Omaha Earns League Leading 15th One-Goal Victory
Omaha, Neb. - Mark Miller registered a goal and an assist and Kevin Schulze added a pair of assists as the Omaha Lancers hung on for a 4-3 victory over the Sioux Falls Stampede Friday evening in front of 3,398 fans at the Omaha Civic Auditorium. With the win, the Lancers improved to 33-16-3 on the year and continue to lead the Western Conference with 69 standings points. Omaha has now won three straight games and seven of its last eight overall. The Lancers are 7-0 against Sioux Falls this season.
Omaha grabbed the game's opening goal exactly four minutes into the tilt when a left wing shot by Schulze rang off the right post but produced a rebound that was promptly stashed home by Kenney Morrison. Dominick Sacco grabbed the secondary assist on Morrison's 12th goal of the season, which marked the 29th time in 52 games this season that the Lancers have scored first. Sioux Falls responded quickly and evened the game just 37 seconds later when a rebound off Lancers goaltender Thatcher Demko was swatted in by Bryan Moore. Kyle Rankin and Sam Rothstein assisted on Moore's seventh goal this year. Omaha regained the lead with less than five minutes remaining in the period when, while on the power play, Miller wrapped in his ninth goal of the season 15:26 into the opening period of play. Max Vallis and Anthony Hamburg assisted on the man-advantage marker, which marked the 45th power play scored by the Lancers this season and Omaha's league-leading 31st power play strike at home this season.
Sioux Falls evened the game seven minutes into the second period when a blocked shot by Todd Skirving led to a breakaway and Skirving's 15th goal of the season. The Stampede then grabbed their first lead of the night a little over six minutes later when Moore's centering pass from the right corner was redirected in by Kyle Rankin for his 15th goal of the season. Moore garnered the only assist on the even strength strike scored 13:07 into the middle stanza. The Lancers evened the game just over a minute later when tenacious work below the goal line by Michael Ferrantino produced a centering pass into the slot which Nolan Zajac quickly converted into his ninth goal of the season. Ferrantino and Ken Babinski assisted on the even strength goal scored 14:09 into second period. Omaha reclaimed the lead for good just a minute and a half later when Eli Lichtenwald redirected Schulze's left wing feed for his third goal of the season and first game-winning strike of the year. Miller grabbed the secondary assist on the eventual game-winning goal scored 15:39 into the middle frame.
Demko preserved the one-goal victory in the final period of regulation with 12 saves on 12 Stampede shots as the Lancers hung on for their 15th one-goal win of the season. Omaha is now 15-4-3 in one-goal games this season as Demko improved to 9-3 on the year after 26 saves on 29 Sioux Falls shots. Meanwhile, Stampede goaltender Charlie Lindgren suffered the loss after 22 saves on 26 Lancers shots.
The Lancers are back in action Sunday evening when they welcome the Fargo Force to the Omaha Civic Auditorium for a 5:05 PM showdown.