OMAHA, NE. - The Lancers capped off a three game weekend by hosting their arch rivals, the Lincoln Stars.
The Lancers have taken down the Stars in their last two meetings, by scores of 4-3 in a shootout and a 5-2 regulation victory. The Lancers were looking for a strong start to try to finish out the weekend with four out of the available six points.
The Lancers struck first early in the first period as Matt Basgall picked up an unassisted goal just 1:18 into the game.
Basgall picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and sent a shot on net from the red line. Lincoln goaltender, Cameron Whitehead intended to steer the puck into the corner, but instead tipped the puck over his blocker, as the puck rolled into the back of the net.
That goal gave the Lancers a 1-0 lead, and gave Matt Basgall his sixth goal of the year, and his second goal from 100+ feet out with a goalie in net.
Just as the period was coming to a close, Chris Hedden picked up a slashing penalty with 1:40 left to play in the first. It took the Stars just 15 seconds to find the back of the net as Mason Marcellus moved the puck to the blue line to Carter Schade. Schade found Antonio Fernandez in the opposite face-off dot, where he was able to bury a slap shot by Omaha net minder, Tommy Heaney. Making it a 1-1 game at the first intermission.
The Lancers got another unassisted goal brewing as Cam Mitchell got tangled up off an offensive zone face off. Mitchell wiggled past the Stars' center and made a move around Fernandez, leading to a top-shelf goal over the blocker of Whitehead to take the 2-1 lead.
Once again, Lincoln scored to close out the period with just 30 seconds left. Lucas Wahlin found Dalton Norris with a lot of time and space to work with in the attacking zone while on the man advantage, and blew a snap shot by the blocker of Heaney, tying the game at two goals a side.
That play occurred after the Lancers got a bit too involved with getting the puck out of their zone, leaving two Stars' players in down low.
Finally the Lancers' power-play got to work in the opening minutes of the third period.
Mitchell had the puck along the near side boards and found Jared Wright below the goal line. Wright then moved the puck into the slot, where Luke Strickland banged one home to regain the lead and make it a 3-2 game with 16:45 left to play.
The Stars' offense got to work after that.
It took until there was just over 4:30 left in regulations where Noah Laba scored his seventh goal of the year with Luke Johnson on the assist. Giving the Stars their third power-play goal of the game.
Johnson weaved through defenders and snuck a pass down low to Laba who went forehand-to-backhand on Heaney to make it a 3-3 game.
After Frank D'Ancona picked up a slashing penalty with 21 seconds left in regulation, the Lancers won the next face-off and iced the puck to run clock down.
At this point, the Stars defenseman picked up the puck behind his own net with 10 seconds remaining in the third period. The whole arena was anticipating overtime.
But Marcellus found Joe Lemay at the top of the left side face-off circle and he got a wrist shot past the glove of Heaney to score the game-winner with one second remaining in the game.
That goal gave the Stars a 4-3 road win over the Lancers. And their fourth power-play goal of the game.
The Lancers will be back in action for "Pink in the Rink" night on Friday, February 25th as they host the Fargo Force. That game can be caught on HockeyTV and Mixlr.