LINCOLN, Neb. - The Lincoln Stars (18-24-4) extended their point streak to eight games, defeating the Des Moines Buccaneers (23-16-4) 3-1 at the Ice Box on Wednesday night.
The Stars once again were slow out of the gate as Des Moines pushed the pace offensively, winning board battles and firing repeated shots from the slot. Lucas Mercuri eventually broke through in the final minute of the first period, pushing the visitors in front.
Des Moines outshot Lincoln 10-6 in the first period. When trailing after one period before tonight’s game, the Stars were 2-19-1 this season.
Despite their slow start, Lincoln entered another gear to start the middle frame, enforcing their physicality in all three zones, leading to some early chances. Dominic James created space down the right wing in the neutral zone, beating a Bucs defender, before feeding the puck in front for a streaking Gleb Veremyev. Veremyev buried the centering pass from James, scoring his fourth goal of the year at 5:07. Clay Hanus picked up the secondary assist.
After 40 minutes, the Stars were tied with Des Moines following a 8-4 advantage in shots by the home team.
Noah Laba gave Lincoln their first lead of the game six minutes into the third period with his eighth goal of the season. James Stefan’s shot from the deep slot was initially stopped by Derek Mullahy, but Laba was there to pound home the rebound. Michael Mastrodomenico made a good read along the right-wing boards before Laba maneuvered off the half-boards to start the play.
Stanley Cooley put the game out of reach with an empty-netter at 19:01, picking up his sixth goal of the year. Ryan Ouellette was solid net for Lincoln, making 16 saves on 17 shots for his fifth straight win. The Stars’ power play was 0-for-4, but they killed off all three penalties they took.
Tonight’s win marked Lincoln’s fifth straight at the Ice Box; they are 13-10-1 at home in 2020-21.
The Stars will try to extend their streaks with the Tri-City Storm in town for Pink in the Rink Night on Friday! There will be a specialty jersey auction in the Security First Bank North Zone following the game, featuring Lincoln’s game-worn, signed jerseys.