Derek Schaedig nodded his head calmly to the beat of Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" as he returned to his net with 21 seconds left in regulation after a Green Bay timeout and clinging to a one-goal lead.
The three-goal lead the Stars gave him with a four-goal first period had nearly evaporated, but he made the final save sprawled in the crease before thrusting his arms up in celebration as the final horn rang in a 4-3 victory Friday at the Ice Box.
Lincoln has talked about fast starts all season long and finally got one thanks to first-period goals by Casey Dornbach, Dominick Mersh and Paul Cotter, who had two.
“Obviously, that was the difference,” Stars head coach Cody Chupp said about the Stars' flurry in the first period.
“We talked about our start, but the underlying message was we need to find a way to play 60 minutes. We are still in search of that after tonight. It was a good start and after the first 3 to 5 minutes we were able to turn the tide and really put the pressure on. That ended up being the difference in the game.”
After the Gamblers struck early, Dornbach knotted the score with his team-leading eighth goal of the season. Dornbach finished with a three-point night, adding two assists on both of Cotter's, goals including one on a 5-on-3 advantage.
“In our game, especially in our league, being good on special teams give you a chance each and every night,” Chupp said. “Again, I think it was the difference in the game. We were able to win the special-teams battle and we win by one.
“To be locked into special teams is huge, and (Schaedig) was huge for us in the (penalty) kill tonight.”
Schaedig stopped 30 shots and moved to 8-1 all-time in his USHL career as he helped shut down all five Green Bay power-plays.
After Dominick Mersch finished the Stars' scoring in the first, Green Bay called NHL Vegas Knight's prospect Maksim Zhukov to the bench for the final 1:41 of the first period.
Zhukov returned to the net in the second period, stopping the final 11 Stars' shots he faced in his return to the net. The Gamblers' offense gave him a chance by scoring two third-period goals to make things interesting.
Green Bay cut the deficit to 4-2 just 38 seconds into the final frame with a goal from Josh Dunne and made it a one-goal game just before the midway mark.
Lincoln and Green Bay return to the Ice Box for a 7 p.m. Saturday game.