Stars Open Weekend Victorious at Cedar Rapids

December 1, 2023 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Lincoln Stars News Release

Jared Mangan scored two goals and added two assists to lead the Lincoln Stars to a 5-1 win over the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders on Friday night at the ImOn Ice Arena.

Martin Masa scored in the final minute of the second period for his first USHL goal and the eventual game-winner. Blake Montgomery recorded a Gordon Howe Hat Trick with a goal, two assists and a fight. Keaton Peters scored his fifth goal of the season, all of which have come in the last four games.

Lincoln (5-13-0-2) earned its second win in its last three games, all of which have come on the road. The Stars never trailed and scored in every period, including twice in each of the first two periods.

"I really felt like we were invested in our process tonight," head coach Rocky Russo said. "We didn't make mistakes in vulnerable areas of the ice. We made one mistake early on when we iced the puck when all we had to do is take two more steps, but outside of that we didn't turn too many pucks over at the red line or the blue line. We were forcing their 'D' to turn their feet. We were forechecking pretty relentlessly, but was most impressive today was our tracking. We were backchecking and pressuring from from the back with intent and we played above them in transition. We were able to take the puck back through the neutral zone a number of times."

Masa's game-winner came off an offensive zone draw victory. After a brief tieup along the wall Mangan fed the puck to Masa at the left point and he wired it past netminder Sam Scopa with 27.4 seconds left in the first period. Masa finished a team-best and single-game best plus-four.

"After the struggles at the start of the season (this win) was great," Masa said. "I think everyone is starting to play with more confidence. We're doing the small details that we need to do every single game."

Mangan also set up Montgomery for the Stars' first goal 8:55 into the game. Montgomery received a pass out of the corner then dangled past one defender and outwaited Scopa, elevating the puck top shelf for his fourth goal of the season. Montgomery helped force a neutral zone turnover in the third period and chipped the puck ahead for Mangan for his second goal of the night at the 6:17 mark of the third.

"It's awesome (playing with Mangan)," "Mongtomery said. "Good friends off the ice, good to see it working on the ice. He's one smart player and it's fun playing with him."

Both of the Stars' second-period goals came on wraparounds. Mangan tucked the puck in at the 1:47 mark and later Masa nearly did the same. He stuck with his own rebound and handed it off to Peters in the slot for the Stars' fourth goal of the night at the 13:41 mark.

The Stars look to sweep the weekend road trip to Iowa as they face the Dubuque Fighting Saints at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.

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