LINCOLN, Neb. - The Lincoln Stars (11-9-3) threw 45 shots on net but fell 3-1 to the Des Moines Buccaneers (11-10-3) on Friday night at the Ice Box.
Ryan McInchak started in net for the Stars and made several tough saves in the early going, keeping Des Moines off the board in the opening minutes.
Over halfway through the opening period, however, the Buccaneers would draw first blood thanks to Blaine Warnert's goal 10:39 into the first. Warnert deflected a pass from Vincent Salice past the left pad of McInchak for his third goal of the season.
The Stars failed to score on a power play they received under a minute later, but the Buccaneers would capitalize on the man-advantage at 14:53. Kristof Papp notched his 11th goal of the year after firing a shot from the right circle.
After one period, despite outshooting Des Moines 14-7, the Stars were down by a pair of goals.
Under three minutes into the second period, Timothy Lovell tossed a shot on goal from the deep slot, ricocheting off a body in front before entering the net. The goal at 2:38 marked Lovell's first USHL goal, giving the Bucs a 3-0 lead.
Matt Miller would get Lincoln on the board with his sixth goal of the season at 14:18 of the middle frame. Travis Treloar and Christian Sarlo picked up the assists.
The Leo, IN native's goal would be the final tally of the game for the Stars as Bucs netminder Cameron Rowe stopped 44 of 45 shots en route to his eighth win of the year. McInchak made 15 saves on 18 shots, but he thwarted at least five odd-man rushes from the Buccaneers throughout the game to prevent further damage.
Lincoln was 0-for-6 on the power play and killed off one of two minor penalties.
The Stars will hope to even the weekend series tomorrow night at the Ice Box against the Buccaneers! Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m. and it's Teddy Bear Toss Night! Throw your stuffed animals on the ice following Lincoln's first goal; they will be donated to the Community Action partnerships of Lancaster and Saunders counties in association with KIBZ. Get your tickets here: https://stars.isportstix.com/order/seats/329/47