LINCOLN, NE. – After splitting last weekend’s home-and-home series with the Lincoln Stars, both teams were looking to come out on top as second place in the western conference is in reach tonight (2/12).
Last weekend’s games resulted in a dominate 5-1 victory for Lincoln at the Ice Box and a 4-3 shootout victory for Omaha back at Liberty First Credit Union Arena. So after trading blows last week, we will see who can come in with the knockout punch tonight.
The first period concluded as a very evenly played one. With the Lancers leading the Stars by a score of 2-1, and leading in the shot count 14-13.
The Lancers scored first just 4:49 into the first period as Cam Mitchell netted one over the blocker of Lincoln goaltender, Cameron Whitehead, giving Mitchell his sixth goal of the year. Jared Wright and Morgan Winters picked up the assists on that play.
That was followed up just before the halfway point of the period, as Luke Strickland netted his seventh of the season, off of feeds from Ryan Gillespie and Matt Romer to take the 2-0 lead.
Omaha goaltender, Kevin Pasche started the play by clearing he puck out of his own zone, and up to Romer. Romer found Gillespie in the attacking zone, who fed Strickland in the slot. Strickland then went top shelf on Whitehead to extend on the Lancers’ lead.
With just 1:08 left in the period, Lincoln cut the lead in half.
Luke Johnson entered the attacking zone and chipped the puck to Dashel Oliver. He was able to carry the puck around the attacking net, and hit Antonio Fernandez, who was rushing in from the point. Fernandez beat Pasche over the blocker on a one-timer to cut the Lancers’ lead to just one goal heading into the intermission.
The second period panned out a lot like the first, with Omaha striking twice, followed by a late goal by the Stars.
Just four and a half minutes into the period, Tanner Rowe brought the puck down low in the attacking zone and ripped an odd angle shot that was kicked away by Whitehead.
Vincent Salice picked up the rebound and blasted the post. Luckily, Tucker Shedd hopped in with the offense and buried the third Lancers goal of the night off the third opportunity to make it a 3-1 game.
Later in the second period the Lancers found themselves on a lengthy 5-on-3 man advantage, which led them to extending their lead once again.
After a missed shot from Garrett Wright, Winters won a battle behind the net and slipped the puck into the corner to Mitchell. Mitchell walked half of the perimeter of the offensive zone and found Winters wide open for a one-timer in the left side face-off circle. Winters blasted a shot over the glove of Whitehead to take the 4-1 lead, with 6:11 left in the period.
All signs pointed to the Lancers taking a three goal lead into the second intermission, but the Stars were not done yet.
With just 29 seconds remaining in the period, Noah Laba won an attacking zone face-off back to Joey Pierce. Pierce unleashed a wrist shot through traffic which squeaked through the Omaha defense, leaving Gleb Veremyev in the goal crease to tap it in, to close the Lancers' lead to two heading into the third period.
The lone goal in the third period came from the Lancers. 7:10 into the period, Frank D'Ancona and Tanner Rowe completed a series of quick passes around the attacking net and found Vincent Salice. Salice had the whole net to shoot at, and buried the fifth goal of the night to cap off a 5-2 victory for Omaha.
Kevin Pasche completed the night with 40 saves on 42 shots, improving his record to 13-8-1-2 on the year.
The Lancers bounce back into third place in the western conference with 47 points on the season. They currently sit behind the Sioux City Musketeers who are at 48 points, and are ahead of the Lincoln Stars at 46 points.
The Lancers will be back in action on Friday, February 18th as they pay a visit to the Tri-City Storm to kick off a three game weekend. That game can be caught of Mixlr and HockeyTV.