WATERLOO, IOWA - The Lincoln Stars (11-8-3) leaned on their special teams units to take down the Waterloo Black Hawks (16-5-1), winning 5-3 on Saturday night at Young Arena.
In their last five games, the Stars were 2-for-20 on the power play. They were up against a penalty-killing unit in Waterloo that had allowed only four power-play goals on 90 opportunities this season. On Friday night, Lincoln was 0-for-4 with the man-advantage, including a five-minute power-play.
Saturday night, however, it would be the visitors' turn to celebrate in “Party Town.” Christian Sarlo banged home his 6th PPG of the season (t-2nd in the USHL) after Travis Treloar’s shot from the left circle was kicked out by Black Hawks goaltender Gabriel Carriere.
The Penn State commit rushed the slot and fired the puck off the crossbar and in for his 10th goal of the season 8:58 into the game. That would be the lone goal of the opening frame, with the Stars outshooting Waterloo 11-10.
The second period opened up play for both teams, as expected, leading to several chances at each end of the rink. Kyle Haskins tapped the game-tying goal past Stars goaltender Jake Mucitelli 3:26 into the middle frame. Matt Argentina, who returned from a two-game suspension, skated behind Lincoln’s net and twisted the puck through the crease right on the tape of Haskins for his 5th goal of the season.
Under four minutes later, the Stars were headed to a power play after Brehdan Engum took a boarding minor. After the play, Ty Glover was called for a questionable unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, wiping out the man-advantage for Lincoln, resulting in a four-on-four.
Undeterred by that sequence, Travis Treloar would score on a breakaway after a stretch pass from Sarlo 7:57 into the second period. Treloar’s 8th goal of the year marked his second in as many games against Waterloo. The Stars would take the one-goal lead into the third period, the exact situation they were in on Friday night.
Instead of giving up the lead to the Black Hawks, Lincoln was focused on getting the next goal in the game. When it appeared the Stars scored to add to their lead early in the final period, the officials waved it off after they blew the whistle before the puck crossed the goal line. The Stars were in disagreement with the call (and they had a case) but continued to work through their frustration.
On their second power-play of the game minutes later, Brad Morrissey cashed in with his sixth goal of the season at 7:47. Over their last four games, the Black Hawks had killed 20 consecutive penalties but had given up two in two chances to the Stars.
Off the ensuing face-off, Ty Glover sent the puck up the ice, springing Nick Nardecchia on a 2-on-1 with Spencer Smith. Nardecchia toe-dragged around a sprawling defender, was stopped on his initial shot, but potted the rebound for his first USHL goal.
The Michigan-born forward was added to Lincoln this week as a replacement player from the Topeka Pilots of the NAHL. Twenty-one seconds separated Morrissey and Nardecchia’s goals; the Stars were now in front 4-1.
Morrissey would add another goal (his seventh in the last six games) at 13:20 of the third period after Matt Barbolini’s sent a shot on goal from the right circle. The puck bounced off of Carriere and then Morrissey (who was in the crease), increasing Lincoln’s lead to 5-1.
With the game winding down, Wyatt Schingoethe appeared to have pushed Mucitelli’s left leg into the net, allowing the puck to cross the goal line. The officials called it a good goal on the ice at 13:51, cutting the Stars lead to 5-2. Mucitelli, who was incensed, tried to get the officials’ attention immediately and got himself tossed from the game thanks to a match penalty for spearing, which included a five-minute major.
Morrissey took a cross-checking penalty shortly after Ryan McInchak replaced Mucitelli in net, resulting in a 5-on-3 for the Black Hawks. Desperate for a goal, they pulled Carriere for a 6-on-3 advantage. Lincoln was able to kill off Morrissey’s minor thanks to great stops from McInchak and blocks from defensemen Dalton Norris and Jacob Bauer. Eventually, Xander Lamppa broke through on the 6-on-4, leaving the Stars with a 5-3 lead.
Lamppa's goal would be the only one the Black Hawks would get during Mucitelli’s major penalty, but the home team was given a late power-play chance once again when Brock Bremer took a holding minor.
Lincoln would keep Waterloo at bay until the final horn, securing three points out of four on the weekend in a 5-3 win. Carriere stopped 23 out of 28 shots in the loss for the Black Hawks. Mucitelli made 24 saves and McInchak made ten in the combined effort in between the pipes for the Stars.
Lincoln comes home to the Ice Box for a two-game series on December 13th and 14th against the Des Moines Buccaneers! Get your tickets to Ugly Sweater Night on Friday and enjoy $2 Tall Boys! https://stars.isportstix.com/order/seats/329/46