STARS VS. STORM
When: Friday, October 1st at 7:05 p.m.
Where: The Ice Box
The Stars secured points in both of their games at the USHL Fall Classic in Cranberry Township, PA last week, beginning the new season with some momentum.
On Thursday against the Youngstown Phantoms, defensemen Michael Mastrodomenico (PPG) and Henry Nelson scored in the second period. Yu Sato scored the eventual game-winning goal with under seven minutes left in the game, springing the Stars to two points. Kaidan Mbereko made his Stars regular-season debut, stopping 26 of 28.
The next night, Lincoln fell to Cedar Rapids 1-0 in overtime, despite 29 saves from Cameron Whitehead in his first career USHL start. The RoughRiders' goal came on a 4-on-3 power play, marking the first time the Stars penalty killers have been scored on in 2021-22 after 22 straight kills (including preseason).
Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, the Storm's fondness for the dramatic intensified in their pair of Fall Classic games.
Gavin Brindley scored twice in the opener on Thursday against Dubuque, including the deciding power-play goal in OT. Tri-City outshot the Fighting Saints 35-18 in their 3-2 victory as goaltender Arsenii Sergeev collected his first USHL win.
Jeremy Wilmer would be the hero in the extra frame the following afternoon, notching his first goal with Tri-City since being acquired from the Waterloo Black Hawks in August. Six-foot-6 goalie Chase Clark stopped 36 shots from the Madison Capitols in a 2-1 win.
THINGS TO WATCH FOR
This is the first meeting of the 2021-22 season between the two clubs ... Lincoln went 4-5-1 against the Storm in 2020-21, including three wins at the Ice Box ... Tri-City's penalty kill was ranked best in the USHL last year (88.3 percent) ... Cole O'Hara currently leads the Storm with four points (1G, 3A) through two games while Nelson's two (1G, 1A) tops the Stars roster.
Stars head coach Rocky Russo:
"We’ve been looking forward to it for about six months now. Obviously, the opportunity to get behind the bench in this building has been something I’ve been looking forward to. Tomorrow will be a special night for me, for the staff and my family.
We welcomed my new daughter last week so I wasn’t able to be there for the first two games. This will be my first official regular-season game, and it couldn’t be a better situation being at home for our home opener against a rival team in Tri-City."
Stars defenseman Michael Mastrodomenico:
"They’re going to be up in the play, so we just have to keep a good gap and transition quickly. I think if we can turn it over quickly and get up the ice, we’ll have a lot of odd-man rushes and create a lot of chances.
We worked on it in practice all week; we know it’s coming. We’re ready for them and it should be a fun home opener."