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Stars ice Phantoms with shootout victory



Published: Sat, November 23, 2013 @ 12:03 a.m.

Staff report

LINCOLN, NEB.

Daniel Willett’s goal in the fourth round of the shootout lifted the Lincoln Stars to Friday’s 4-3 victory over the Youngstown Phantoms.

After the five-minute overtime ended, Kyle Connor scored on the Phantoms’ first shot of the shootout.

Stars goaltender Michael Bitzer then stopped Maxim Letunov, J.J. Piccinich and Luke Stork to earn the win.

Phantoms goaltender Colin DeAugustine stopped the first two shootout attempts by Thomas Carey and Brandon Smith. Dominic Sacco scored to force the fourth round.

Smith scored two second-period goals to give the Stars (4-9-4, 12 points) the lead.

Late in the period, Letunov scored a power-play goal to slice the advantage to 2-1. Connor and Piccinich had assists.

Early in the third period, Connor tied the game on a goal set up by Letunov.

But Dominic Sacco connected on a Lincoln power play for a 3-2 lead.

With about five minutes to go in regulation, Stork scored a power-play goal set up by Ryan Schwalbe and Truman Reed.

Bitzer stopped 40 Phantoms’ shots. DeAugustine made 28 saves in the Youngstown goal.

The USHL game was loaded with penalties. Youngstown (6-11-2, 14 points) was assessed 14 penalties for 34 minutes of penalty box time. The Stars were given 15 infractions for 36 minutes.

Youngstown connected on two of their nine power plays. Phantoms penalty killers thwarted the Stars on eight-of-10 power-play chances.

Tonight, the Phantoms are in Sioux City, Iowa, to play the Musketeers (11-5-1, 23 points).

The Musketeers have enjoyed a turnaround in their first season under coach Jay Varday and are in third place in the Western Conference. Friday, the Musketeers, defeated the Green bay Gamblers, 3-2, in overtime to snap a three-game losing streak.

Three-year USHL veteran Jared Thomas has led the way for the Musketeers with four goals and 16 assists through 16 game.

Rookie forward Brandon Hawkins has helped ease the departure of 2012-13 USHL Rookie of the Year Jake Guentzel by scoring 10 goals and 13 points in 14 games.

This is the Phantoms only trip to Tyson Events Center, where they are 0-3-1 all-time.

The Phantoms’ next home game will be Dec. 6 against the Chicago Steel for the annual Teddy Bear Toss game to benefit Marine Corps Toys for Tots.

Fans who bring a teddy bear or other stuffed animal to the Covelli Centre box office may purchase tickets at a discounted rate and teddy bears will be available for purchase for $5 in the arena.


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