There is a reason Bobby Brink was selected to the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in January.
Although the Musketeer forward did not participate in the event hosted by the Lincoln Stars, he showed the skills that earned that selection with a two-goal performance at the Ice Box to help Sioux City to a 3-1 win over Lincoln in the USHL's lone game Thursday.
Brink has recorded a point in 15 consecutive games. Out of the 24 games the Denver commit has played, he has recorded points in 22 of them with 19 goals and 22 assists.
Even without top scorer Martin Posposil — the 10th-leading scorer in the USHL is on a 12-game suspension — and five other players, Sioux City was still able to capitalize on the Stars' sluggish start.
“I say it was a slow start or a fast start for them (Sioux City),” Stars coach Cody Chupp said. “That first goal (an Ian Malcolmson snipe 11 seconds in) was pretty representative of our play tonight.
“One of the main focuses of our pre-scout was they were going to push three forwards high in the neutral zone and try and play in one of those speeds where we just have to keep ourselves on the defensive side of the puck; first shift of the game, and we get caught puck-focused and bypass us for the first goal. Honestly, we weren't a lot better from there on out.”
Brink scored his first goal late in first period, which seemed to suck the air out of the Stars heading into intermission. He scored his second just 34 seconds into the second period to give Sioux City a 3-0 lead.
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“It's frustrating to remind a group that they have something to play for,” Chupp said. “Their effort and ability to compete is important. We spend a lot of time talking about those things and we spend too much time talking about response. When you are talking about response every week, what it means is you are having a lot of off nights.
“Our mental performance tonight was unacceptable.”
Brock Bremer scored early in the third to help the Stars avoid the shutout.
Lincoln continued its hard hitting to try to spark a rally, but a Josh Lopina tripping penalty late in the third stopped all the momentum. Lopina's penalty, called with just under four minutes to play, was the only one called Thursday.
After allowing two goals on the first eight shots he faced, Samuel Hlavaj had a 40-save performance.
“The three goals they scored tonight were self-inflicted, 100 percent,” Chupp said. “We had to work for ours, and if we don't beat ourselves tonight, it's 1-nothing, it is as simple as that.”
Lincoln hits the road for a two-game series in Fargo, North Dakota, beginning Saturday at 7 p.m.