With their roster finally at a reasonable length, Lincoln hockey nabbed their elusive first win of the season with a 5-3 victory over Monroe on Saturday.
Although the injury-battered team still doesn’t have their full line up back in place, head coach Mike Ferguson liked what he saw when his team is skating with eight forwards and four defensemen.
“We finally put a whole game together and we finally got some guys back and that made a huge difference,” he said. “I think we’re going to get on a roll now.”
Ferguson added the score wasn’t indicative of the Railsplitters’ (1-4) dominance – they outshot Monroe 50-24, allowing the bulk of the shots against them on the power play.
“We absolutely dominated,” he said. “Their goalie made some great saves, but when it was even strength, we carried the play.”
Offensively, it was Lincoln’s top line that Monroe couldn’t thwart throughout the night, getting two goals out of Jarrett Pfeiffer, including the game-winner.
Pfeiffer, who finished with 14 shots, had been stonewalled by Monroe’s goalie throughout the first two periods.
At the second intermission, Ferguson told Pfeiffer to try shooting low because everything going high was meeting a glove or a blocker.
With Lincoln up 3-2 in the third period, Pfeiffer slipped through several Trojans on the right side before zipping a shot along the ice that found the back of the net.
“The goalie looked stunned – he just didn’t move,” Ferguson said.
But two minutes later, Monroe cut the lead back to one on a somewhat soft goal.
Ferguson used his time out to calm the team down, and within a minute and a half following the break, Pfeiffer struck again to put the game out of reach for good.
Drew Harper, Blaze Keider and Ryan Elkins each added a goal, and Ferguson was particularly pleased with the play of the Railsplitters’ defensemen, who tallied a goal and three assists on the evening.
“That’s a big bonus when our defense can get involved in the scoring,” Ferguson said.
Lincoln goaltender Josh Eastman stopped 22 shots in the net.
“He was solid for us tonight,” Ferguson said. “He made some big saves early on.”
The win was especially critical for Lincoln following a 4-3 overtime loss to Dexter three days earlier.
The Railsplitters led 3-1 after two periods, but the lack of bodies again wrote the game’s conclusion.
“We were just dead out there in overtime,” Ferguson said. “We see them again in February and I think it will be a different story.”
Ferguson believes that with the bulk of his line up restored, his team should fair well here on out, and his theory is put to a tough test when the Railsplitters meet Ann Arbor Pioneer at home at 8 p.m. Wednesday.