Lincoln clinches fifth to set up western division showdown
The Lincoln Stars clinched fifth place in the USHL over the weekend to set up a first round matchup between the Stars and the 4th place Sioux City Musketeers in the first round of the USHL playoffs. Lincoln clinched a playoff spot on Wednesday with a 6-5 shoot-out win in Sioux City. The Stars then went on to win 3 more games over the weekend including wins over Dubuque 8-3, North Iowa 4-3 (SO), and a 5-3 win over Green Bay at home. Lincoln got contributions from literally every direction as they tallied 21 goals from a total of 11 different players in their 4 games on the week, let by Eric Maksimenko’s 4 goals.
The bottom teams in the USHL continue to scramble for the last 3 remaining births in the playoffs. Thunder Bay, who has only 2 games remaining, was only able to gain a single point over the weekend in a 2 game series with the USA (18& Under) Team. They lost on Friday 4-1, and took the USA team to a shoot-out before losing on Saturday by a 3-2 (SO) score. The Flyers, by gaining the one point for a shoot-out loss, still hold on to 6th place in the league currently with 43 points.
Dubuque strengthened their playoff hopes on Sunday by dismantling the Waterloo Black Hawks by a 5-1 score. Dubuque’s Brad Johnson pumped 4 goals past Black Hawk goalie Mike Walsh including 2 on the power play. The win put Dubuque in solid playoff position by giving them sole possession of 7th place with 42 points and giving them the edge in a position tie breaker with Waterloo, whom they play once more this season.
The Twin Cities Vulcans continued to struggle over the weekend dropping a pair of games to the last place Fargo-Moorhead Ice Sharks 7-4 Friday and 5-4 on Saturday. They hold onto 8th place currently by virtue of having a 3-0 record against the Rochester Mustangs who are tied with the Vulcans at 40 points.
Race for Remaining Playoff Spots Team Points Games Remaining
6. Thunder Bay Flyers 43 2
7. Dubuque Fighting Saints 42 4
8. Twin City Vulcans 40 4
9. Rochester Mustangs 40 6
10. North Iowa Huskies 36 6
11. Waterloo Blackhawks 34 6
Other Games Around the USHL:
Wednesday- Green Bay 4 Waterloo 0
Friday- Green Bay 3 Sioux City 2 (OT), Omaha 9 North Iowa 2, Rochester 2 Des Moines 1
Saturday- Sioux City 3 Des Moines 2, Waterloo 6 Rochester 5 (OT), Green Bay 5 Omaha 3
Sunday- Sioux City 4 Fargo-Moorhead 2
*Teams 6-8 make the playoffs