It was was improbable and downright nearly impossible.
Trailing 3-2 with 25.1 seconds remaining and down a man due to a penalty, the Lincoln Stars' (8-4-1-1) chances looked bleak before coming from behind Saturday in a 4-3 overtime victory over Sioux Falls.
It was games like that the Stars simply could not win in the 2018-19 season, when they gave up 13 goals in 29 games where they pulled the goaltender.
“There was some things stacked against us late in the game,” Stars coach Cody Chupp said. “Taking a penalty and having to pull our goalie just to get to even strength.”
For Tony Follmer, who scored the game-winning goal, it was just a goal. In his eyes it was, more importantly, a win — come January and February, that goal that snapped a 56-game goal drought for Follmer may be the difference in the playoff race.
“Not only are the two points huge for us, but that resiliency is probably even more so,” Chupp said. “Where we look back and say we've done this before and have found a way. From that standpoint mentally, and we've had a couple games like that, the mental side of it is probably as big as anything.”
But Follmer's first goal of the season was more than that for the O'Fallon, Missouri, defenseman.
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Lincoln had not lost back-to-back regulation games all season. It showed that the Stars are a brand new team, and last season's struggles could be a thing of the past.
“We really needed something,” Follmer said. “We needed a win. Getting that really felt good.
“I feel like this team is so much more dedicated. They are always competing and working hard in the gym, on ice and in practice. It's going to pay off sooner or later and I feel like it's starting to pay off.”
Lincoln hits the road to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to face the RoughRiders at 7 p.m. Friday.
Stars make commitments
Matt Barbolini announced his college commitment Wednesday to play for Miami (Ohio), while Lincoln captain Jordan Power announced his commitment to Clarkson a day earlier.
Lincoln now has 17 players committed to play college hockey.
"When I started talking with Miami, I really got a vibe that it was a really good fit," Barbolini said in a news release. "I really fell in love with the coaching staff and everything that the brotherhood means. I think that it was an overall good fit and I couldn’t see myself going anywhere but Miami."
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