Sunday, March 29, 2015

B³ Weekend Recap: 3/27 & 3/28

Lincoln's woes continued as the Green Bay Gamblers swept the Stars in two games this weekend at the Resch Center in Green Bay, WI.  The Gamblers started the weekend series with a 5-3 win over the Stars on Friday.  On Saturday, the Gamblers finished it out with a 5-4 victory.

Boxscores:
3/27:  Lincoln 3, Green Bay 5
3/28:  Lincoln 4, Green Bay 5

The Lincoln Stars are still in last place in the USHL western conference with a record of  16-34-5 (37 points)

The Stars have now lost five in a row with five games remaining in the 2014-15 season.  Lincoln has been outscored 32-11 in their current five-game losing streak.

I was able to listen to the radio broadcast for the Friday game, but I was not able to follow the Saturday contest.  If anyone out there watched these games online, please leave a comment below and let us know how the boys looked.

Lincoln 3, Green Bay 5

On Friday, the Gamblers scored two powerplay goals, and one shorthanded goal in route to a 5-3 win.  Green Bay's powerplay unit, which coming into this weekend was the worst PP unit in the entire USHL at 13/4%, went 3-for-6 against Lincoln's PK unit.

It was the "Marc Michaelis Show" as the Green Bay forward scored 4 goals, and added 1 assist, to lead the Gamblers.  The four goals scored by Michaelis was the first time a USHL players scored four goals in one game this season.  Stars seem to have been on the wrong end of records this season.

A common theme this weekend in Green Bay for the Stars would be to fall behind early, stage a comeback, but then eventually fall in the end.

In this particular game, the Gamblers got out to a 3-1 lead after two periods before consecutive Lincoln goals from Chris Dodero and Michael Gillespie early in the third period actually tied this game at 3-3.  Stars forward Grant Jozefek scored Lincoln's first goal of the game in the second period.

The Stars showed life getting the score tied at 3-3 at the halfway point of the third period, but the Gamblers responded with two unanswered goals in the latter half of the period to pull away from Lincoln and get the two points.

Lincoln went 0-for-2 on the powerplay while the Gamblers went 3-for-6.  Shots were even at 32-32.  Green Bay won the special teams war for sure.

Stars goaltender Cam Hackett stopped 27 of 32 shots in the loss against his former team.  Green Bay goaltender Jason Pawloski stopped 29 of 32 for the win.

Lincoln 4, Green Bay 5

Five different Gamblers scored, and Green Bay held off another comeback attempt by the Stars to sweep the weekend series with a 5-4 win over Lincoln

The Gamblers got out to an early 3-0 lead, only to see the Stars score three unanswered of their own to tied it up at 3-3 in the second period.  Just like Friday's game, once the game was tied, the Gamblers scored two straight to regain the lead and hold on.

Down 3-0 after one period in Green Bay, things weren't looking good for the Stars.  However, towards the latter half of the second period Lincoln fought back with three unanswered goals scored in less than two minutes.

Stars forward Patrick Polino started the comeback with his 14th goal of the season at the 13:05 mark of the second period.  Biagio Lerario made it a one-goal game 53 seconds after the Polino goal with his 18th goal of the season.  Dominick Sacco completed the comeback at the 15:01 mark of the second period to knot the game at 3-3.  Suddenly, the Stars were right back in this gae.

The momentum killer for the Stars came with only 3:17 left in the second period when the Gamblers scored to take a 4-3 lead which they took into the second intermission.

In the third, the Gamblers scored at the 11:09 mark to take a commanding two-goal lead at 5-3.  Stars defenseman Cam Lee got the Stars back to within one goal at the 13:19, but it wasn't enough.  Green Bay held off Lincoln the final six minutes of the game to secure the weekend sweep.

Lincoln went 0-for-1 on the powerplay, while the Gamblers went 1-for-3.  The Stars only had 3 powerplay opportunities in the two games in Green Bay.  If you look Lincoln's special teams stats so far this season, you'll see that the Stars do not do a very good job drawing penalties.  Their 193 PP opportunities in 55 games this season is tied for second worst in the entire USHL.  That needs to change next season.

