A goal and an assist in the first 10 minutes — not bad for a guy who got to Omaha about three hours before his first game in a Lancers sweater.
Robbie Baillargeon, a forward Omaha acquired in a trade late Saturday from the Indiana Ice, almost immediately gave the Lancers a desperately needed offensive boost in a 5-1 USHL victory Sunday against Sioux Falls.
Unless fans had a program, they had no idea who No. 18 in the orange jersey was. Things happened so fast that there wasn't time to get Baillargeon's name on the back of his sweater.
No one seemed to mind. The Boston University recruit, the fifth-round pick of the Ottawa Senators in the 2012 NHL entry draft, proved to be instant offense against the first-place Stampede.
Baillargeon helped the Lancers match their goal total from the previous two games — 125 minutes of regulation and overtime play — in the first 10:25 of the Western Conference game in front of a Ralston Arena crowd of 2,779.
At 8:47 of the opening period, Baillargeon and Connor Chatham executed a sweet give-and-go that Baillargeon finished with a shot from the right circle. It went the only place it could get into the Stampede net — over the right shoulder of goaltender Charlie Lindgren.
That was the 15th time this season the Lancers have scored first. They improved to 12-3 in those games.
Less than two minutes later — and six seconds into a power play — Baillargeon sent a perfect cross-crease pass to the right side where Chatham was waiting to flick the puck into the net for his team-leading ninth goal of the season. Defenseman Matias Cleland earned the secondary assist on the goal at 10:25.
Lancers coach Mike Aikens said Baillargeon is “exactly what we needed.”
“He shoots the puck so well, and you can see he has a lot of skill on offense,” Aikens said. “He also played some great defense for us tonight, getting back and helping out.”
That was the lift the Lancers needed to finally win a game by more than one goal. Omaha has won 11 of its last 14 contests, but until Sunday the past eight were one-goal victories, including five by shootout.
Not since defeating Cedar Rapids 3-1 Nov. 10 had the Lancers finished a victory with a bit of breathing room.
Omaha padded its lead Sunday with two more goals in the second period. Alex Rauter scored his seventh goal of the season on a wraparound on the right side of the net to put Omaha up 3-0, but exactly one minute later the 16-8-1 Stampede got that goal back when C.J. Franklin cleaned up a rebound at the front of the Lancer net at 4:16.
Omaha regained its three-goal lead when Frank Schumacher won a battle for a loose puck at the top of the Stampede goal crease and scored his third goal of the season at 11:40.
Schumacher and Matt Gaudreau earned assists on Omaha's last goal, a rebound on the right side that Kyle Osterberg launched into the net on a power play at 13:38 of the third period.
“I was really happy with the way our team played,” Aikens said. “That was the best complete team effort and total hockey game we've played. It wasn't perfect because we gave up some good chances, but we did a lot of good things.”
The Lancers have one more game before the USHL's Christmas break. They will host Sioux City at Ralston Arena Friday at 7:05 p.m. and won't have another game until Dec. 29 when the Tri-City Storm visit for the last home game of 2012.
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