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Buccaneers defenseman Michael Bevilacqua continues development and continues success against Lincoln

Veteran defenseman nets another game-winner Tuesday night in overtime win over Stars

Michael Bevilacqua Goal.JPG
Des Moines defenseman Michael Bevilacqua celebrates his overtime goal Tuesday night in a 4-3 road win over the Lincoln Stars. The Buccaneers assistant captain has two game-winners against Lincoln this season.
Jordan McAlpine / The Rink Live

LINCOLN, Neb. – Maybe it’s something in the water or his pregame routine. But whatever Des Moines defenseman Michael Bevilacqua is doing before his team faces the Lincoln Stars, he better not change it.

Bevilacqua has five goals and 22 points in 40 games this season for the Buccaneers. However, three of those five goals have come against the Stars and the last two have been game-winners.

The latest of which came Tuesday night in a 4-3 overtime win in Lincoln.

“I knew we were on the power play so I just let one go and luckily it got through,” Bevilacqua said after the game. “I don’t think it was one of our best games but when you have ( Jan Korec ) standing on his head in the net and locking it down for us, you know you have to do it for him. It’s a big win for us.”

Tuesday’s win was reminiscent of the season it’s been in Iowa’s capital city. Des Moines was out-shot 47-16 and it was a roller-coaster ride for much of the night.


Yet the Buccaneers grinded it out and boarded the bus home with two points.

“It probably wasn’t our prettiest game and I’d be the first one to admit we are very fortunate to come away with a win,” head coach Matt Curley said. “But I’m proud of how the guys grinded through it.

“We’ve had a rough go since Christmas and I feel we’ve been playing good hockey but just haven’t been rewarded. Sometimes the hockey gods are good to you and they’ll repay you.”

DSM Overtime Celebration.JPG
The Des Moines Buccaneers celebrate a 4-3 overtime win in Lincoln on Feb. 14, 2023.
Jordan McAlpine / The Rink Live

Des Moines (14-18-5-3) is 2-5-2-1 in its last 10 and currently sits seventh in the Western Conference. The Buccaneers have struggled offensively too and have scored the second-fewest goals (107) in the USHL.

However, the Bucs are just two points back of a playoff spot. They’ll also play nine of their next 10 at home and will now look to build off the win in Lincoln.

“We’re not where we want to be but we’re also technically where we need to be,” Bevilacqua said. “We’re still in a good spot and we’re fired up for the rest of this season, but we also can’t look too far ahead.

"So the message is just to take it one day at a time and snag points every weekend.”

As for Bevilacqua specifically, it’s been a strong season for the Buffalo native. Bevilacqua skated in two games at the end of the 2019-20 season and 48 and 49 games over the last two seasons respectively.


His 22 points in 40 games this winter are a career-high.

Michael Bevilacqua.JPG
Des Moines defenseman Michael Bevilacqua has five goals and 22 points in 40 games this season. Bevilacqua grew up in a "big car family" in Buffalo and restoring old cars is one of his favorite activities away from the rink. His dream car is a Shelby GT500.
Jordan McAlpine / The Rink Live

A self-described two-way defenseman, Bevilacqua said his biggest focus this season has been fine-tuning the little details of his game. Stick positioning, corner battles and skating being a few of them.

“Everyone gets better every year and this league only gets harder, so you’ve got to get better yourself,” he said. “Coach Curley has helped me develop a ton and our team’s work ethic has been great. So I’m looking forward to continuing that the rest of this season."

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Curley is looking forward to seeing what the Bowling Green commit can do over the next few months as well.

“He’s light years ahead of where he was at this time last year,” Curley said. “I know people look at his offense right away but in terms of his overall game, he’s really rounded out his game. His game has just continued to develop here and he’s been a big part of my tenure here.

“We have a small group of guys that were left over from last season and he’s one of them, so we have a very special relationship. He’s a wonderful young man, a tremendous leader and he’s really taken some nice steps as a player. He’s an example of what it means to be a Buccaneer.”

Jordan McAlpine is a junior and prospects reporter for The Rink Live.
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