The Stars outshot the Gamblers 37-31 overall.  Lincoln goaltender Peyton Jones got the start and stopped 9 of 12 shots before he was pulled at the end of the first period.  Cam Hackett finished the game and stopped 17 of 19 in the loss.  Gamblers goaltender Kevin Reich started the game and stopped 22 of 25 shots before he was pulled.  Jason Pawloski stopped 11 of 12 shots in relief to pick up the win.


Well, I was hoping for at least one win out of this weekend to beat the 16 win total the 2009-10 team finished with, but that wasn't the case.  The 2009-10 Lincoln Stars finished the season with a record of 16-36-8.  The current Stars have a record of 16-34-5.  I know all of us fans would rather not see this team finish with a worse record than that 2009-10 club.

The Stars now have five games remaining to beat that win total.  Five games against very good competition, however.  Three of the five remaining games are against Omaha, and one each against Sioux Falls and Cedar Rapids.

The Stars are back at the IceBox this upcoming Tuesday night against the Omaha Lancers.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

B³ Weekend Preview: Green Bay Gamblers

The Lincoln Stars will be in Green Bay, WI this weekend for their final long road trip of the season with back-to-back games against the Gamblers.

Puck drops at 7:05pm CST for each this weekend at the Green Bay Resch Center.

If you'd like to keep track of the Stars this weekend, you can follow the boxscores online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on 93.7 FM "The Ticket," or watch the games live on FASTHockey for a fee.

The Gamblers enter these two games against Lincoln with a record of 16-30-8 (40 points), and are currently in last place in the USHL eastern conference.  Green Bay is 2-5-3 in their last eight 10 games played and are 8-14-4 at home this season.  

The Stars are in last place in the USHL western conference with a record of 16-32-5 (37 points).  Lincoln is coming off a very disappointing weekend in which they were beat in consecutive home games by the NTDP U-18 squad by a combined score of 19-3.  The Stars are 2-8-0 in their last 10 games played and are 7-13-3 on the road this season.

Click here to view the current league standings.  These teams have not met this season so these will be the only two times they will play one another in 2014-15.

As I mentioned above, these two games will match up the two worst teams in the USHL.  The final result of this weekend could determine which team picks first in the upcoming USHL entry and futures drafts.  The USHL team that finishes last overall will pick first in both the entry and the futures drafts which are held this May.

My FASTHockey subscription recently ran out, so I will not be able to watch these games online.  I'm not going to renew my subscription this late in the season just to watch a couple of road games.  I will try to listen to the radio broadcast and will post a weekend recap article sometime on Sunday.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Please help the Lahrs family if you can

Hi there, folks.  I've got a quick blog post today in hopes that we all can join together to help a fellow Lincoln Stars family member.

Some of you out there might know longtime Lincoln Stars fans and billets Roxie and Arlen "Fox" Lahrs. Sadly, Arlen passed away recently.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help Roxie with time lost from work, medical expenses, and funeral arrangements.  Click here to view that GoFundMe page.

I didn't know Arlen personally, but I saw him and his wife very frequently at the IceBox over the last 9 years or so.  I know from talking to other fans who knew them that Roxie and Arlen opened their house for many, many years to Stars players as billets.

So if you can, please click on the link above and donate what you can to help Roxie through this trying time.

Thank you.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

B³ Weekend Recap: 3/20 & 3/21

Courtesy of Brandon Anderson Photography
It was an ugly home weekend for Lincoln as the NTDP U-18 team swept the Stars and outscored them 19-3 in the two games at the IceBox.

Boxscores:
3/20:  Team USA 11, Lincoln 3
3/21:  Team USA 8, Lincoln 0

The Lincoln Stars are still in last place in the USHL western conference with a record of  16-32-5 (37 points).


I attended the Friday night game, but I was unable to attend Saturday's contest.  If you attended the game on Saturday, I'd appreciate if you would leave a comment below and let me know how the team looked.

