The Lincoln Stars found something they have not experienced in two seasons — a three-game winning streak.
They accomplished that feat Friday with a 7-4 victory over the Sioux Falls Stampede in the Stars' home opener at the Ice Box. The last time Lincoln had a three-game winning streak came in April 2018.
“I didn't know that,” Stars coach Cody Chupp said. “I like it and I don't like it at the same time. It's good to know and obviously proud of the resiliency tonight. To regain our composure in an interesting game.”
Trailing 2-1 after a pair of Stampede goals late in the first period, Lincoln came out firing on all cylinders in the second with five goals.
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Josh Groll opened the scoring 1 minute, 12 seconds into the second frame to tie the game 2-2, starting a three-goal scoring barrage from Lincoln early. Matthew Barbolini gave the Stars a 3-2 lead nearly a minute later. Travis Treloar added Lincoln's third goal of the period at the 7:20 mark for a 4-2 Stars lead.
Treloar's goal came on the power play, just seconds after another Stars goal was waved off. Lincoln scored two power-play goals in the period, including Barbolini's. Josh Lopina scored Lincoln's fourth goal, with Barbolini getting the assist on a no-look pass. Sioux Falls finally answered to slow the bleeding, but Lincoln put the gas down even harder. Matt Miller closed Lincoln's five-goal period with a short-handed tally.
“That really speaks to our group as a whole,” Chupp said. “Moose (Jacob Mucitelli) would be the first to tell you there were a couple he'd want back tonight, but if you watch right after those goals go in, not only do we have five guys jump over the boards. (They) go out and tell him they have his back, and prove it right on the next shift.
“From a coaching standpoint, you've heard me talk about culture for years now. What that tells me is our culture is starting to move in the right direction. We care about each other, have each other's back and we have that compete mentality in everything we do.”
Miller added a third-period tally, giving him four goals in the Stars last two games, all against Sioux Falls. The Stampede matched Miller's goal in the third to close out the scoring.
Lincoln travels just down the road Saturday to face the Omaha Lancers at Ralston Arena at 7 p.m. For now the game is still on, though Omaha has been advised not to travel due to inclement weather after playing in Fargo, North Dakota, on Friday.
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