It is custom for "C'mon N' Ride It" by Quad City DJs to ring throughout the Ice Box after a Lincoln Stars win, and they kept riding the music playing with a 4-2 victory over the Omaha Lancers on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd.
Saturday's contest marked the last time in the regular season the Stars (25-20-1-1) host the Lancers and second straight time they have defeated the Interstate 80 rival and USHL Western Conference leaders.
Lincoln moved its winning streak to six games and has grabbed points in the last eight, going 7-0-1 in that span.
The third period was dicey after the Stars took a penalty with three minutes remaining in regulation. They held a 3-2 lead, but the Lancers were on a 6-on-4 advantage after pulling goaltender Vinnie Purpura.
Josiah Slavin sent the sellout crowd into a frenzy with a shot that found twine to give Lincoln the two-goal lead with 58 seconds remaining.
“We needed (the crowd),” Lincoln coach Cody Chupp said. “It's a huge credit to them, because after a travel like yesterday (from Dubuque, Iowa), I think we needed them. They showed up, they were loud and they were rowdy. There was probably 3,000 fans at warmups. … huge credit to them, and huge credit to our guys making that trip back from Dubuque and showing up to play a team like Omaha and giving them your best.”
Slavin's short-handed tally came moments after the Stars sent a puck down ice and hit the post, allowing Omaha one last rush before the Stars put the Lancers on ice.
Paul Cotter gave Lincoln the go-ahead goal in the third after the Stars rallied from a 2-1 deficit.
“We aren't at perfection, but you know what, tonight was really good,” Chupp said. “It took a lot of work.
“There was a stretch in the second period where you could just feel the mood on the bench. Those goals weren't going in when you are creating so many chances. You start begging for calls and start getting frustrated and guys are chirping at the other team. We had to reset ourselves. That was the message at the end of the second period. We've had the better opportunities, we've outchanced them, we've hit two-three or better posts and it's resulted in two goals. We are playing a good brand of hockey.”
Omaha took the lead in the second period, slipping a pair of goals past Derek Schaedig, who made his first start since Feb. 18 against Dubuque at the Ice Box, where the Stars fell 4-3 in an overtime game that helped continue Lincoln's point streak.
Shaedig made 17 saves as the Stars outshot Omaha 40-19.
“Coming in every couple of games, it's a little hard getting in the flow of things,” Schaedig said. “You just have to get back to your habits and make sure you are doing everything you can, and it just starts to flow together and you get in a zone.”
Wyatt Aamodt tied the game 2-2 in the second with his second goal in the past two games before Lincoln was able to grab the lead in the third. Dominck Mersch gave Lincoln the initial lead with just over 30 seconds remaining in the first period with his 19th goal of the season.
The Stars continue their three-game stretch with a Sunday showdown at Sioux Falls at 6 p.m.