Team USA 11, Lincoln 3

It was a dubious record the Stars didn't want to see broken but it happened anyway as the U-18's scored the most goals against Lincoln in one game in franchise history with a 11-3 drubbing Friday night at the IceBox.  The previous record for goals against at home was 8 goals, which last occurred during the 2009-10 season.

There wasn't much doubt that the U-18's were going to win this one after the puck was dropped.  They put on a clinic.  Most of the first period was played in Lincoln's end, and the U-18's outshot the Stars 15-5 and outscored them 2-0 in the opening twenty minutes.

The U-18's scored the first five goals of this game before Lincoln got on the scoreboard.  With only 1:42 remaining in the second period, Biagio Lerario scored his team-leading 17th goal of the season.  Lerario's goal gave the home fans something to cheer about heading into the second intermission.

In the third period, the U-18's scored first before the Stars went on a mini two-goal run.  Down 6-1, the Stars scored two goals in less than a minute just before the halfway point of the third period.  Ludvig Hoff's powerplay goal at the 8:53 mark started the mini run, and Chris Gambardella's even-strength goal at the 9:46 mark pulled the Stars to within three goals.

Unfortunately for the Stars and the home fans, it quickly went south after that.  The U-18's went on a five-goal unanswered streak for the remainder of the third period to finish out the scoring at 11-3.

Stars goaltender Cam Hackett stopped 27 of 38 shots on goal in the loss.  U-18 goaltender Jake Oettinger, who normally plays on the U-17 team, didn't see much action as he stopped 14 of 17 shots on goal to get the win.

Team USA went 1-for-4 on the powerplay while the Stars went 1-for-3.

I mentioned this on Twitter this past Friday night, but I also want to mention it here.  I was really disappointed in how the coaches left Cam Hackett in net for this entire game.  I really thought at the end of the 2nd period, or maybe after the first goal or two scored in the third period, Cam should have been pulled.  That's not an indictment at all on Cam's play.  It was a shooting gallery out there for Team USA.  Cam wasn't getting any help at all.

You could tell that Hackett was getting pretty upset in the third period as the Team USA goals piled up.  I don't blame him at all.  I guess I don't understand the philosophy of keeping your goaltender in there to get shelled like that.  I doubt it helped his self esteem.  Why keep him in there for all 11 goals?  I'm just an idiot with a blog, but I would have liked to see it handled differently by the coaches.  I, along with any Stars fans on Twitter, were very disappointed with how that went down.

Team USA 8, Lincoln 0

For the second time this season, the Stars were shutout at home as the U-18's skated to a 8-0 blowout victory on Saturday evening.

I don't have much to post about this game since I wasn't there.  Based on the boxscore, and the amount of goals against, it appears that the Stars may have played better in this game compared to Friday night.  The Stars actually outshot the U-18's 23-22 in the final two periods, but unfortunately there were outscored 6-0 in those forty minutes.

Peyton Jones got the start for Lincoln and stopped 28 of 36 in the loss.  U-18 goaltender Luke Opilka stopped all 32 shots he faced to record the shutout.

The U-18's definitely won the special teams war in this particular game as Team USA went 3-for-4 on the powerplay while the Stars were 0-for-6.

The Stars wore special jerseys designed by trainer Corey Courtney in this game, and those jerseys were auctioned off afterwards with the proceeds going to the American Cancer society.  They Stars haven't posted the individual jersey totals, but the grand total raised was $20,850.  Lincoln, NE native Ethan Price's jersey was the priciest jersey auctioned off, going for $3500.

In the past six seasons, the Lincoln Stars have raised a total of $224,125 for the American Cancer Society with their annual end of the season jersey auction.  That's an incredible number.  The Stars have just about raised a quarter of a million dollars for the ACS in just the past six years.  Amazing.  I'll post the totals from the past six seasons below.

