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Preview: Musketeers vs Stars

February 14, 2019 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Lincoln Stars News Release

FRIDAY, FEB. 14, 2019 | 7:05 P.M. CST | ICE BOX

RADIO: LINCOLN STARS RADIO | WATCH: HOCKEYTV

Tonight's Contest:

The Stars (10-27-3-2) kick off a stretch of three games in four days when the Sioux City Musketeers (19-14-5-2) come to town for a Valentine's Day showdown.

Last Game:

The Stars returned to the Covelli Centre last Saturday in search of a bounce back following their 5-2 loss against Youngstown the night prior. The Stars began the game on much better footing Saturday. Ryan Carmichael recorded his first goal with Lincoln, his fourth of the season, on a shot through traffic that beat Youngstown's Christian Stoever. Lincoln followed up with Tristan Ashbrook capitalizing on the Stars first power play of the night, notching his tenth of the season and creating a goal-streak of two games. Michael Colella's assist gives him six points in seven games with the Stars and extends his point streak to four games. Goals in pairs became the theme of the weekend as the Phantoms answered back with two tallies to tie the game.The first came at 13:25 as Trevor Kuntar scored on a power play that just managed to cross the goal line. 55 seconds later, Matt Barnaby put his stick on a puck that had leaked past Samuel Hlavaj to extend his goal streak to two games. In the second, the Stars re-took the lead off Tristan Ashbrook's second tally of the night. The sequence was set up by Ryan Carmichael who's pass led Ashbrook into the zone where he dropped it back for Jordan Power. Power made a great play to keep the puck in the zone and return it to an open Ashbrook in the slot, where the Stars veteran ripped the puck by Stoever for the 3-2 lead. Youngstown would again answer when Joey Abate bested Hlavaj on assists from Barnaby and Dobay at 13:57. In a chippy third period the Stars fell behind for the first time at 5:35, when Brett Murray worked loose in front to chip a puck home for the 4-3 lead. Dalton Messina followed that up by exiting the box at the end of a penalty and streaking in alone on Hlavaj off a pass from Josh DeLuca, putting the puck home for the 5-3 lead. In the game's final minutes, Murray capitalized on an awkward bounce behind the net which caused the puck to roll back to him in front of the Stars open goal where he put it through to seal a 6-3 Phantoms win.

In their last action, the Musketeers took on the the Chicago Steel. Sioux City jumped out to an ideal start, scoring two goals in the first period. Marcus Kallionkieli struck first on a power play at 8:33, followed by Viljami Nieminen's fifth goal of the year at 15:48. The 2-0 lead was preserved by Sioux City holding Chicago to just two shots in the opening 20 minutes. In the second, the Steel awoke following Travis Treloar's 13th goal of the year just 2:08 into the period. After a scoreless 11 minutes, Kevin Lombardi scored to regain Sioux City's two-goal lead. Gunnarwolfe Fontaine struck back for Chicago, cutting the score to 3-2 at 14:39. In the third, the Steel took command. Neil Shea tied the contest just 25 seconds into the period. From there, Chicago out-shot the Musketeers 11-4 for the remainder of play. Former Stars captain Josiah Slavin put home the eventual game-winner on a power play at 10:01, followed by Mathieu De St. Phalle scoring an empty-netter with just over a minute remaining to deliver Chicago a 5-3 win. The loss dropped Sioux City to 3-7-2-2 since the calendar flipped to 2019. They've lost nine of their last 11 games.

Head-to-Head:

In their final meeting of 2018-19, the Stars will look to pull even in head-to-head wins. Game one of the high-octane season series saw Bobby Brink's third period hat trick propel the Musketeers to a 4-2 victory. The Stars won the second meeting off Josiah Slavin's overtime winner. Round three came just prior to the new year at the Tyson Events Center. Josh Lopina scored a power play goal just 4:18 into play to give Lincoln the early lead. Jordan Steinmetz tied the game at 12:34, as each team fought to a first-period draw. Three-straight goals from the Musketeers in the second saw Parker Ford strike twice, and Matthew Miller add a tally on the power play to give Sioux City a 4-1 lead. Lincoln fought back with Tristan Ashbrook's goal in the final minute of the second, sparking the kindling for a third period push. Musketeers goalie Ben Kraws withstood the Stars comeback efforts until the final second of play, when three former Stars, Devlin McCabe (now a Musketeer) and Max Ellis (Muskegon Lumberjacks) fed Shane Pinto (Tri-City Storm) to end the game in a 4-3 Stars loss.

