When the Lincoln Stars make it a priority to outshoot their opponents, they control the offensive flow.

Friday was no different as Lincoln peppered Sioux Falls goalie Jaxson Stauber with 31 shots in a 2-0 victory at the Ice Box.

Ashton Calder sealed the game with an empty-net goal with 12.3 seconds left.

“We found a way early on the power play and throughout of the course of the game there were great chances both ways,” Stars coach Cody Chupp said. “We were fortunate to bend and not break. Both teams had opportunities to score and didn't, and it makes it a little more interesting coming down to the end.”

Coming into the contest, the Stars held the top spot in the USHL in shots per game with 34.75 and improved to 9-3-0 when outshooting their opponent.

Lincoln began with 11 shots in the first period as Dominick Mersch was able to beat Stauber 8:13 into the frame on a 5-on-4 power-play advantage.

It was Mersch's eighth goal of the season and Casey Dornbach's team-leading 21st point with the assist. Gustaf Westlund also added an assist.

After Mersch's opening goal of the game, the contest was delayed shortly after a pane of glass shattered. The Stars ice crew quickly went to work and got the game back underway in just 8 minutes.

“I feel I have the best crew in the league,” said rink manager Tanner Baker, who will serve as an ice technician at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. “We are just a great team and everyone has had a lot of good training.”

As for the Stars, they did not let the broken glass hinder the momentum they built in the first frame.

“I didn't think it affected us too much,” Chupp said. “I hate that it broke then, and we had to stand around and regain momentum we just built from our goal.

“I thought our guys responded well and at the end of the day it was a great hockey game with a lot of opportunities.”

After things became chippy the rest of the way, with a combined 72 penalty minutes, Tomas Vomacka was able to high-five fans against the glass and celebrate his third shutout of the season after Calder capped the win with his seventh goal.

The Stars return to the Ice Box on Saturday to face the Des Moines Buccaneers at 7 p.m.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7431 or tgray@journalstar.com.


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