2010:  $28,750
2011:  $34,000
2012:  $47,150
2013:  $44,650
2014:  $48,725
2015:  $20,850


I think most fans knew that these two games against the U-18's were really going to be tough for the Stars.  In my opinion, if these two games were played back in October or November, the scores wouldn't have been so bad.  The Stars were playing better hockey back then, and the NTDP hadn't really had much time to gel.  Playing the U-18's this late in the season is a killer.  By now, the U-18's have played against a ton of USHL, college, and international teams and are very seasoned.

Unfortunately, the Stars have seemed to regress as this season went along, and the U-18's are on top of their game.  That's not a good combination.  The two scores from this past weekend are evident of that.  Team USA U-18's best player, forward Auston Matthews, finished with 6 points (3g, 3a) and was +6 in the two games against Lincoln.  He is definitely for real.  A lot of hockey scouts think he could be the #1 overal pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

The Stars will go on the road this upcoming weekend with two games in Green Bay, WI against the Gamblers.  These two games will likely determine which team finishes last in the USHL overall standings.  Currently, the Stars have 37 points with 7 games remaining, while the Gamblers have 39 points with 7 games remaining.  More on that series later this week.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

B³ Weekend Preview: Team USA U-18's

It will be Lincoln's last full weekend of home games at the IceBox this Friday-Saturday when the Stars host the NTDP U-18 squad in back-to-back contests.

Puck drops at 7:05pm CST for each game.

If you're unable to attend either of the two games this weekend at the IceBox, you can follow the boxscores online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on 93.7 FM "The Ticket," or watch the games live on FASTHockey for a fee.

The Stars enter this weekend with a record of 16-30-5 (37 points) and are in last place in the USHL western conference.  Lincoln is 3-9-0 in their last 12 games played.  The Stars' current winning percentage of .363% is last in the USHL.  Click here to view the current league standings.

Lincoln's only opponent this weekend, the USA Hockey National Team Development Program (NTDP), are in eighth place in the nine-team USHL eastern conference with a record of 21-25-2 (44 points).  This will be only two times the Stars and the NTDP will face one another in the 2014-15 regular season.  

Way back in early September at the 2014 USHL Atlantic Challenge preseason tournament in East Meadow, NY, the NTDP U-18 team beat the Stars by a score of 4-1.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore from that game.  The U-18's outshot Lincoln 55-25 in route to the 4-1 exhibition win.

The casual USHL/Stars fan might not know this, but the NTDP, which competes in the USHL, consists of two teams (U-17's and U-18's).  The Stars will play the U-18 team on Friday and Saturday evening.

This is not to say that the U-17 squad isn't talented, because they are, but the U-18 team is the cream of the crop of the NTDP.  This particular team plays both USHL and collegiate teams throughout the season.  In fact, in 21 games against USHL foes this regular season, the U-18's are 16-4-1.

A few of the collegiate teams the U-18's have beaten this season have been Miami (OH) University, the University of Wisconsin, University of Alabama-Huntsville (twice), and the University of Minnesota.

The U-18's are 7-1-1 in their last nine games against USHL foes, and in those nine contests they outscored the competition 50-23.  

Two players on the current U-18 squad have ties to the Lincoln Stars.  USA forward Michael Floodstrand was selected by the Stars in the 2013 Futures draft, however he is no longer protected by the team.  USA forward Troy Terry was selected by Lincoln in the Indiana Ice dispersal draft this past May, and if he were to play in the USHL next season, it would be in Lincoln.  However, everything I've heard is that Terry will attend Denver University this fall.  Tough break for the Stars.  Click here to read more about Troy Terry and how the NTDP was allowed to poach him from the Stars last summer.

Leading the way on offense for the U-18's is forward Auston Matthews.  The Scottsdale, AZ native has racked up 38 points (15g, 23a) in 20 games this season against USHL competition for the U-18's.  Many hockey pundits and scouts think that Matthews could be the #1 pick in the 2016 NHL entry draft.  Matthews is undecided on a college.  He could decide to go the major junior route after this season with the NTDP.  One thing the NTDP is good at is grooming players for major junior hockey (heavy dose of sarcasm there).

