LINCOLN, NE. - The Lancers started a three game series with the Lincoln Stars at the Ice Box in Lincoln, Nebraska tonight (2/5), as they were looking to jump back up into second place in the western conference with a victory.
With the Sioux City Musketeers falling to the Stars last night (2/4), it opened the door for the Lancers to hop a spot.
The first period was evenly matched as the the two squads were locked at one goal a side, with the Lancers trailing by one in the shot count, 14-13.
Chris Hedden brought his scoring streak up to three games by striking first.
Garrett Wright rounded the right side face-off dot in the attacking zone and dropped the puck back to Hedden at the blue line. Hedden then creeped into the high slot and and beat Stars' goaltender, Cameron Whitehead over the blocker to make it 1-0 at the 11:05 mark of the first period.
Just under four minutes later Lincoln struck back and tied things up as Aiden Thompson found Yu Sato all alone at the backdoor who got a shot by Lancers' goaltender, Kevin Pasche to make it a 1-1 game, a score the two teams took into the intermission.
The second period brought out an enormous amount of offense for Lincoln, as they outshot the Lancers by a count of 11-4.
The second period rally for the Stars started just shy of the 10 minute mark of the period when Mason Marcellus pick-pocketed Cam Mitchell as he was rounding his own net and got a quick feed out to Luke Johnson to hammered one blocker side on Pasche to take the lead, 2-1.
A few minutes later in the period, Sato started more offensive action for the Stars as he carried the puck in deep in the attacking zone. Sato was then able to find Lucas Wahlin in the high slot who ripped a shot that trickled under the arm of Pasche.
Right as Pasche realized the puck was behind him, Aiden Thompson swooped in and buried it to make it a 3-1 game for Lincoln, 13:27 into the second.
With under 90 seconds left to play in the period, the Lincoln offense got to work once again.
Gleb Veremyev picked up a feed in the neutral zone. He was then able to scoot the puck up to Noah Laba who was heading in on Pasche's net.
Laba was able to out-skate the slide from Lancers' defenseman, Chris Hedden, and get a pass to the backdoor, once again, to Yu Sato. Sato was able to beat Pasche blocker side, picking up his second goal of the night, sending the Stars into the second intermission, up by a score of 4-1.
The final Lincoln goal, and the final goal of the night came with just 7:40 left in the third period.
Aiden Thompson scooped up a rebound in the attacking zone, found Yu Sato for the third time, out in the open who ended up beating Pasche far-side.
That goal sealed a 5-1 victory for Lincoln and gave Yu Sato his first United States Hockey League hat trick.
Tonight's loss drops the Lancers into fourth place in the western conference standings as they are now tied with Lincoln with 43 points and a winning percentage of 0.614. However, the Stars are now 2-1-0-0 in head-to-head matchups with Omaha, as the Lancers sit at 1-1-1-0 in that statistic, giving Lincoln the advantage in the standings.
The Lancers will face off again with Lincoln tomorrow, Sunday, February 6th back in Omaha at Liberty First Credit Union Arena. Puck is set to drop at 4:05PM. That game can be caught on HockeyTV and Mixlr.