Gustaf Westlund's two-goal tally, Paul Cotter's shootout heroics and Derek Schaedig turned aside Sioux City as the Lincoln Stars (12-13-0) snapped a five-game skid Saturday at the Ice Box with a 3-2 overtime victory.
“Winning feels great and for me it isn't so much the result, but the way the guys showed up and responded,” Stars' coach Cody Chupp said. “We talked about it last night and we challenged them as a group."
After a scoreless 3-on-3 overtime, Cotter was able to score the eventual game-winning goal with a leisurely stick handling movement before tucking the puck behind Sioux City netminder Matt Jurusik.
Cotter's move was nearly 10 years in the making, practicing the shot since he was a little kid.
“I've probably done the same move since I was 10 years old,” Cotter said. “One of these days they will figure it out just by looking at a video or something. I always kind of watch T.J. Oshie and his shootouts (known for his shootout heroics in the Olympics).”
Cotter has scored all three of Lincoln's overtime winning goals, with two coming in a shootout and one in overtime as Lincoln moved to 3-0-0 in overtime play.
After the Stars' snapped the skid, Chupp felt the challenge posed in the Stars' locker room was answered.
“Basically the message was last night (a 5-3 loss to Madison at the Ice Box) was unacceptable," he said. "The challenge was laid down and the guys that showed up were guys that are committed to being here.”
After Westlund tallied two goals in regulation and had a chance to end the game with an opportunity in 3-on-3 overtime, Schaedig went to work in the crease, stopping all three Sioux City chances and 18-of-20 shots in regulation. An opportunity he almost did not have as a Sioux City goal was waved off in the third period for goaltender interference that would have given the Musketeers a 3-1 lead.
“It's funny how calls start to go your way when you are committed to working, doing things the right way and not trying to cheat the game,” Chupp said. “If you don't cheat the game, it won't cheat you and you'll get what you deserve whether it is good or it's bad.”
After Sioux City was sent to the box, Westlund turned what would have been a two-goal deficit into a 2-2 tie game with the power-play tally. It was Westlund's fifth goal of season and 15th point, also tying the score in the first period at the 4:41 mark.
Lincoln has now scored in seven of their past eight games on the power play, finishing 1-of-5 on the man advantage.
Five Stars players and Chupp will head to Kearney for the USHL/NHL prospects game Tuesday at the Viaero Center. The Stars return to the Ice Box to face the Omaha Lancers on Friday.