Needless to say, these upcoming games will be very, very tough test for the Lincoln Stars.  They'll have to play some of their best hockey of the season to keep up with the U-18's.  Quite a few kids on the U-18 roster will be first round NHL draft picks this spring or in 2016.

Having said that, the U-18's put on their skates the same way the Stars do.  They aren't supernatural, and they can be beat.  Last season, the Stars went up to Ann Arbor, MI and beat the U-18's in their own rink by a score of 2-1 in OT.  

Win or lose, Stars fans should see the some incredible skill on display this weekend at the IceBox.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Quick look at Lincoln's affiliate roster

There are still 9 games remaining in the 2014-15 regular season, but I thought I'd post a quick article reviewing what Lincoln's affiliate roster looks like right now.  

The vast majority of the players listed below were prior draft picks of the Stars.  The two exceptions:  Dylan Malmquist was acquired by Lincoln in the Tom Marchin trade.  Justin Richards was acquired by Lincoln as a "free agent" after the Stars lost 2014 Futures Draft pick (F) Sam Field to the OHL.

Quite a few players noted here will be in a Lincoln Stars uniform next season, and some have already donned the black and blue.

(D) Luke Jaycox and (F) Jack Badini are both in town finishing the season with the Stars.  (F) Ethen Frank was called up for one game back in December.  (F) Chris Klack started the season with Lincoln and played in 22 games before he went back to Canada.  All four of those players should play a big part on next year's team, in my opinion.

For those unaware, each USHL team's affiliate roster consists of two players born in 1996, six players born in 1997, and ten players born in 1998.  Lincoln only has five players born in 1997 on their affiliate roster.

You can click on the player names below to be taken directly to their Twitter account.  The only player I could not find a Twitter account for was (D) Anthony Wyse.

Ok, here we go.  

1996's:

Click here and here to view stats.  Acquired by Lincoln along with defenseman Cam Lee for forward Tom Marchin.  Finalist for the 2015 Minnesota "Mr. Hockey."  Committed to Notre Dame.

(D) Anthony Wyse
Click here to view stats.  Acquired by Lincoln in the 1st round of the 2014 USHL Entry Draft.  Injured his hip last summer and did not play organized hockey this past season .


1997's:

Click here and here to view stats.  Acquired by Lincoln in the 9th round of the 2014 USHL Entry Draft. Looked very good at Lincoln's tryout camp last year.

Click here and here to view stats.  Acquired by Lincoln in the 9th round of the 2014 USHL Entry Draft.  Finished his junior season at Edina High School (MN) this past season. 

Click here and here to view stats.  Acquired by Lincoln in the 14th round of the 2014 USHL Entry Draft.  Played 22 games for the Stars this season.

Click here and here to view stats.  Acquired by Lincoln in the 12th round of the 2014 USHL Entry Draft.  Prospect for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.  Called up by the Stars earlier this month and has played in 7 games.

Click here to view stats.  Acquired by Lincoln in the 4th round of the 2013 USHL Futures Draft.  Big, rangy d-man.  Tyler is the son of current UNO assistant coach Troy Jutting


1998's:

Click here to view stats.  Acquired by Lincoln in the 4th round of the 2014 USHL Futures Draft.  Called up by the Stars in January and has played in 20 games.

Click here and here to view stats (not complete stats).  Per Omaha AAA U-16 head coach David Wilkie, DiCesare scored 21 points (5g, 16a) and was +47 in 68 games this season.  Acquired by Lincoln in the 16th round of the 2014 USHL Entry Draft.  A.J's father Anthony DiCesare owns the Omaha Lancers.  We won't hold that against A.J.

Click here and here to view stats (not complete season stats).  Per Omaha AAA U-16 head coach David Wilkie, Frank racked up 136 points (86g, 50a) in 75 games this season.  Acquired by Lincoln in the 2nd round of the 2014 USHL Futures Draft.  Omaha, NE native.  Western Michigan commit.  This kid is the real deal.  

Click here and here to view stats.  Acquired by Lincoln in the 8th round of the 2014 USHL Futures Draft.  Toronto, Ontario, Canada native. 

