Friday, September 19, 2014

B³ Fall Classic Postgame Recap: Lincoln 4, Sioux Falls 3

Stars celebrate the 4-3 win over Sioux Falls
August Von Ungern-Sternberg's two goals, including the game-winner in the third period, powered the Lincoln Stars to a 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Sioux Falls Stampede at the first day of the USHL Fall Classic in Sioux City, IA.

Click here to view the Poinstreak boxscore.

With the win, the Stars improved their preseason record to 3-4-0 in seven games played.  After losing their first three preseason games this month, Lincoln has won three of their last four.

In the first period, Sioux Falls took full advantage of two powerplay opportunities to score two PP goals and take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.  The lone Lincoln goal in the first period came on a nice play by forward August Von Ungern-Sternberg.  August jumped on a loose puck outside the blueline and turned on the jets before blasting an uncontested wrist shot past the glove of Sioux Falls goaltender Stefanos Lekkas.

It was sort of a back and forth first period, but overall I thought Sioux Falls was the better team.  The Stampede held a 10-7 shot advantage over the Stars after one period.

The Stars come out hot to start the second period and controlled the middle stanza for the most part with a more aggressive forecheck and some timely scoring.  Chris Klack knotted the score at 2-2 early in the second period thanks to a very good play by Michael Gillespie who fought his way out of the corner with the puck and fed it across to Klack who scored.

Speaking of Klack, he really stood out to me today.  He's certainly not the biggest guy on the team, but he's very slippery.  And when I say slippery I mean he's very good at avoiding big body checks from opposing players.  He also has a knack for being in the right place at the right time.  I talked to a couple of scouts today who also shared some of the same positive feedback about Klack.

Near the halfway point of the second period, Sioux Falls scored to take a 3-2 lead over the Stars.  However, Lincoln answered a little later to tie the game at 3-3 thanks to some hard work by Max Humitz.  On this particular goal, Sioux Falls looked like they were going to skate the puck out of their own zone, but Max was able to work hard to pokecheck the puck lose before it left the zone.  Dominick Sacco then corralled the puck before feeding Patrick Polino who waitied for Humitz to get open just to the left of Lekkas.  Polino fed a nice pass across the top of the crease to Humitz who tapped it into the open net.  Terrific effort on the goal that was started and finished by Max.

Both teams were tied up at 3-3 at the second intermission.  Stars outshot the Stampede 11-4 in the second period and dominated play for the most part.

In the third, the lone goal came from Stars forward August Von Ungern-Sternberg early in the period.  This was another great example of the Stars being the aggressor and getting a good forecheck in the Sioux Falls zone.  Lincoln was able to put enough pressure on behind the Stampede net to force a turnover.  The Stars then cycled the puck to August who skated to a quiet spot in between the top of the circle and the blueline before he ripped another wrister past a screened Lekkas.

Try as they might, the Stampede were unable to score the equalizing goal in the remaining minutes of the third period.  Good effort by the Stars to get, and more importantly, hold onto the lead.

Sioux Falls won the special teams war as they went 2-for-4 on the powerplay while Lincoln finished 0-for-5.  The Stars definitely need to work on their PP, as it has not looked particularly well the last couple of games.

Stars goaltender Cam Hackett played all sixty minutes and stopped 23 of 26 shots on goal.  Hackett made some HUGE saves late in the third period to keep the Stars in the lead.  I think this was probably his best game in a Stars uniform so far this preseason.  You could tell he was dialed in, especially when it counted in the final twenty minutes.

This is really a fun team to watch when they are clicking, as they did in good stretches in this game.  They may be young, but they are incredibly skilled and fast.  I think Stars fans are really going to enjoy watching this team grow in front of our eyes.

Lincoln will finish out their exhibition schedule Saturday afternoon at the Fall Classic when they face the Muskegon Lumberjacks at 1:00pm CST.  The 'Jacks beat the Fargo Force today at the Fall Classic by a score of 3-2.  Former Stars Daniel Willett and Tommy Marchin both had a goal for Muskegon in the win against Fargo.  The game on Saturday should be a very good test for the Stars as I thought Muskegon played very well today against the Force.

Go Stars.

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