Quantity finally caught up with quality Wednesday night for the Omaha Lancers.
After just missing on some scoring opportunities in the first period, the Lancers blasted home five goals in the second period en route to a 5-3 United States Hockey League victory over the Sioux Falls Stampede.
Eleven Lancers scored at least one point in that period, and the Ralston Arena crowd of 2,375 showed its appreciation with a standing ovation as the Lancers headed to their locker room for the second intermission.
The victory was important for the 23-17 Lancers. The Stampede lead the USHL's Western Conference with a 28-10-1 record.
Both teams played a solid first period, but only Sioux Falls scored. That came from leading scorer Dennis Kravchenko, who scored his 15th goal 6:01 into the game.
“I'm proud of the guys for not letting that goal get them frustrated,” Lancers coach Mike Aikens said. “We just stayed with what we were doing, and we were creating a lot of opportunities.”
Omaha's offensive assault began less than one minute into the second period. Trent Samuels-Thomas got things started with his second goal of the season 52 seconds after the first intermission because of work Matt Gaudreau and Gage Hough did below the goal line.
Leading scorer Robbie Baillargeon put the Lancers up for good just over three minutes later with his 13th goal of the season courtesy of a behind-the-back pass by Jake Randolph.
At 9:29 Tyler Hynes took a cross-crease pass from Ryan Tait to put Omaha up 3-1. Hynes got a step ahead of his defender and Tait placed the puck to Hynes for his third goal of the season.
Then a left side blast by Dominic Racobaldo at 15:36 produced what turned out to be the game-winning goal. Racobaldo went top shelf after getting the pass from Tyler Moy.
“Not only did we play hard, but we had some really nice finishes,” Aikens said.
Omaha's fifth goal was the result of hard work in the goal crease. Connor Chatham poked a loose puck as Sioux Falls goalie Charlie Lindgren was sprawled on the ice trying to get his glove on it but Chatham got his stick in there first.
“That was just a hard-working, gritty play going into the front of the net,” Aikens said. “You get hacked, whacked and chopped in there. You're paying a price going in for those goals.”
The Lancers travel to Fargo this weekend for games Friday and Saturday against the Force. Omaha's next home game is the Feb. 9 Battles on Ice outdoor game against the Lincoln Stars at TD Ameritrade Park.
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