Click here and here to view stats.  Acquired by Lincoln in the 1st round of the 2014 USHL Futures Draft.  Committed to the University of Wisconsin.  Ready to play and contribute next season for the Stars.

Click here and here to view stats.  Acquired by Lincoln in the 7th round of the 2014 USHL Futures Draft.  Tommy is the only goaltender on Lincoln's affiliate roster.  Big, rangy kid who definitely has a future in the USHL.

Click here and here to view stats.  Acquired by Lincoln as a "free agent" in August of 2014.  Justin's father is Todd Richards who is head coach of the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets.

Click here to view stats.  Acquired by Lincoln in the 3rd round of the 2014 USHL Futures Draft.  Did not participate in Lincoln's tryout camp in 2014, but I've been told Liam is a big, punishing defenseman.

Click here and here to view stats.  Acquired by Lincoln in the 13th round of the 2014 USHL Entry Draft.  Big kid for a '98 who plays a power forward type of game.

Click here and here to view stats.  Acquired by Lincoln in the 17th round of the 2014 USHL Entry Draft.  Did not participate in Lincoln's 2014 tryout camp due to injury.


If I've missed anything, please leave a comment below.  Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

B³ Weekend Recap: 3/13 & 3/14

Ludvig Hoff - Courtesy of Brandon Anderson Photography
The Lincoln Stars split their two games this weekend with a 4-3 regulation win Kearney, NE against the Tri-City Storm on Friday, then a 3-1 home loss at the IceBox on Saturday against the Sioux Falls Stampede.

The regulation win against the Tri-City Storm on Friday was the first for Lincoln since 1/3/15 when the Stars beat the Madison Capitols in regulation by the score of 3-2..



Boxscores:
3/13:  Lincoln 4, Tri-City 3
3/14:  Sioux Falls 3, Lincoln 1

The Lincoln Stars are still in last place in the USHL western conference with a record of  16-30-5 (37 points).  Lincoln's sixteen wins matches the win total from the 2009-10 team which finished 16-36-8.  The current Stars have 9 more games remaining in the 2014-15 regular season.

I had a pretty busy weekend, so unfortunately I was not able to watch or listen to either of the two games.  Because of that, this recap will be brief.  If you were at either game, I'd appreciate if you would leave a comment below and let me know how the team looked.

Lincoln 4, Tri-City 3

On the road against arguably one of the hottest teams in the USHL, the Lincoln Stars never trailed against the Tri-City Storm in route to a big 4-3 win.

Dominick Sacco got the monkey off his back with a goal in the first period to give the Stars a 1-0 lead which they kept heading into the first intermission.  The goal snapped a 18-game goal scoreless streak for Sacco.  Dom finished the night with 2 points (1g, 1a) and was +2.

Lincoln native Ethan Price put the Stars up 2-0 early in the second period with his third goal of the season.  Starting with the Price goal, the two teams traded a total of six goals in the second period, each squad scoring three goals a piece.

Lincoln's final two goals scored came from newly acquired forward Sean MacTavish, who came to the Stars fro the Madison Capitols in the Miguel Fidler trade.  The two goals from MacTavish were his first two career USHL goals as well.  His second goal of this game would prove to be the game-winner.

The Stars took a 4-3 lead into the second intermission and were able to hang onto that lead through the scoreless third period.  Final shots on goal were 44-29 in favor of the Storm.

Sean MacTavish (2g, 1a) and Biagio Lerario (3a) were Lincoln's top point getters with three points.

It was another big night for Stars goaltender Cam Hackett who stood on his head and stopped 41 of 44 shots on goal to record his 12th win of the season.  Tri-City put 16 shots on goal against Hackett in the third period in hopes of tying the game, but he came up huge and stopped everyone of them.

Nice to see Lincoln go on the road and get a big regulation win against a very good hockey club.  I'm sure it was a big confidence booster for the Stars considering all of the losses these past couple of months.


