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Preview - Stars at Tri-City Storm

March 15, 2019 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Lincoln Stars News Release

FRIDAY, MAR. 15, 2019 | 7:05 P.M. CST | VIAERO CENTER

RADIO: LINCOLN STARS RADIO | WATCH: HOCKEYTV

Tonight's Contest:

The Stars (11-34-3-3) travel west to meet the owners of the USHL's best record when they face the Tri-City Storm (38-10-2-1) in Kearney, Friday.

Last Game:

The Stars took on Team USA's U18's for the second consecutive night Saturday, looking for their first sweep of the season. Team USA, having dropped two straight, had other ideas. On a power play at 5:35 in the first, Domenick Fensore ripped a shot through the pads of Samuel Hlavaj to create a 1-0 USA advantage. At 11:19, Cole Caufield scored on another 18's power play to ignite an steady stream of NTDP pressure. John Beecher and Patrick Moynihan followed suit with a pair of goals in the 16th minute to close the first with a 4-0 lead. Spencer stopped all seven shots sent his way in net for USA to protect their advantage. In the second, Jack Hughes welcomed Jacob Mucitelli, on in relief of Hlavaj, with a deflection goal off a Michael Gildon shot at 1:57. Judd Caulfield scored next after the officials confirmed his puck crossed the goal line at 7:50, and Patrick Moynihan notched another at 12:18 to cap a dominant first 40 minutes for USA. The Stars would finally awake 26 seconds into the third, scoring almost as quickly as they had the previous night, when Ross Mitton led Mikey Colella back behind last line of the USA defense, where Colella beat Knight to put the Stars on the board. Trevor Zegras answered back for the 18's, beating Mucitelli off feeds from Sean Farrell and Owen Lindmark at 6:54. With his linemates in tow, Josh Lopina scored at 9:53, settling a bouncing puck and ripping it through to make it 8-2. Owen Lindmark would come back down the ice on the very next shift and bury a Sean Farrell feed to create a 9-2 advantage. In the game's final minute, Zach Dubinsky leveled a man in the slot freeing the puck for Caleb Rule, who tucked a nifty backhand goal for the third Stars goal. At the horn, the Stars fell to USA 9-3.

Working on a three-game win streak, the Storm hosted the Sioux City Musketeers last Saturday. With just one point separating themselves and Omaha for the sixth seed in the West, the Musketeers urgency helped them secure the game's first goal. Josh Boyer beat Isaiah Saville off helpers from Parker Ford and Marcus Kallionkieli at 7:31 for the 1-0 lead. It would be the only goal for Sioux City on the evening. Tri-City applied the clamps and drew a power play late in the first. Elias Rosen's third tally of the season tied the game on the power play, as he put a puck by Ben Kraws at 18:03. In the second, Connor McMenamin's goal at 12:58 acted as the lone strike of the frame, and would supply Isaiah Saville and the Storm a lead they'd refuse to surrender. In the third, Brendan Budy, Filip Forsmark, and Ronnie Attard added insurance goals between the 11:28 and 13:35 marks, putting the icing on a 5-1 win, the Storm's fourth-in a row. Backed by a stellar defensive effort, Isaiah Saville was strong in the victory, stopping 14 of 15 on the way to his 20th win of the season.

Head-to-Head:

The Storm lead the season series 6-1. The Stars have one shootout loss among their six defeats, salvaging three points in the head-to-head. In their most recent match up, Lincoln traveled to Kearney for a late-December clash. Just 90 seconds into play, Joe Berg put the Storm ahead 1-0, beating Tyler Johnson off an the set up from Ronnie Attard. Then-Stars forward Shane Pinto tied the game at 9:13 on the power play off of assists from Declan Carlile and Jordan Power. Brendan Furry struck back for Tri-City at 12:15 to put the Storm ahead 2-1 heading into the first intermission. The second period saw Johnson and Isaiah Saville stop a combined 16 shots without allowing a puck to cross the goal line. The scoring drought gave way to Ronnie Attard's power play strike in the third, putting Tri-City up by two at 2:44. Through a slew of penalties, the Storm's lead prevailed through the end of play. Saville stopped 22 of 23 in the win, while Johnson made 29 saves on 32 shots.

