Springfield Weekend Recap
By Jason Felts
The Dallas Snipers had their last home series of 2016 this weekend against the Springfield Express. Springfield came into Dallas with a 13-5 record, just two weeks removed from handing Oklahoma City their first and only loss on the year with a 6-4 victory in Oklahoma City.
Dallas was returning from a hard fought series in Wichita just a weekend prior, in which they held the Jr. Thunder close in all three games, but were unable to pull out a win.
Game 1- Springfield 6 – Dallas 1
Game one of the series was an important one for two Snipers, as it was the home debut for recent addition Jaroslav Vasicek, and Defenseman Andres Kato, who has missed a majority of the season due to an injury against Vail in the first series of the year.
The Snipers came out slow in the first period, as Springfield was able to drop 3 quick goals on starting goalkeeper Alexander Moustakas, and the Snipers were held to just one shot on goal. Play picked up significantly for the Snipers in period two, as they held the Express to just one goal, and had more shots on target. Coming into the third, Springfield scored two, thanks to Forward Nikita Salnikov and Nikita Sokov, but Dallas was able to prevent the shutout with a nice unassisted goal from Jaroslav Vasicek, as he picked up his first goal for the Snipers, and gave fans much to be excited about.
Game 2- Springfield 4 – Dallas 1
It was clear that Coach Davis stressed more physical play for game two of the series, as the Express had a lot of open looks on Moustakas the night before, despite impressive play from the goalkeeper.
Dallas really pushed the offense early in the game, and fired off 9 shots on goal in the first period. A miscue on a powerplay led to a short-handed goal from Springfield forward Hunter Lovdokken with 9:19 remaining in the first, but Dallas held Springfield to just the one goal to finish the period. The second period was a long one, as both teams began racking up penalties, and the game got increasingly more physical. The Snipers kept up their offense attack, however, as they managed to get a whopping 14 shots on goal in the period, but were unable to score on the Express’ back-up goalkeeper Jonatan Persson. Springfield added one more on a goal by Sokov with just 3 minutes remaining in the period, but Dallas went into the 3rd with a 5 on 3 advantage. Springfield managed to kill the penalty, and score shortly after to push their lead to three, but a goal by Christopher Mingus just 20 seconds after Springfield’s goal gave Dallas a fighting chance. The Snipers continued to get good looks, but ultimately, a pair of penalties by Dallas and a 5 on 3 goal with just 6 minutes left allowed Springfield to take game two by a count of 4 to 1.
Game 3- Springfield 10 – Dallas 0
Dallas went with a completely different starting lineup in game three of the series, and scratched Moustakas despite two solid games between the pipes. Springfield started their third goalkeeper in as many games, and he proved to be too much for Dallas to handle as they were unable to score in game three.
Express leading scorer Gael Lubwele, who did not play in games one and two, suited for the Express in game three and immediately made an impact, scoring Springfield’s first two goals of the game to raise his season total to 13. Penalties continued to hurt Dallas, as Lubwele’s second goal came off a powerplay. An unfortunate series of events in the second period led to Springfield scoring two goals while shorthanded just 45 seconds apart from each other, and Dallas was forced to take a timeout to regroup. Springfield center #10 Anatoly Uspenyev picked up just his second goal on the year to push the Express lead to 5-0 with 10:04 left in the period, but the Dallas defense tightened up to finish the period without allowing another goal. The wheels began to fall off the bus for the Snipers in the 3rd, as Springfield managed to score 5 goals against goalkeeper Brady Weiss in the final period. Dallas had good looks, including a few hard shots from Mingus and captain Sterling Cooper, but goalkeeper Bailey Stephens finished the shutout as Springfield completed the sweep with a 10-0 victory in the final game.
Dallas will be in action next weekend in Tulsa, OK for a three game series against the Tulsa Jr. Oilers (7-12). This will be their last series before heading to Las Vegas for the Western States Shootout December 17th-21st.