The NHL held its draft on Sunday. Luke Johnson, a center who played the last two seasons with the Lincoln Stars was drafted by the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the fifth round. Johnson scored 39 goals and 101 points in 112 games with the Stars.
Sioux Falls Stampede 1 @ Lincoln Stars 4
The Lincoln Stars closed out game three of their USHL Western Conference semifinal playoff series with three unanswered goals to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series on Friday. Vinni Lettieri put Lincoln on the scoreboard with this first USHL career playoff goal midway through the first period. Zeb Knutson responded to tie the game early in the second frame with his second of the postseason. Zach Aston-Reese then took over as he regained the lead for Lincoln two minutes later and then scored again in the third period to push the advantage to two goals. Eric Scheid added an insurance goal for the Stars late in the contest.
Michael Bitzer earned his second straight victory after making 32 saves in net for the Stars. Game Four of the series is on Saturday night in Lincoln.
Sioux Falls Stampede 2 @ Lincoln Stars 1
With their backs against the wall and facing elimination, the Stampede won a tight contest on Saturday to force a decisive fifth game with Lincoln. Following a scoreless first period, defenseman Vincent Muto scored his first USHL career playoff goal just 1:28 into the second frame. Sam Rothstein made it a two-goal lead with his first postseason goal midway through the third period. Defenseman Paul LaDue netted a shorthanded goal with six minutes left to pull Lincoln within a goal, but the Stampede would hang on thanks to 11 saves in the third by Charlie Lindgren who stopped 22 for the game.
The deciding fifth game of the series will take place on Tuesday in Sioux Falls with the winner advancing to the Western Conference Finals.
Highlights from Game 4 courtesy of USHL’s YouTube Channel.
Tony Calderone’s second goal of the game, just 1:20 into the overtime period, gave the Sioux Falls Stampede a 3-2 win in Game 1 of their best-of-five USHL playoff series over the Lincoln Stars on Tuesday night. Lincoln is the four seed in the Western Conference and went 39-22-3 during the regular season, missing the second seed by just two points, but they lost five of eight matchups during the regular season to the Stampede.
Will Suter scored just 33 seconds after the Stampede made it a 2-0 game. Dominik Shine’s goal at 4:39 of the third tied it at 2. Stampede goalie Charlie Lindgren stopped 28 of 30 shots, while Lincoln’s Jackson Teichroeb had 29 saves.
Game 2 of the series is Wednesday night.
The Lincoln Stars finished fourth in the Western Conference of the USHL and will face the #1 seeded Sioux Falls Stampede in round one of the 2013 Clark Cup Playoffs. The best-of-five game schedule is as follows:
Tuesday, April 16 @ Sioux Falls
Wednesday, April 17 @ Sioux Falls
Friday, April 19 @ Lincoln
Saturday, April 20 @ LIncoln, if necessary
Tuesday, April 23 @ Sioux Falls, if necessary
The Stars went 2-5 this season against the Stampede. Omaha and Tri-City (out of Kearney), failed to qualify for the playoffs.
The game between the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks and North Dakota started two-and-a-half hours late because the unusually warm day caused poor ice conditions at TD Ameritrade Park in downtown Omaha. The start of the second period was also delayed about 15 minutes when a coolant line under the ice was damaged during resurfacing.
However that game, along with the USHL’s game between the Omaha Lancers and Lincoln Stars, was completed and Nebraska’s first outdoor hockey games are now history.
In the USHL game, the Lancers scored the first goal just over a minute into the game on their way to a 4-2 win. It was their 10th victory in the last 11 games.
The hometown Mavs in the D-I hockey game didn’t fare as well. Down 4-0, UNO tried to come back, but North Dakota snuffed out a third-period comeback attempt by the Mavericks and came away with a 5-2 win.