Lincoln, Neb. — You couldn't have drawn it up any better for the Lincoln Stars (3-1-0) for their home opener at the Ice Box on Friday night. Five goals in the second period catapulted Lincoln past the Sioux Falls Stampede (1-4-0), defeating them for the second time in six days.
Spencer Smith got the crowd to its feet 7:10 into the first period after receiving a pass in the high slot from Matt Miller. Smith found himself in alone on Stampede goaltender Nathan Reid and fired a shot over his right shoulder. It was Smith's first career USHL goal.
Jakub Lewandoski provided the brief silencer at 12:41 of the opening period, deking to his backhand through the crease, beating Jacob Mucitelli to the far post. A little under five minutes later, Brian Carrabes scored his third goal in two games against the Stars this season after a quick shot from the left circle on the power play. After one period, Sioux Falls held a 2-1 lead.
The second period was a different story, however.
Josh Groll continued to his hot start to the year with a snipe from the near side 72 seconds into the middle period. He’s now scored in three consecutive games. After a disallowed goal from Groll on the power play minutes later, Travis Treloar found a puck in the high slot and blasted it by the glove of Reid for a 3-2 Stars lead. Treloar’s goal-scoring streak extended to three games.
But again, the Stampede did not go away. Josh Phillips’ seeing-eye shot beat Mucitelli right under the crossbar with 12:40 left in the second period to tie the game at three. The goals didn’t stop there, however. Matt Barbolini knocked down a pass behind the net and spun a blind pass to the low slot right on the tape of Josh Lopina, who buried the chance to give Lincoln a 4-3 lead. Lopina’s second goal of the season came at the 11:14 point of the frame.
And right when Sioux Falls was generating momentum on their power play a couple of minutes later, it was Groll’s time to shine once again. While down a man, Groll and Miller disrupted a pass in the defensive zone and shot up the ice on a 2-on-1. Groll sent a pass across to a streaking Miller, who one-timed the feed past Reid for Lincoln’s first shorthanded goal of the regular season.
When it was Lincoln’s turn on the power play towards the end of the period, Jake Boltmann let a shot go from the top of the point and found the twine. Barbolini was credited with his third goal of the season, getting a piece of the puck in front of the crease. After two periods, it was 6-3 Stars.
Tyler Coffey added a snipe to cut Sioux Falls’ deficit to two, but Miller’s second goal at the 12:24 mark of the third put the game out of reach. Miller has put up multi-goal outings in the past two games.
Mucitelli picked up his second victory of the season with 29 saves on 33 shots. Reid dropped to 1-2 on the season, making 28 saves on 35 shots. The Stars continued their prowess on the power play, scoring twice on five opportunities. Their penalty kill sparkled, too, holding the Stampede to one goal on eight chances, including a pair of 5-on-3s.
Friday night’s win marks the first time the Stars have won three straight games since April 7th, 2018. Lincoln will head to Omaha Saturday night (October 12th) for a matchup with the Lancers at Ralston Arena. Watch the game live on HockeyTV or listen live on Mixlr!
The Stars are back home next weekend against the Youngstown Phantoms next Friday (October 19th)! Get your tickets here: https://stars.isportstix.com/order/seats/329/38