Originally written on Goon's World  |  Last updated 11/17/14
Ok, it's not often that I go off on a tangent... ok, that's a lie, but still...

Today I went to my first ever USHL game. It was between Omaha and Lincoln. It was a fun time and it featured all kinds of hockey. Good hockey, Bad hockey, stupid hockey, questionable hockey, and two fat guys carrying flags running (ok, waddling) around the arena (ok, 4 or 5 sections worth before they got tired and gave up) after a goal.

I went because it would be a fun time, but I also got to see two future UND players in Luke Johnson (Lincoln's #27) and Paul Ladue (Lincoln's #6). But let's go with what I saw before I run down those two.

The First Period was a period of great goaltending by Lincoln and Omaha, great forechecking by Omaha, and pretty solid defense on both sides. Lincoln's Goaltender was better than Omaha's in the first period based upon the fact that Lincoln had to stop 2 clean breakaways and a 2 on 1 in the last 10 minutes of the first period. Omaha was tested but not to the extent that Lincoln was.

The second period featured ALL but one of the goals, all but 1 of the goals in the second period came on the powerplay, and some of the worst hockey I've ever seen in my life (and I've watched some pretty bad hockey). I love the fact that fighting is allowed and I love the fact that the USHL uses the half shield (something I'm growing more and more in favor of for DI hockey). The officiating was pretty heavily in favor of Omaha, but that being said: 1. Lincoln played like crap discipline-wise from the second period on to the end of the game and 2. It still was better than WCHA officiating.

However, Lincoln ends up drawing a cross check or roughing or charging penalty against Omaha... or so it seemed.. .because what happens? An all out brawl capped by a goaltender fight at center ice. Most of the fights were just hugging and tug o war matches. The goaltender fight was actually very VERY good. Lincoln's goaltender "won" the fight and, unlike the skaters, there was actually no animosity between goaltenders after the fight (they fist bumped after it was broken up). However, after a nearly 15 minute delay while the penalties were assessed, Lincoln not only ended up NOT getting a short 5 second 4 on 4 and then a 1:55 PP out of it, OMAHA ended up getting the powerplay (a 5 second 5 on 3)! To make matters more interesting: In the scrum, both goaltenders were given 5 minute majors and a game misconduct. Omaha had 3 players get 5 min. majors and game misconducts and 2 plain 5 minute fighting majors. Lincoln ended up getting ALL FOUR SKATERS getting 5 minute majors and game misconducts. The Omaha roughing penalty was assessed ON LINCOLN and Lincoln ended up getting called for instigating. Luckily, Lincoln killed it off.

Nevertheless, Lincoln was still in the game down 2 to 1. The period ended after Lincoln tried to push too hard and gave up a 3 on 1 goal.

Well, that awful period aside, Lincoln could still claw its way back from 3-1 to make it interesting right? Well, almost. You see, the Lincoln backup was pretty shakey but the Omaha backup was actually pretty solid. Add into the fact that things got RIDICULOUSLY STUPID for Lincoln in the 3rd period.

You see, midway or so through the 3rd period, Lincoln's #16 and Omaha's #15 were assessed 2 minutes for delay of game. Offsetting penalties no doubt right? Nope. #16 ends up pushing and shoving the ref! WHAT A MORON! Then, to make matters worse, as he was ejected from the game, he started egging on and taunting the fans! Who is this guy? I hope Chad Johnson sits him down immediately post game and reams him a new arsehole. In fact, I'd make the whole team skate.

As a random note: Omaha wants to shut down the Omaha Civic Auditorium due to the fact that it would take about $29 million to make it not a suckhole. After tonight: I agree. That place is a dump.

Now to the UND recruits:

Paul Ladue - He played pretty solid...until he participated in that line brawl and got kicked out of the game. He didn't instigate or anything and I don't think he was one of the lippy Lincoln Stars, but he didn't do Lincoln any favors by getting kicked out. He played a lot of minutes up until then including on the 5 on 3s.

Luke Johnson - I hope he's 16 because he played like a 16 year old. He was pretty invisible for most of the game. He did have one pretty good chance late in the 3rd period but missed.

All in all, Omaha wasn't saints on the ice. They were yappy and could have gotten called a lot more than they actually did, but it didn't matter because Lincoln played far more undisciplined. So I got it all.

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