's tally, Muskies forward Jared Thomas scored his second goal of the game, this time on the powerplay, at the 6:47 mark of the middle period. Thomas' shot, which Stars Michael Bitzer appeared not to see because of a screen, found a hold glove high.
The turning point in this game, in my opinion, came towards the end of the second period. With the Muskies leading 2-1, the Stars were awarded a four-minute powerplay with 4:07 remaining in the period. Lincoln had a perfect opportunity here to grab control of the game with a PP goal, along with momentum heading into the third period. But the Muskies killed the entire four-minute PP, and maintained their 2-1 lead going into the second intermission.
In the third, Sioux City used the momentum coming off of that big penalty kill to score a goal only 33 seconds into the period to take a 3-1 lead.
Lincooln's David Parrottino scored at the 4:00 mark to pull the Stars to within one goal, but that's as close as the Stars would get.
Once again, the Stars outshoot their opponent, this time 29-22, but lose. Stars goaltender Michael Bitzer stopped 19 of 22 in the loss while Muskies netminder Kyle Hayton stopped 27 of 29 for the win.
Lincoln went 1-for-3 on the powerplay while Sioux City went 1-for-2. A big positive in this game is that the Stars were able to play disciplined hockey and stayed out of the penalty box.
Despite the loss, I thought the Stars played relatively well in this game and for the most part outplayed the Muskies for the majority of the contest. However, how Lincoln lost this game plays out like a broken record. It seems as if we've witnessed a ton of these kinds of games at the IceBox this season. The Stars fall behind early, outshoot their competition, score a goal or two to get close, but in the end fall just short. Also, they lose the special teams war. It's a broken record that just continues to skip and skip.
The Stars will be back in action tonight in Des Moines where they will knock heads with the Buccaneers, who are coming off a 3-2 home win over Tri-City on Friday night in which they were outshot 55-29 by the Storm. I'll be listening to the radio broadcast of the Stars-Bucs game and will provide live updates on Twitter later this evening.
Edit: A big middle finger to the UNL parking idiots for forcing fans entering in the east lot to park a mile away despite their being tons of open spots just east of the IceBox. That long walk back to the car after the game in the bitter cold was not fun at all. Also, it was nice of the UNL parking idiots to turn off all of the lot lights after the Husker volleyball ended so that Stars fans could walk back to their vehicles in the dark. As a Stars fan I guess I should be used to it by now, but it is still frustrating to be treated like crap by the UNL parking idiots even though they are quick to take our money. /rant