After allowing Sioux City's lone goal on the Musketeers first shot of the game, the Lincoln Stars put together a volcanic offensive performance against a depleted opponent.
AJ Hodges scored 3:06 into the first period to give Sioux City, who dressed only four defensemen and 11 forwards, a 1-0 lead, but Lincoln (19-16-5) responded with five unanswered goals in a 5-1 victory Friday at the Ice Box. Six players were scratched for Sioux City with four coming from injury and two to USHL suspensions.
“Obviously when you see a team only dressing four (defensemen) you want to make sure you are getting pucks into their zone and forcing their 'D' to retreat and defend,” Lincoln head coach Cody Chupp said. “That's not different than our game plan on any given night.”
Christian Sarlo responded for the Stars late in the first period with his 17th goal of the season and 10th power-play goal to tie the game 1-1.
“That power-play goal was a translation of our 5-on-5 game,” Chupp said. “Our pressure was on the guys to not only battle in those areas, but to get the puck to those areas and create second chance opportunities.”
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“Our power play works when we work and our power play works when we are unselfish. All those things that our a requirement for success 5-on-5 is no different than our power play.”
Captain Jordan Power gave Lincoln the lead for good early in the second period, where the Stars capitalized three times by forcing the Musketeers to play in their defensive and neutral zone. Matt Miller cushioned the lead to 3-1 against his former team on a nifty passing play from Brady Morrissey and Ty Glover, and Josh Lopina made it 4-1 15:05 into the period.
“(Sioux City's) goal was a result of a little bit of passivity and trying to make something happen out of nothing,” Chupp said. “ I think we got a little bit hungry for offense. From that point on I really liked our group top to bottom.
“It was a good response and a response that started on Monday. It was nice for it to translate tonight.”
Dominic James found his second goal of the season 2:59 into the third period to give Lincoln the 5-1 lead, and allowed the Stars to wear down the Musketeers over the course of the final 17 minutes of regulation.
Jacob Mucitelli made 14 saves on 15 shots and improved to 11-6-4 between the pipes. Lincoln finished with five goals on 29 shots.
The Stars and Musketeers meet again Saturday at the Ice Box at 7 p.m.