LINCOLN, Neb. – The Central Illinois Flying Aces beat the Lincoln Stars, 5 to 1, in the first game of a two-game weekend against the Stars.
Mitchell Gibson (Phoenixville, Penn.) was steady throughout the first period, stopping thirteen of fourteen shots faced including several off the rush.
At the first media timeout of the game, the Stars took a moment to honor Philippe Lapointe (Burr Ridge, Ill.) who was returning to Lincoln for the first time since being traded to Central Illinois. Lapointe played 85 games for Lincoln over the previous two seasons.
The Flying Aces took the lead midway through the first when Michael Ferrandino (Lisle, Ill.) took the puck into the zone after everyone got back on side after Lincoln managed to exit the zone. He drove down the right lane and wristed the puck far-side for his first USHL goal.
Lincoln tied the game late in the first with a goal from Declan McDonnell. The original shot came from the right circle and Gibson made the stop. McDonnell picked up the rebound in the slot and scored on his second of two shots to tie the game.
Early in the second, Trevor Janicke (Maple Grove, Minn.) stole a Lincoln pass and banked the puck off the boards to Joe Dunlap (Windham, NH). Dunlap cut inside past one Lincoln defender near the boards and entered the zone with speed. He kept the puck away from a defender near the net and scored five-hole with his backhand for his twelfth of the year.
Central Illinois increased their lead to two several minutes later. John Driscoll (Littleton, Colo.) passed to Cal Kiefiuk (Macomb, Mich.) who lobbed a pass from behind his blue line to Tyler Gratton (Pottstown, Penn.). Gratton caught up to the puck in the slot and nudged it past the goaltender.
Midway through the third, Dunlap stole the puck to stay in the offensive zone. He drove the net, but his shot was stopped. Lynden Breen (Grand Bay-Westfield, NB) picked up the loose puck and scored top-shelf to increase the lead to three.
Lapointe iced the game with an empty net goal for a final score of 5 to 1. Driscoll and Bradley Marek (Big Rapids, Mich.) assisted on the goal.
Gibson stopped 28 of 29 shots in the win.
Tomorrow, Central Illinois faces-off against Lincoln in the second game of the two-game series.The Flying Aces travel to Chicago on Friday, April 12th to take on the Steel. Their final home game of the season will be Saturday, April 13th against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders at 7:07 p.m.
For tickets or more information, call the Flying Aces at 309-434-2980 or visit www.flyingaceshockey.com.
ABOUT THE FLYING ACES
Known as the Bloomington Thunder from 2014-17, the newly-rebranded Central Illinois Flying Aces are a member of the top junior hockey league in the United States, the United States Hockey League (USHL). The only Tier I junior hockey league in the country, the USHL has become renowned for developing the next stars of both Division I college hockey and the NHL. The players in the USHL range in age from 16-20 years old, 95 percent of whom will go on to play college hockey at the Division I level. For more information, visit flyingaceshockey.com or ushl.com or download the USHL Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.