|Stars celebrate Blake Christensen's GWG|
Courtesy of Shooting Star Photos
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With the win, the Stars improved their exhibition record to 2-4-0 in six preseason games.
I was in attendance last night at the IceBox, so I'll post a quick recap below. If you were at the game, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below if you desire.
This was definitely an odd game. I was expecting Sioux City to come out guns blazing, so to speak, but the complete opposite occurred. The Stars were by far the better team in the first twenty minutes and they were rewarded with two goals.
Stars defenseman James LaDouce scored the first of two goals at the 11:42 mark of the first period. LaDouce wound up and blasted a long shot from the blueline that got past Sioux City goaltender Cam Gornet.
With less than a minute remaining in the first, Stars forward Miguel Fidler picked up a Sioux City turnover in the neutral zone and quickly skated into the offensive zone before threading a cross-crease pass to a streaking Quin Foreman who tapped the puck into the open net. It was a great play by Fidler who had a man hanging on his back. I thought for sure Fidler was going to shoot, but at the last second he passed it over to Foreman. Great effort by Foreman to beat his man to the net, also.
The shots on goal in the first period were 21-4 in favor of Lincoln. I'm not sure how accurate that was, but that's what was announced.
As good as Lincoln played in the first period, they played just as bad in the second period. In my viewings in person and on FASTHockey of the Stars, I'd definitely say the second period was the ugliest I've seen all preseason long. Having said that, the first period of this game was probably their best. The Stars looked like two different teams in the first forty minutes of the game against Sioux City.
Give credit for Sioux City for finally waking up in the second period. They outshot Lincoln 14-4 in the middle stanza and outscored them 2-0. So heading into the second intermission, this contest was knotted up at 2-2.
In the third, it was pretty much all Lincoln. Forward Blake Christensen scored the first of his two third period goals at the 3:17 mark of the period. After receiving a good pass from Jared Bethune, Christensen somehow found a hole short side on Gornet to give Lincoln a 3-2 lead.
However, the Muskies responded with two goals in a 2:27 span in the third period to take a 4-3 lead.
Just when it looked like the Musketeers might escape the IceBox with the win, the Stars really turned on the pressure. On a beautiful bang-bang play, Stars forward Biagio Lerario entered the offensive zone on a rush and passed it across the ice to James LaDouce who launched a nasty one-timer past the Sioux City goaltender. The play happened so fast I'm not sure Gornet knew what happened. LaDouce isn't the biggest guy out there, but he has one heck of a heavy shot.
With the game tied, I think many expected this game to go to OT. However, Blake Christensen pounced on a loose puck in the middle high slot in the offensive zone and fired a quick low shot that went five-hole past a screened Gornet. Christensen's goal, which was scored with only 2:17 remaining in the game, was his fourth of the preseason. When you're hot, you're hot. Throw it on net and see what happens.
Full credit to the Stars in the third period for wanting it more. This was the second straight game that the Stars came back from a deficit in the third period to win it. The Stars could have easily rolled over on their backs and quit after Sioux City went up 4-3 in the third, but they kept fighting.
Shots on goal were 41-31 in favor of Lincoln. Sioux City went 2-for-6 on the powerplay while the Stars went 0-for-3.
Stars goaltender Cam Hackett played the first and second periods and stopped 16 of 18 shots on goal. Netminder Peyton Jones played the third period and stopped 11 of 13.
The Stars will finish out their preseason schedule with two games this weekend at the 2014 USHL Fall Classic (West). On Friday, September 19th, Lincoln will face the Sioux Falls Stampede. On Saturday, September 20th, the Stars will battle the Muskegon Lumberjacks.
I'll post a quick Fall Classic preview article Thursday evening here on the blog. I plan on attending both days of the Fall Classic so I'll post updates from Sioux City as well. Thanks for reading.
Edit: Here are some postgame reactions from Blake Christensen, James LaDouce, Keegan Ward, and head coach Chris Hartsburg, courtesy of Stars photographer Brandon Anderson.