BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The Central Illinois Flying Aces defeated the Omaha Lancers, 3 to 1, in their first game of the new year. Mitchell Gibson (Phoenixville, Penn.) backstopped the Aces to the victory by stopping 34 of 35 shots including a barrage in the third period.
At 15:09 in the first, an Omaha defenseman shot the puck from the point, it hit one of his teammates, and Jeremy Davidson (Schoolcraft, Mich.) picked up the loose puck. He quickly raced the other way and passed to Stephen Halliday (Toronto, Ont.) as they were entering the zone. Halliday found Davidson on the backdoor to open scoring in the game with the slick give-and-go. This was Davidson’s team-leading fourteenth goal.
The Aces got their second of the night 12:34 into the second period. After an initial shot upon entering the zone from the Aces, Jon Panisa (Irvine, Calif.) passed the rebound out to Chase Foley (Mendota Heights, Minn.). Foley shot the puck towards the net and Chad Hillebrand (Skokie, Ill.) deftly deflected the puck into the back of the net.
Central Illinois controlled play throughout the first two period, outshooting Omaha 28 to 19. However, Omaha came out flying in the third and outshot the Aces, 16 to 2, requiring Gibson to be stellar.
The Lancers pulled their goaltender with over four minutes to be played in the third. They were able to score with the net empty after Tyler Carpenter picked up a loose puck in the slot and wristed it five-hole to make it a one-goal game with four minutes left to play.
Omaha pulled their goaltender for a second time and Sebastian Dirven (Cornwall, Ont.) scored the empty net goal from the defensive end at 17:48 in the third to restore the two-goal lead.
Once again, the Lancers pulled their goaltender, but this time Central Illinois was able to sustain the push and finished the game with the win.
Tomorrow night, Central Illinois faces the Chicago Steel for Star Wars Night. The following weekend the Flying Aces travel to face Team USA in Plymouth, Michigan on Friday (Jan. 11) and Saturday (Jan. 12). On Sunday (Jan. 13), they face the Muskegon Lumberjacks in Muskegon. Their next home game is Monday, January 21st at 1:07 p.m. as they take on the Madison Capitols.
Season tickets for the 2018-19 season are on sale now. 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. 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.