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McCarthy answers coach's text with 23-save day in Stars' third straight win

McCarthy answers coach's text with 23-save day in Stars' third straight win

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Lincoln Stars general manager and head coach Chris Michael texted Lincoln goalie Aidan McCarthy if he was ready to go Sunday morning.

The Novi, Michigan, native proved he was ready, stopping 23 shots in the Stars' 3-2 overtime victory over Fargo at the Ice Box.

Lincoln is now on a three-game win streak and a five-game point streak at home, going 4-0-1 over the past five games at the Ice Box.

“I told (Michael) emphatically with probably not too nice of words that I was ready to go, ready to go for the boys,” McCarthy said.

It was also Michael's and Stars forward Jack O'Leary's birthday Sunday. O'Leary, however, celebrated his 21st birthday from the stands.

O'Leary was hit with a one-game suspension following a reviewed play from Saturday's 5-2 victory over Omaha.

“I found out as soon as I walked into the locker room,” O'Leary said of his suspension. “I came in with my suit and wasn't even able to get undressed. I walked into the coaches office and heard, 'Happy birthday, but sad news is you're suspended.' It was a little love-hate, but I trusted the boys.”

O'Leary scored the game-winner Saturday for the Stars, but it was Nikolai Mayorov who saved the birthday celebrations with two goals Sunday.

Mayorov tied the game at 2-2 with under seven minutes to play in regulation and scored the game-winner in overtime.

“He's a tremendous player,” O'Leary said. “(Mayorov) is so offensively gifted and a great guy to have in the locker room and love to have him all around. He's so skilled. I've learned a lot from him and I love him like a brother. Just so happy for what he did today.”

Mayorov anticipated a loose puck that turned into a one-on-one breakaway to score the tying goal in the third period for his 12th of the season, then went far side in overtime.

“That's why we gave up a lot to get him,” Michael said. “He did a great job anticipating a loose puck there in our zone that kind of sprung (him). That's a big move. He had me fooled thinking he was just going to blast it through the net and he ended up going forehand-backhand.

“Then in overtime on the two-on-one, if you watch the playback you can tell how offensive-minded and how dynamic he is offensive. … He's a big-time goal scorer.”

Lincoln returns to action Thursday hosting Waterloo at the Ice Box.

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