The Lincoln Stars stumbled for the second consecutive game in the third period, this time taking a 5-2 loss to the Omaha Lancers on Tuesday at the Ice Box.
It was Lincoln's fourth loss in the past five days and sixth consecutive loss overall. The Stars have not found the win column since Feb. 15, when Lincoln defeated Sioux Falls 6-2.
Omaha's Ayrton Martino broke the game open with back-to-back goals early in the final frame to give the Lancers a 4-1 lead. Martino's first third-period tally came on the power play and cushioned Omaha to a 3-1 lead.
Nikolai Mayorov scored for the third consecutive game for the Stars, this time in the second period on the power play, a goal that knotted the score 1-1 before Omaha regained the lead late in the period.
“Again, Nicky (is) playing great hockey right now,” Stars associate head coach Nick Peruzzi said. “That unit really seems to be clicking. Those guys are doing a great job of not only getting to the net, but retrieving the puck when we do.”
But despite another loss, the Ice Box crowd of 1,100 brought the excitement.
Lancer goaltender Jakub Dobes picked up his second penalty of the game after knocking the net off the moorings on a Stars odd-man rush. Dobes received a delay of game penalty and had an object thrown at him on the ice.
Dobes got the last laugh, though, stopping 22 of 24 Lincoln shots in his USHL-leading 31st game played in net.
The Stars racked up 43 penalty minutes on 12 infractions, which included two 10-minute game misconducts in the third period.
Stars captain Stanley Cooley received 17 penalty minutes in one go with a 10-minute misconduct for instigating a fight and tacked on a roughing minor. Cole Craft later received a roughing and game misconduct.
Dominic James cut into Omaha's lead with a shorthanded goal to cut the deficit to 4-2, before Omaha responded with an empty-net goal with 4.1 seconds remaining.
Lincoln head coach and general manager Chris Michael is serving an indefinite league suspension for his game misconduct in Sunday's loss to Fargo at the Ice Box.
The Stars return to action Friday with a game at Omaha at 7 p.m.