Team Stats:

GF: SC-3.18 (10th) to LIN-2.71(15th)

GA: SC-3.10 (7th) to LIN-3.88 (17th)

Shots For/G: LIN-27.95 (13th) to SC-26.80 (16th)

Shots Against/G: SC-27.25 (4th) to LIN-30.33 (13th)

PP: SC-32/137, 23.4% (t-3rd) to LIN-26/172, 15.1% (16th), SHGA: SC-4 (7th) to LIN-8 (t-16th)

PK: LIN-135/163, 82.8% (4th) to YNG-131/169, 77.5% (14th), SHGF: SC-3 (t-10th) to LIN-2 (t-14th)

Leading Scorers:

G: SC-Marcus Kallionkieli 21, LIN-Caleb Rule 12

A: SC-Martin Pospisil-31 LIN-Brock Bremer and Jordan Power 14

TP: SC-Martin Pospisil-43, LIN-Brock Bremer 25

Goalies:

W: SC-Ben Kraws 16, LIN-Jacob Mucitelli 3

GAA: SC-Ben Kraws 2.85, LIN-Jacob Mucitelli 3.67

SV%: SC-Ben Kraws .897, LIN-Jacob Mucitelli .871

Shutouts: SC-Ben Kraws 1, LIN-Jacob Mucitelli 1

MIN: SC-Ben Kraws 1873, LIN-Jacob Mucitelli 719

What to Watch For:

We Meet Again:

It's fitting that a dramatic season series will have the added story line of players meeting their old teams for the first time. In January, the Stars sent forward Devlin McCabe to the Musketeers for forward Josh Bohlin. This will mark the first time either player has had an opportunity to play their old team. McCabe played 103 games in his Stars career, scoring 23 goals and 32 assists in that span. Bohlin is a second-year veteran of the USHL who started the year with Sioux City after spending 50 games with Cedar Rapids in 2017-18.

"As a player, I was traded in this league," said Stars head coach Cody Chupp. "I know that when I played the team I was traded from, I was always making sure that I was on my game because I wanted to prove to them that they made a mistake and I wanted to prove to my new team that they made the right move. I expect our guys in this locker room to be no different, to have a point to prove. Then I expect the guys we traded to be excited for the opportunity to show their new team that they can beat their former team. Both sides of the equation, guys are going to be up for it, their going to be excited for the game."

Bobby Brink:

Bobby Brink missed each of the prior two Stars-Musketeers meetings, first due to winning gold at the WJAC as well as the Challenge's MVP award, and the second time due to injury. Despite this, Brink leads all scorer's in the season series with three goals. Since returning from the IR on February 1st, Brink has registered a point in every game, scoring two goals and four assists over his last four contests.

Dubinsky Returns to the Room:

Initially voted an assistant captain at the beginning of the season, Zach Dubinsky's season took an unexpected turn with an injury sustained just six games into the season.

The second-year Stars forward has missed the last four months while recovering, but returned to the practice ice this week for the Stars. Dubinsky has been lauded as a positive presence by coaches and players alike who are thrilled for the veteran's return.

Dubinsky has played in six game this season, recording one goal and two assists. Last season he played a total of 60 games for Lincoln, notching four goals and 19 points.

"He's a huge essence to have back in the locker room," said Stars assistant captain Tristan Ashbrook. "I know personally, I was extremely excited to hear that he was coming back. He's a great person, a great player, and a great leader that's going to be great to have back in the locker room."

"It's great to have him back," said Stars head coach Cody Chupp. "Obviously he's not quite there yet to jump into a game, but his presence is important. We have missed Zach a lot this year. Not just because of the type of player he is, but what he brings to the locker room. When we talk about those non-negotiable things, part of our identity and culture, you know: working, competing, being tough to play against, physicality-he brings all of those things on a daily basis. He's a great example of what Lincoln Stars hockey is and what it should be. It's great to have him back. We want him to have input, to be engaged in the locker room, and then when he gets the opportunity to play in a game I've no question that he'll be who he always has been."


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