Four straight goals, including two by Evan Dougherty, helped the Waterloo Black Hawks down the Lincoln Stars 6-2 Friday at the Ice Box.
After a solid first period that saw Lincoln get a goal from Tristan Ashbrook for a 1-0 lead, the Stars faltered in a polar-opposite second period in which the Black Hawks (19-10-2) scored three goals before adding a fourth straight goal in the third period.
“It was kind of three separate games,” Stars coach Cody Chupp said. “In the first period, I thought we played really well; kind of pushed the pace and ran the play.”
Dougherty tallied his first of the night short-handed just 3:06 into the second frame, taking the air out of the Stars (13-15-1) and giving the Black Hawks offensive momentum.
After the Stars did not commit a single penalty in the first period, they went on to commit two early in the second, leading to a Waterloo power-play goal.
“Second period became a little bit of a special-teams battle,” Chupp said. “Our special teams were not sharp tonight, and as a staff we take full responsibility. They just won the special-teams battle in the second period.”
Scrambling from a two-goal deficit, Lincoln pressed, but Dougherty struck again for his second goal of the night, and sparked a four-goal frenzy in the final five minutes.
Gustaf Westlund cut the Waterloo deficit back to two goals, but Waterloo responded with two goals in a span of 1:13 to close out the Stars.
“The third period was crunch time where we needed to continue to push and establish our five-on-five game, and there were guys that struggled in the third,” Chupp said. “Maybe it's the number of minutes (or) maybe it was the moment. We had some mental lapses that turned this game, that was kind of a tight game throughout the course of two periods; they continued to pour it on and we weren't able to re-establish our game after that second period.”
The Stars always enjoy playing at home, but a key road series may be something the Stars need, Chupp said.
Lincoln will hit the road with a big series at Central Illinois, playing at 4 p.m. Sunday and 11 a.m. Monday.