FARGO, ND - The Stars had their three-game winning streak snapped on Saturday night at Scheels Arena, losing 5-4 against the Force.
Lincoln had a flurry of chances in the early going, but Cole Knuble got the scoring started for Fargo, striking on the power play at 12:26. Gustav Portillo added a second goal at 17:50, giving Fargo a 2-0 lead at the first intermission.
The Stars had nine shots in the first period, matching Fargo’s total.
Felikss Gavars added a goal 67 seconds into the middle frame, increasing the home team’s lead. Following a 5-on-3 penalty kill in the second period, the Stars were awarded one of their own.
Aidan Thompson broke through for Lincoln right as the power play expired, scoring his first goal in 2021-22 at 11:43.
His shot from the right circle beat Force goaltender Anton Castro past the right arm off the far-side post and in, giving the University of Denver commit a four-game point streak.
Michael Mastrodomenico picked up an assist on the goal. Thompson scored ten times in 2020-21, ranking second on the Stars in points last year.
The Force answered right back under three minutes later with Jakob Stender’s tally at 14:09. Despite outshooting Fargo 14-9, Lincoln was down three goals and their confidence had taken hit.
Andre Gasseau’s wrist shot 1:44 into the third period all but sealed Fargo’s win, chasing Kaidan Mbereko from the game. The 18-year-old Stars netminder allowed five goals on 20 shots; Cameron Whitehead entered the game as his replacement.
The Stars finally woke up a few minutes later as Noah Laba’s third goal of the season came at 5:43. Laba took a shot from the slot that Castro knocked down and thought was in his glove, allowing the Colgate commit to poke the rebound through his legs.
Mastrodomenico got the Stars one step closer with a delayed slap shot from the far-side circle after a great shift from the visitors.
Mason Marcellus won a couple of battles in the corner before throwing the puck to Jo Lemay at the left point, who fed a pass to Mastrodomenico for the eventual goal.
The 17-year-old defenseman beat Castro along the blocker side, marking his first goal since the season opener against Youngstown. Mastrodomenico collected multiple points in a game for the second time in his young USHL career, last reaching the feat on April 7th, 2021.
Another defenseman got involved in the scoring before the night was done. Dalton Norris fired a bullet on the power play with 2:10 left in regulation, extending his point streak to four games. Laba and Luke Johnson helped get the puck to Thompson, who played the puck across for Norris, who was teed up and ready.
The Stars put together quite the rally, but they ran out of time, dropping the Saturday night contest 5-4. Castro stopped 36 shots for the win while Whitehead stopped all five shots in relief (17:22 of action). Lincoln was 1-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.