Friday evening was not your typical I-80 rivalry game between the Omaha Lancers and Lincoln Stars. It was not loaded with penalty minutes, but they still became a factor.
For the first 58 minutes of the contest, it was a clean game other than a tripping penalty by Lincoln's Zach Dubinsky in the first period.
Flash forward to the remaining 1:40 of regulation, and Lincoln went to the box twice, allowing Filip Suchy to score his second goal of the night with 20 seconds remaining to give the Lancers a 4-3 win at the Ice Box.
Gustaf Westlund was called for a holding call, and later Collin Peters was hit with a boarding call. Stars fans were up in arms as it stole the momentum.
It was a game that the Stars felt good about with Lincoln goaltender Tomas Vomacka making two highlight saves and stopping two Lancer breakaways.
“I was very pleased with our game,” Lincoln coach Cody Chupp said. “I thought (Omaha) had a good push in the second and we were able to come back and have a push of our own.
“Frustrating doesn't sum up the finish of that game and the fans should be frustrated. I know we are definitely frustrated. It's too bad, it's too bad a great hockey game is ruined by one person.”
It was going to be a game that was going to be decided in the third period after Paul Cotter tied the game in the second period with his 10th goal of the season.
Cotter's tally was part of a four-goal second frame that saw multiple lead changes.
Suchy tallied his first of the game nearly five minutes after Casey Dornbach gave Lincoln a 2-1 lead. Omaha scored again later in the frame to regain the lead, but Cotter was able to beat the defense on the left side and snipe it past Omaha goaltender Vinnie Purpura.
Purpura would later leave the net and be relieved by Zachary Driscoll, who has been hot between the pipes lately.
Lincoln controlled the momentum for most of the third period with 11 shots in the final frame — the Stars outshot Omaha 31-26 overall.
“There is a lot of positives to take from the game and maybe the biggest thing is how hard we worked over the course of 60 minutes,” Chupp said. “Right now, just real frustrated.”
Lincoln and Omaha match up again Saturday at Ralston Arena at 7 p.m.