Saturday, November 15, 2014
Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.
With the OT loss, the Stars dropped to 4-6-2 (10 points) on the season. With the one point the Stars earned, they are now in a tie with the Omaha Lancers for last place in the USHL western conference. Click here to view the current league standings.
I caught bits and pieces of this game on FASTHockey on Friday night, but I was able to sit down and watch the replay this morning.
There was no scoring in the first period of this game, but overall I thought Lincoln played pretty well. No slow start for Lincoln either as the Stars outshot the Phantoms 10-7 in the first twenty minutes. Lincoln's penalty kill unit, and goaltender Peyton Jones, were tested three times in the first period and held the Phantoms off the scoreboard.
Patrick Polino gave the Stars a 1-0 lead early in the first period thanks to some good teamwork between Polino and Grant Jozefek deep in the Phantoms' zone. Polino forced a Youngstown defender to make a pass sooner than he wanted to, and Grant Jozefek jumped on the turnover. From along the boards, Jozefek quickly turned and wristed a backdoor pass across the slot to a streaking Polino who one-timed the puck into the net.
After the Polino goal, it seemed like the Phantoms kicked it into a higher gear and really put some heavy pressure on the Stars' defense and Peyton Jones. Jones really had to make some big sames in the early to mid portion of the second period to keep the Phantoms off the scoreboard.
However, a Youngstown powerplay goal at the 10:16 mark tied this game at 1-1. On that particular goal, the shot came from just inside the blueline and it appeared that Jones may have been screened.
Just about two minutes after their first goal of the game, Youngstown struck again on a rebound shot past Jones. On that goal, a quick shot off a faceoff in the Lincoln zone looked looked like it was initially saved by Jones, but the rebound went right to a Youngstown forward who capitalized with the goal.
Youngstown took a 2-1 lead into the second intermission. Shots were 14-7 in favor of the Phantoms in the second period.
In a wild and crazy third period, both teams combined for five goals scored, including four in the last five minutes of the game.
At the 11:48 mark of the third period, Dominick Sacco scored on an odd-man rush to even the score at 2-2. After a bit of a slow start to the season, Dom has really exploded as of late. In the first 6 games of the season, Sacco had 3 points (all assists). In his last 6 games played, Dominick has scored 8 points (5g, 3a).
Youngstown's third goal of the game, which was shorthanded, was definitely the one goal the Stars would want back. Lincoln turned the puck over in their own zone when they had numbers, and Phantoms forward Ryan Lomberg somehow got loose with the puck before he backhanded a shot glove-high past Jones. It was an ugly goal that really shouldn't have happened had the Stars protected the puck better in their own zone.
The shorthanded goal by Lomberg gave the Phantoms a 3-2 lead with just about 5 minutes remaining in the third period. Rather than roll over and give up the two points to the Phantoms, the Stars dug and and mounted an incredible comeback with two goals scored in a 1:04 stretch late in the third period.
A tremendous assist by Blake Christensen to a streaking Cam Lee tied the game at 3-3 with 3:53 remaining in regulation. Christensen skated the puck into the Phantoms' zone along the boards and waited for Lee who was crashing the net before threading the needle to Cam who one-timed it into the net.
Just about a minute after the Cam Lee goal, the Stars scored again to take a 4-3 lead with only 2:49 remaining in regulation. An incredible individual effort by Lincoln forward Chris Klack allowed him to score his first goal in a Lincoln Stars uniform. After receiving a great home-run pass by defenseman Ryan Jones, Klack skated into the Youngstown zone on a partial breakaway. While being dragged down from behind, Klack somehow got a shot off on his knees that got past the Youngstown goaltender. This one was a beauty.
It was looking like the Stars were going to ride the momentum of the two quick goal to victory, but that wasn't the case. Referee Lucas Martin had to be the show all night long, and that didn't change very late in the third period when he called the Stars for a minor penalty with only 1:21 remaining.
The Phantoms pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker during the ensuing powerplay and eventually scored a 6-on-4 PP goal with about a minute left in the third period to knot the score at 4-4.
Shots were 13-10 in favor of Lincoln in the third period.
In the five-minute 4-on-4 overtime period, the Phantoms outshot Lincoln 3-0 but were held scoreless. In the skill competition (shootout), the Phantoms scored once and the Stars were blanked which gave Youngstown the two points. Have I mentioned how much I hate the shootout? It's so silly to end a game with a skills competition. They don't end basketball games with free-throw shooting contests, do they?
Stars goaltender Peyton Jones stopped 30 of 34 in the loss, however I thought he played very, very well considering the amount of quality shots he faced. Without some of his big saves in the first and especially second periods, the Stars never would have had the opportunity to lead in this game.
The Stars finished 0-for-5 on the powerplay, while the Phantoms went 2-for-8 with the man advantage and scored one shorthanded goal.
All in all, it was a pretty quality road effort by the Stars last night in Youngstown from what I saw on FASTHockey. Unfortunately, the Stars lost the special teams war which pretty much lost them the game. I'm hoping this team can learn to play better on the PP and PK, because 5-on-5 they are a pretty good hockey club.
I normally don't like mentioning this on my blog because it may come across as sour grapes, but I'm not sure I've ever seen a team dive and embellish as much as the Youngstown Phantoms. It was terrible, especially in the 3rd period and in OT. I saw Ryan Lomberg, after embellishing a high stick penalty that was called against Stars defenseman Ryan Cook in the OT period, actually smile and laugh to his teammates on the bench afterwards. He knew exactly what he was doing. Gutless.
These two teams have Saturday off, but they will get back at it Sunday afternoon for a 4:05pm CST tilt. After listening to Stars head coach Chris Hartsburg after the Friday game, the Sunday game could be an interesting one to watch. When interviewed on the radio by Mike Melbye, Hartsburg was very critical of Phantoms head coach Anthony Noreen. In fact, Hartburg called Noreen a "mockery." From what I've heard from people who were there, Noreen spent all night yelling and screaming at the refs...begging them for calls. I guess Hartsburg wasn't a fan of that and called him out during the game, and afterwards. I love it.
Thanks for reading. Go Stars.
Posted by Yeti at 12:12 PM