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 Lincoln Stars

Stars Beat Musketeers, Clinch Playoff Berth

April 13, 2024 - United States Hockey League (USHL)
Lincoln Stars News Release

The Lincoln Stars clinched a postseason berth with a 2-1 victory over the Sioux City Musketeers on Friday night at the Ice Box.

The Stars victory combined with the Des Moines Buccaneers' 7-4 loss to Cedar Rapids RoughRiders ensured Lincoln (27-29-3-2) will play in the postseason next week for the third consecutive season and 19th time in franchise history.

Matthew Maltais scored and added an assist while Yan Shostak stopped 30 shots for his 20th win of the season. Justin Mexico netted the game-winning goal with a breakaway tally later in the first period.

"I believed in this group and our staff believed in this group," head coach Rocky Russo said. "They were confident this morning and full of energy. We found a way. We battled through some mental mistakes. When we needed it we got guys investing, blocking pucks, clears and first touches."

Maltais put the Stars up 1-0 with his eighth goal of the campaign 5:43 into the game. Layne Loomer nearly lost the puck in the neutral zone but recovered it and fed Maltais, who fired it home from the left circle.

Mexico settled a bouncing puck for himself in the midst of a breakaway and scored to double up the lead. His 12th of the season came shortly after the expiration of Sioux City's first power play of the night at the 13:03 mark of the opening frame.

Hagen Burrows cut into the deficit with a redirection from the far-post side on a Sioux City power play at the 7:35 mark of the second for the Musketeers' only goal.

The Stars have locked in a playoff berth but are still awaiting to see where they will play on Monday. Lincoln will finish in either fifth of sixth place but will be on the road for Game 1 of the postseason regardless. If the Stars face the Musketeers in the first round then Games 2 and 3 will take place at the Ice Box. Games 2 and 3 against Waterloo or Tri-City would be played on the road.

Lincoln wraps up the regular season Saturday night at Sioux City. The Starshave won three-of-five matchups but have dropped both previous games at the Tyson Events Center. Puckdrop is at 6:05 p.m.

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