USHL: Lincoln Stars get underway

By Richard Roeder

The Lincoln Stars came away with four points in three games this weekend. Not a usual headline for Lincoln, except it happened for the first time in this young USHL season. Adam Bartholomay, Brent Borgen, and new addition John Swanson each tallied three goals to lead the Stars. Lincoln was far improved from the team who started 1-5. The Stars look to add momentum when they go back on the road this weekend. After dropping contests last weekend to River City and St. Louis, this may be the confidence builder that has been lacking thus far.

Oct 10th – St. Louis @ Lincoln

St. Louis broke open a close contest with four second period goals, and never looked back, winning 7-3. Colin Vock and Corey Elkins each had two goals for the Eagles, who dominated the last two periods of play. Matt Hayek, Evan Rankin, and Jared Boll scored goals for the Stars. The game was marred by penalties, even before the score got out of hand. The team combined for ten penalties and 26 minutes in the first period. Aaron Walski made his first career start for Lincoln, saving 37 on 42 opportunities.

Oct 11th – River City @ Lincoln

Penalties again killed the Stars in a 6-3 defeat to the Lancers. River City cashed in on a 5 on 3 opportunity on a goal by Mick Lawrence early in the 1st, and closed the period up 2-0 on another 5 on 3 goal by Andrew Meyer. An unassisted power play goal by Paul Stastny early in the 2nd gave the Lancers a three goal cushion they would need. Lincoln fought back with PP goals by Rankin and Keith Roger and closed the gap to 3-2, but the Lancers were too much in the end.

Oct 17th – Des Moines @ Lincoln

Lincoln used a fast start by Bartholomay to gain their first win at the Ice Box in four tries as they defeated the Buccaneers 4-3 in an exciting shootout. Bartholomay scored a natural hat trick in the first 13 minutes of the game, only to have the Buccaneers fight back and tie the score by the end of the 2nd period. This was especially disappointing considering Des Moines got the equalizing goal on a two-man advantage. The disappointing part comes into play when you learn that Lincoln was the team up two men when the score happened. Minnesota Wild draftee Mike Erickson scored twice for Des Moines to fuel the comeback, including the previously mentioned goal. After a scoreless third period and overtime, Phillippe Lamoureux stopped five of six shooters to secure the win for Lincoln. Rankin and Borgen potted goals for the Stars during the shootout.

Oct 18th Lincoln @ River City

Lincoln continued its improved play the next night in Council Bluffs against the Lancers. Momentum shifted from one team to the other constantly, with the Lancers taking a quick lead eleven seconds into the game when Lawrence again hurt the Stars. Lawrence tapped home a puck Star goaltender Mike Waidlich couldn’t get a handle on, and just like that the Lancers were up 1-0. The Lancers then added a PP goal by Stephen Balint for a two goal lead with 5:28 left in the 1st. Lincoln then fought back with two goals of their own. Minnesota prep forward Swanson got his first career goal as a Star to end the period 2-1. Then Borgen got one by Lancer tender Jeff Lerg to even up the score heading into the final frame. A goal two minutes into the third by Eric Walsky proved to be the game winner, but Lerg was outstanding down the stretch. Lerg made at least three spectacular saves in the final minute to preserve the win.

Oct 19th Waterloo @ Lincoln

Whoever made the USHL schedule isn’t from Waterloo, you can bet on that. The Hawks played in Council Bluffs on Friday, went home Saturday and played Green Bay, and then got back on the bus and traveled down I-80 once again on Sunday to play the Stars. Lincoln dominated this game, and learned something from Friday’s game against Des Moines. This time the Stars put an opponent away when they had the chance. Ben Gordon beat Black Hawk goaltender Aaron Johnson on a wraparound goal, and shortly afterward Borgen made it 2-0 Stars. Waterloo cut the lead to 2-1 to end the first, but the Stars ran off five unanswered goal to end the game up 6-1. Swanson had two goals during the spurt and had the Ice Box rocking like usual for the first time all year. Lamoureux stopped 35 of 36 shots for the win.