The Stars took on the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in a physical edition of Wednesday night USHL hockey.
The opening period saw an high exchange of shot attempts and hits, but not a single puck crossed the goal line in the first. In net for the Stars was a steady Samuel Hlavaj, fresh off his first career win. He stopped all eight shots he faced in the opening frame. To answer, Troy Kobryn manned the crease for the RoughRiders. The '99 was equal to Lincoln's best offerings in the first, stopping seven chances, highlighted by a save made falling backward to keep the game locked in a scoreless tie.
In the second, the Stars and RoughRiders resumed their pitched battle of heavy play up and down the ice. The power play struggled for both teams, as both sides took penalties to shorten their own man-advantages in the middle frame. On one such instance, following their own penalty to make play 4-on-4, the Stars capitalized. On an extended shift in the attacking end, Josh Lopina found Hunter Skinner on the back circle where the young defender powered a shot through Kobryn for the 1-0 Lincoln lead. Hlavaj was stellar in the second, stopping 11 shots and one breakaway, to preserve the lead into intermission.
The defensive battle spilled into the third, with both teams scrapping down the stretch in the same manner as the prior 40 minutes. At 14:06, Ryan Doolin charged up ice with Wyatt Schlaht and Jordan Power. Doolin's pass acted as the tic, over the blue line to Power. Power's tac found Schlaht's stick on the right post for toe to complete the sequence, building a 2-0 lead, and giving Schlaht his first goal of his Stars career. Cedar Rapids fired right back, as Chase Hamstad notched his first goal of the season, scored off a turnover in the Stars zone. Fueled after cutting the deficit in half, the RoughRiders pushed hard through to the final horn. Samuel Hlavaj and the Stars defense held firm, locking down the 2-1 win, their second-straight victory, and five points in their last three games.
Samuel Hlavaj earned his second-straight win on the back of 29 saves, while Troy Kobryn took a tough-luck loss, stopping 22 of 24. The Stars will return to action on Friday with a road trip to Sioux Falls on Friday night with puck drop at 7:05 pm CST