LINCOLN, Neb. - The Lincoln Stars (11-10-3) allowed a goal in the final minute of regulation, losing 3-2 against the Des Moines Buccaneers (12-10-3) on Saturday night at the Ice Box.
In the fourth meeting of the season between the two teams, Joey Strada scored the deciding goal with under 40 seconds in regulation. The Buccaneers have won all four games against Lincoln this year.
Des Moines got on the board in the first period thanks to a breakaway goal by Strada 10:44 in. Mason Nevers' stretch pass was right on the tape of Strada, who made a backhand-forehand move to beat Ryan McInchak.
Similarly to last night, the Stars outshot the Bucs in the opening frame (12-9) but found themselves down by one after 20 minutes.
Luckily for those in attendance waiting to toss teddy bears on the ice, Brock Bremer knotted up the game 54 seconds into the second stanza. Dominic James started the play by moving from the defensive zone to the offensive zone, stopping up at the right point and dropping the puck from Matthew Barbolini.
Barbolini drove down the right wing and sent a pass to the front of the net, where Bremer would whack the puck into an open side. It was Bremer's fifth goal of the season and it made teddy bears and stuffed animals rain from every inch of the Ice Box.
However, Matt Choupani regained the lead for the Bucs with under five minutes to go in the second period. His unassisted marker gave Des Moines a 2-1 lead, but Christian Sarlo would quickly respond during a power play for Des Moines following Choupani's goal.
Travis Treloar picked up a puck in the far corner of the Stars end when Lincoln was killing off a penalty and sent it up ahead to a streaking Sarlo. The Penn State commit went five-hole on Bucs goaltender Cameron Rowe, tying the game up with a short-handed goal. Sarlo’s 11th goal of the year came at 15:05 into the middle period. Lincoln killed off the rest of the penalty but headed into the third period with a 4-on-3 disadvantage.
The Stars penalty kill would shine again, extinguishing momentum from Des Moines at the beginning of the final frame of regulation. The teams would exchange chances throughout the third, but McInchak and Rowe continued to shut the door for their respective club.
In the dying moments of regulation, Strada picked up a loose puck from the left circle and fired it home for his second goal of the game with 30 seconds left in the third. Des Moines would withstand a final push from the Stars, securing two points and a weekend sweep on the road.
Lincoln outshot the Bucs 37-22, killing off four penalties, but went scoreless on the power play in two opportunities. McInchak made 19 saves while Rowe stopped 35 shots.
The Stars will travel to Fargo for a two-game series with the Force on December 27th and 28th! Watch the games on HockeyTV or listen on Mixlr!