Photo Credit: Dan Hickling / Hickling Images
The Des Moines Buccaneers (3-3-0-0, 6 pts.) stopped a four-game win streak for the Lincoln Stars (4-2-0-0, 8 pts.) with a 4-2 win in front of the home crowd at Buccaneer Arena Thursday night. The goaltenders, Cameron Rowe (Des Moines) and Ryan McInchak (Lincoln), combined for 19 saves in the first period to keep the game scoreless through the first 20 minutes. It was then Rowe who made a big save less than two minutes into the second period, allowing forward Alex Laferriere to go down the ice and put Des Moines ahead. Just more than two minutes later, Lincoln drew even with defenseman Mikhail Gonchar's first USHL tally. The netminders combined for another 18 saves in the middle frame as the game headed to the final 20 knotted at 1-1. Less than midway through the third, Des Moines jumped back out front off the stick of forward Mason Nevers, but four minutes later, Lincoln drew even again thanks to forward Zach Urdahl's second of the season. With just more than five minutes to play in regulation, and overtime seeming inevitable for the tightly-contested game, Buccaneers forward Matt Choupani potted his third of the year to give his team the lead for good. Des Moines forward Ryan Robinson sealed the win with an empty net goal with three minutes to play.
A three-goal third period by the Sioux Falls Stampede (1-4-1-0, 3 pts.) forced overtime, but the Fargo Force (3-1-1-0, 7 pts.) prevailed, sending the crowd of 3,176 home happy from Scheels Arena Thursday night. Fargo jumped out to a 2-0 lead late in the first period with goals from forward Lynden Breen and defenseman Nick Strom. The first goal of the night was Breen's fourth in a three-game goal streak (4-1-5), while Strom's was his first of the season, and of the night. Sioux Falls slashed the deficit in half quickly in the third (Tommy Lyons, 1:38), after a scoreless second, but Fargo regained the two-goal lead even quicker, just 36 seconds later off the stick of forward Aaron Grounds. The rapid-fire scoring continued with Stampede forward Ryan Sullivan's first of the season just 1:29 after the goal from Grounds, and 2:05 after the Lyons strike. The one-goal game continued until Sioux Falls defenseman Nick Anderson stunned the home crowd with an equalizing goal with just 1:34 to play in regulation. But it was all Force in the extra frame as the Stampede were unable to get a shot on net and the fourth shot of overtime, a heavy wrist shot from Strom, sent the home crowd into a frenzy and closing the book on a great USHL contest. Despite the loss, Stampede goaltender Grant Adams made 46 saves on 50 shots while Force netminder Cole Brady turned away 22 shots for his second win in a row.