OMAHA, NE. - The Lancers finished up their three game weekend at home against the top team in the United States Hockey League, the Tri-City Storm.
The last two meetings between these teams resulted in 6-4 and 2-1 victories for the Lancers, as they were looking to take down the top dogs again.
The first period started with some strong Omaha offense, moving the puck well in the attacking zone, but not accumulating many shots on goal.
Shortly after the dominant play by the Lancers, Lleyton Roed found Gavin Brindley in the neutral zone. Brindley found Aiden Dubinsky heading into the attacking zone who then beat Omaha goaltender, Kevin Pasche down low, glove side. Putting the Storm up 1-0 early.
Nearly an entire period of hockey later, in the opening minutes of the second, Chris Hedden got the puck fresh off a won face-off by Michael Cameron. Hedden lobbed the puck through the slot, where Morgan Winters redirected it through the legs to Storm goalie, Arsenii Sergeev, knotting the game 1-1 with the majority of the second period left to play.
Three minutes later, Cole O'Hara and Jeremy Wilmer began to construct a play for the Storm while on the power-play.
O'Hara found Wilmer near the blue line, who then fed Mitchell Miller in the high slot, who shot one past the glove to Pasche to retake the lead, 2-1.
Following the go ahead goal, at just over the halfway point of the game, Wilmer found Miller again in the high slot. But on the shot from Miller, Kieran Cebrian redirected it, turning what was going to be a routine save for Pasche, into the third goal of the night for the Storm. Giving them a 3-1 lead.
Shortly after Tri-City's third goal of the game, Omaha forward, Owen Fowler picked up a five minute major penalty and a game misconduct for head contact, meaning he will be suspended at least for the Lancers' next home game on Friday, January 21.
The Lancers were able to kill off the five minute penalty, and headed into the second intermission down by a pair.
5:54 into the third period, Ilya Nikolaev dropped back a pass for Wilmer, who then found O'Hara for a one timer that beat Pasche under his blocker arm to extend the lead to 4-1, and cap off the Storm's goal scoring.
Just a minute later, on a play resulting in Sergeev covering the puck, Cade Ahrenholz was pushed into Sergeev after the whistle by a Storm defenseman, leading to Sergeev punching Ahrenholz twice in the head. In result of this, Sergeev was issued a match penalty with a five minute major for head contact. Resulting in Sergeev being ejected from the game.
That brought in the backup goaltender for Tri-City, Michael Sochan. Sochan had very minimal USHL experience, coming into the matchup with a 5.89 goals against average, and a save percentage below 0.800. But, he managed to stop the five shots Omaha put on him in his 13:14 of playing time, sealing a 4-1 victory for Tri-City.
The Lancers still sit in second place in the western conference at 17-9-3-1 following the loss.
The Lancers will be back in action, Friday, January 21st as they host the Des Moines Buccaneers. Puck is set to drop at 7:05PM, and the game can be caught on HockeyTV and Mixlr.