With all the firepower of Lincoln’s forwards and their preseason success, the last thing head coach Mike Ferguson expected was to find his team off to an 0-3 start.
But Ferguson believes a fourth loss tonight is unlikely as four players return to the line up and add bodies and talent to a shortened Railsplitter bench.
Injuries have left them a step behind their opponents in the third period of each game, but Ricky Fite, Steve Armos, Cameron Pfeiffer and Joey Ostrowski seeing ice time for this season’s official Southeastern Conference opener against Dexter will undoubtedly increase the chances of a turnaround.
“I’ve been disappointed because I know if we were at full strength, we could have won these games, and, even with the guys we had, we had an opportunity to win them,” Ferguson said. “If we get through this, it’ll make us stronger throughout the rest of the year.”
The last two Railsplitter losses came at the A2 Ice Cube Invitational in which they were downed by Troy 6-4 and Huron 3-1.
By most measures, except the one that mattered most, Lincoln outplayed the River Rats in their Saturday match up.
Although Huron clearly had fresher legs in the final period, the Railsplitters still put on pressure, but were unable to beat River Rat netminder, Luke Dwyer.
“Their goalie played well theirs no doubt,” Ferguson said. “That’s what Huron is all about. If their goalie plays well, they have a chance, if not they’re in trouble.”
The lone Railsplitter goal came from Ryan Elkins, who was fed a pass from Blaze Keider, moved in alone on Dwyer and made no mistake in beating him.
The goal cut Huron’s lead to 2-1, but minutes later the River Rats, who clearly were fresher, added an insurance goal.
Lincoln saw the same scenario play out the previous night in which they went into the third period tied with Troy at four but came out 6-4 losers.
“We definitely started to wear down against Troy,” Ferguson said. “We had carried the play in the second period, we really took the play to them, but we came out in the third period we didn’t have any gas.”
Lincoln also plays Monroe on Saturday, and will be without star forward David Skeans, who has been playing defense because of the lack of players, but Ferguson still likes the coming week’s outlook.
“It’s been frustrating, but our numbers are going up, so I feel a little bit better,” he said.
Lincoln plays at home against Dexter today at 6 p.m.