Team Stats (In USHL Play):

GF: TC-3.67 (6th) to LIN-2.57 (15th)

GA: TC-2.25 (1st) to LIN-4.08 (17th)

Shots For/G: TC-29.98 (5th) to LIN-27.69 (13th)

Shots Against/G: TC-27.35 (5th) to LIN-31.73 (14th)

PP: TC-42/219, 19.1% (10th) to LIN-28/197, 14.2% (16th)

SHGA: TC-4 (t-4th) to LIN-9 (t-15th)

PK: TC-174/196, 88.8% (1st) to LIN-154/192, 80.2% (7th)

SHGF: TC 3 (t-10th) to LIN-2 (t-14th)

Leading Scorers (In USHL Play):

G: TC-Ronnie Attard 24 to LIN-Brock Bremer 14

A: TC-Filip Forsmark 34, LIN-Hunter Skinner 17

TP: TC-Ronnie Attard 48 to LIN-Brock Bremer 30

Goalies (In USHL Play):

W: TC-Isaiah Saville 20, LIN-Jacob Mucitelli and Samuel Hlavaj 3

GAA: TC-Isaiah Saville 1.95, LIN-Jacob Mucitelli 3.72

SV%: TC-Isaiah Saville .925, LIN-Jacob Mucitelli .875

Shutouts: TC-Isaiah Saville 4, LIN-Jacob Mucitelli 1

MIN: TC-Isaiah Saville 1692, LIN-Jacob Mucitelli 1016

What to Watch For: :

Reunions:

For the first time since their mid-January trade, the Stars will meet Shane Pinto as an opponent. Pinto was a 2017 Phase-I Draft Pick that grew into a dynamic scorer for Lincoln in this, his rookie season. The 2019 Top Prospect and Central Scouting's 35th-ranked North American skater scored 17 goals and 32 points in 30 games before being dealt to the Storm. In 15 games since, he's scored three goals and 13 points.

"It's going to be tough because Shane's such a fantastic kid," said Stars head coach Cody Chupp. "He's such a great teammate and was such a great member of our organization. Anytime a player like that leaves the organization, whether it's through trade, or they move on to college or pro hockey, it's always tough. Ultimately the time that I've spent here with Shane has made me a fan of his for the rest of his life. He does things right, he's a fantastic kid and teammate, so I have no doubt that he's going to be successful and is successful in Tri-City. I have no doubt that he's going to be successful in college hockey and ultimately pro-hockey after that. For the most part, I'm a Shane Pinto fan for life with the exception of the few times that we play him. l wish nothing but the best for Shane, I don't wish him badly [when we play him]-I hope we have a good night and do a good job slowing him down and limit his ability to play offense against us."

In return for Pinto, the Stars received Mikey Colella. A '99 forward in his first year in the USHL, Colella continues to progress with Lincoln. After playing for both Omaha and Tri-City, Colella is scoring at his highest rate with the Stars. Having recorded a goal against Team USA on Saturday, Colella now has three goals and nine points in 16 games since joining Lincoln.

Attard Leads the Way:

The USHL's leading scorer along the blue line has been unstoppable in the second half of the season. Tied for the season-series lead in points against the Stars with eight, Attard has notched 11 goals and seven assists over his last 11 games. The Western Michigan commit's +43 leads the USHL and his 10 power play goals are tied for the second-most among all skaters. Attard is not only a key piece on the league's top defense, he's been a big part of the Storm's win streak, a four game stretch in which they've outscored their opposition a combined 17-4.

Merritt Makes his Debut:

Arlo Merritt will make his Stars debut this Friday after being recalled from Kimball Union Academy. The '01 committed to Ohio State was selected in the 7th round of the of the 2017 Phase-I Draft. Merritt, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, was ranked 130th among North American skaters in Central Scouting's Mid-Term Rankings.

"For Arlo, I think it's a chance for him to get acclimated to a new coaching staff and a room full of players he's not overly familiar with," said Chupp. "Our goal with any affiliate coming in is to make them feel comfortable so that when they get to camp in the summer, they have a better showing and put themselves in a better spot to hopefully join our guys that return back in the fall. Arlo's goal at the end of the day is to make our team next fall. He, like a lot of guys in our room, are on a tryout here. They're here to prove themselves every day and prove they deserve to be a part of our organization going forward."


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