It was a clash of two USHL worlds Friday, as Lincoln lost 5-1 to Central Illinois at the Ice Box.
Declan McDonnell scored his first USHL goal for the Stars, while the Flying Aces' Philippe Lapointe may have scored one of his last in the league. The Central Illinois team will go dormant next season, leading to a third league draft to disperse its players.
Lapointe received a warm welcome back to the Ice Box at the first media timeout before capping the win with an empty-net goal. The Burr Ridge, Illinois, native spent 85 games in a Stars uniform and took time on the ice for post-game photos.
McDonnell, a Providence College recruit, has played only five games in the USHL, and his first goal helped the Stars carry momentum into the first intermission tied 1-1 before the Aces scored four unanswered goals over the next two periods.
“Moose (goaltender Jacob Mucitelli) wants a few of those back, no question,” Stars coach Cody Chupp said. “It's definitely not all on him and I know he is beating himself up right now.
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"Obviously, we wanted him to be better (and) he wanted to be better.”
The Stars held the upper hand for most of the first two periods, putting 24 shots on net to the Aces' 17. But Central Illinois held Lincoln to just five shots in the third period.
“Our willingness to compete is the thing really in question now,” Chupp said. “I don't think it was us keeping it competitive through major portions of the game. I thought it was us carrying the pace of play through a lot of this game.
“We created great chances for ourselves, but ultimately there were too many guys on a different page or their own page or whatever.”
The two teams play again Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Ice Box.