The Omaha Lancers late-game magic finally ran out Saturday night.
The Lancers, who have scored half their goals this season in the third period, couldn’t muster another comeback during the final 20 minutes against Indiana on Saturday night.
The Ice converted two of their three penalty shots and denied both of Omaha’s attempts to earn a 4-3 shootout win in front of 3,545 fans in the Ralston Arena.
“It’s not a great effort, but we just have to learn from our mistakes,” Omaha coach Brian Kaufman said. “Over the last couple games we’ve been making some mistakes. We’ve found ways to win those games, so we have to learn from them.”
The late-game heroics that worked Friday night for the Lancers in a three-goal third period against Fargo didn’t materialize against the Ice.
Early mistakes forced Omaha to play from behind for most of the game as the Lancers eliminated a one-goal deficit three times.
Each of the three periods played out in the same fashion. The Ice scored a goal in the first six minutes of the period and then the Lancers would answer in the final five minutes before intermission.
Matt Nelson scored his goal with 4:05 left in the first period, while Tucker Poolman scored with 2:25 left in the second.
Jake Randolph recorded the most dramatic goal of the night as he punched in a wrap-around goal with 2:07 left in the third period.
“We have to work on our starts,” Kaufman said. “The third periods have been great, but our first periods have not been great.”
In the shootout, Tyler Vesel missed his attempt high while Ice goaltender Jason Pawloski stopped Randolph with his stick.
The Lancers’ passive play against the Ice was most evident during power plays. Even though the Lancers, who were outshot 28-19, converted one of the five power play opportunities, they failed to get a shot on goal on three other power plays, including a stretch of 1:25 with a 5-on-3 advantage.
Kaufman said they need to play more aggressive and put the puck on the net more. Of the 19 Lancer shots, eight came from Vesel. No other player had more than two.
“We tried to be a little cute and didn’t shoot the puck when we had opportunities,” he said. “Right now it isn’t working. We have to play a simple game — get bodies to the net, not run plays and make everything less complicated.”
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