The horn sounded and goaltender Tomas Vomacka was surrounded by his teammates before skating around the ice for a wave and a bow to the crowd after a 1-0 shutout of the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Friday at the Ice Box.
“It was a huge game, and a huge game for us,” Vomacka said. “We worked hard today and guys blocked a couple shots.
“The crowd was unreal today, they kept us in the game; and we are excited after this one.”
Vomacka helped keep the game scoreless for 49 minutes, 58 seconds while pressure set in on both benches over who was going to get the first goal. Lincoln earned a penalty shot, and head coach Cody Chupp picked Devlin McCabe to take the shot.
“We had a little … timeout to think about it, and I was a little nervous at first,” McCabe said. “I calmed myself down and went to my go-to move.”
McCabe skated in on the left side, faked his shot to see what opened up and sniped Lincoln's first goal of the season top-shelf past Muskegon goaltender Adam Brizgala, giving Lincoln the 1-0 lead.
“Since it's the first game of the season from both teams, it was fast pace and good hockey game with two unbelievable goalies that played out of their minds,” Chupp said. “You just kept waiting for the first (goal) not knowing when it was going to come or who was going to score it. It was all about who got the first one and what kind of pushed from each team happened after that.
“Credit to our guys, they managed their late push very well, and Devlin McCabe came through big time on the penalty shot.”
The Stars excelled Friday night at the penalty kill. Lincoln finished 8-for-8, including killing off two penalties in the final minutes. The Stars also had a face off in their defensive zone with six Muskegon players on the ice and only four for Lincoln.
“Credit to our guys,” Chupp said. “They managed that wave from Muskegon right after we scored. A couple huge blocks late, late in the game. Especially with the goalie pulled and guys were locked in.
“The defensive kill and the penalty kill unit is the heart beat of a team. If those guys are huge for you, you are going to have success more often then not.”
Lincoln hosts the Des Moines Buccaneers next Friday at 7:30 p.m.