OMAHA, Neb. — The Omaha Lancers scored four unanswered goals to top the Central Illinois Flying Aces, 4-2, on Saturday night at Ralston Arena.
In the series finale against Omaha (23-10-3, 49 points), Central Illinois (12-21-4, 28 points) tabbed the first two goals of the game but couldn’t find the back of the net in the final two periods against the USHL’s top team.
With the game tied at two in the third period, Omaha’s Tyler Carpenter pushed a rebound past Central Illinois goaltender Ryan Snowden to give the Lancers the lead for good at the 6:21 mark of the frame. Filip Suchy added an empty-netter for Omaha with 35 seconds to play.
Flying Aces rookie forward Jeremy Davidson opened the scoring with an impressive individual effort less than 10 minutes into the game. The University of Massachusetts commit skated to the puck in the Central Illinois defensive zone and angled past one Omaha player as he crossed into the offensive end. After a toe-drag to slip past another Lancer, Davidson lifted a backhand shot over the blocker of Omaha goaltender Zach Driscoll (30 saves) at the 7:36 mark of the first.
Central Illinois added onto the lead with a goal from another rookie forward, as Bradley Marek (Michigan State University) found the back of the net two minutes, nine seconds later. Following Jason Smallidge’s (University of Nebraska Omaha) initial shot from the high slot, Marek tracked down the rebound to the left of the goal and shoveled it past Driscoll.
Snowden finished with 29 saves on 32 shots in his second straight start.
Despite the loss, the Flying Aces held Omaha scoreless on four power-play chances.
After seven straight games against Western Conference teams and four consecutive tilts on the road, the Flying Aces return home this week to take on the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders on Wednesday night. Faceoff is slated for 7:07 p.m. at Grossinger Motors Arena. Single-game tickets start as low as $8.
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. At the start of the 2017-18 season, there were 128 active USHL alumni on NHL rosters, with at least one USHL alumnus playing for each of the 31 teams. In total, there have been 253 USHL players who have gone onto NHL careers, including Patrick Sharp, David Backes, Johnny Gaudreau, and Joe Pavelski, among others. 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.