SIOUX FALLS, SD. - The Lincoln Stars (22-28-4) wrapped up the 2020-21 regular season on a high note, beating the Sioux Falls Stampede (18-32-4) 3-2 at Denny Sanford Premier Center on Saturday night.
The Stars jumped out to a great start with a goal from Nikolai Mayorov at 3:48 as the Russian winger blasted a wrist shot from the left circle. Mayorov’s team-leading 17th goal of the season was assisted by Henry Nelson and Jack O’Leary. Sioux Falls knotted up the game at one goal piece after a shot from Max Rud was re-directed off of Jack Smith’s skate past Aidan McCarthy at 16:24.
Ean Somoza gave the Stampede their first lead at 17:37, pushing the home team ahead 2-1.
Clay Hanus provided the equalizer just over a minute later, scoring his seventh goal of the season at 18:52 following an individual effort down the slot. Michael Mastrodomenico and Cole Craft were credited with the apples on Hanus’ eighth goal of the year.
After one period, the Stars outshot Sioux Falls 10-7 in a 2-2 game.
Following a relatively tame period penalty-wise, power plays were thrown out to both teams’ advantage in the second period. However, Trent Burnham and McCarthy backstopped a perfect frame. Lincoln threw 13 shots on net while the Stampede sent 11 on goal.
Jack Horbach quickly cashed in on a 5-on-4 in the third period, giving Lincoln a 3-2 lead 17 seconds in. James Stefan initially threw the puck off the side of the goal before Horbach pounded home the rebound for his eighth tally with the Stars this season. Hanus picked up an assist on the go-ahead marker.
Sioux Falls had an opportunity to tie the game late, but McCarthy made two tremendous saves: one on Ean Somoza and a show-stopping arm denial on Cal Thomas on the goal line.
The Stars concluded the year with a 3-2 win, outshooting the Stampede 37-27. Lincoln was 1-for-4 on the power play and 5-for-5 on the penalty kill. McCarthy made 25 saves in his eighth win of the year.
THANK YOU, STARS NATION! We couldn't be more proud of the guys in the locker room and the support we got from the city of Lincoln throughout this unique season! See you in 2021-22!