Sioux Falls 3, Lincoln 1

The Stampede improved to 3-0-0 against the Lincoln Stars this season with a 3-1 victory Saturday night at the IceBox.

In a similar fashion we've seen too many times this season at the IceBox, the Stars scored the first goal of the game but the opponent scored all of the rest of the goals in route to the win.

Stars F/D James LaDouce gave the Stars an early 1-0 first period lead with his first career USHL goal at the 8:32 mark.  Unfortunately for Lincoln, that would be the highlight of the game as the Sioux Falls Stampede scored three unanswered goals in route to the 3-1 victory.

Stampede forwards Cooper Mardoy and Kieffer Bellows combined for three points (2g, 1a) on the night.  In the past three games against Lincoln this season, Marody has 7 points (3g, 4a) while Bellows has 6 points (4g, 2a).

The Stampede have outscored the Stars 13-5 in the three games they've played this season.

Cam Hackett got the start for Lincoln and stopped 28 of 31 shots on goal in the loss.  The Stampede outshot the Stars 31-23 overall.  23 shots on goal at home is definitely nothing to write home about.


Things have been pretty rough for the Stars these past couple of months, and it certainly won't get any easier this upcoming weekend when the Team USA U-18 team visits for two straight games on Friday and Saturday.  The U-18's frequently beats college hockey teams and most USHL clubs they face.

Although they lost 5-4 in OT on Saturday against the Chicago Steel, the U-18's are 7-1-1 in their last 9 games against USHL teams.  Two of those seven wins were a 8-2 blowout victory of the Sioux Falls Stampede on 3/8/15, and a 7-2 drubbing of the Omaha Lancers on 3/5/15.  Tough, tough task for the Stars coming up this weekend.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

B³ Weekend Preview: Tri-City and Sioux Falls


The Lincoln Stars will stay in Nebraska this weekend with a Friday road tilt in Kearney against the Tri-City Storm, and then a Saturday evening home game at the IceBox against the Sioux Falls Stampede.

Puck drops at 7:30pm CST this Friday night in Kearney, and at 7:05pm CST on Saturday in Lincoln.

If you you can't make it to the games this weekend, you can follow the boxscores online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on 93.7 FM "The Ticket," or watch the games live on FASTHockey for a fee.

The Stars enter this weekend with a record of 15-29-5 (35 points) and are in last place in the USHL western conference.  Lincoln is 4-14-0 in their last 18 games played, and each one of those four wins came in a shootout.  The last time the Stars won a game in regulation was 1/3/15 when the good guys got a 3-2 home victory over the Madison Capitols.  Click here to view the current league standings.

Lincoln is coming off another disappointing home loss to the Tri-City Storm this past Tuesday night at the IceBox.  In that particular game, the Storm outscored Lincoln 6-0 in the last two periods in route to a 6-1 win.

Lincoln's opponent this Friday, the aforementioned Tri-City Storm, currently sit in second place in the USHL western conference with a record of 31-13-6 (68 points), only one point behind the first-place Sioux City Musketeers.  The Storm actually have one game in hand over the Muskies at the time of this article.

Tri-City's winning percentage of .680 is tied for best overall in the entire USHL with the Cedar Rapids Roughriders.  The Storm are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games played.  Tri-City has also won 10 in a row at home, making this Friday's game at the Viaero Event Center in Kearney, NE a tough task for the Lincoln Stars.

Thankfully, this Friday's game versus the Storm will be the last time the Stars play them in the 2014-15 USHL regular season.  Lincoln is 1-6-0 in the previous seven games against Tri-City this season.  In those seven games, the Storm have outscored the Stars 26-11, including 13-3 in the second period alone.

On Saturday, the Sioux Falls Stampede will gallop into the IceBox for the second time this season.  The 'Pede are currently in fourth place in the USHL western conference with a record of 25-18-5 (55 points).  At the moment, it appears that the Stampede and the fifth place Des Moines Buccaneers (52 points) are the two teams fighting for the last playoff spot in the western conference.

This will be the third of four meetings between the Stars and the 'Pede this season.  Lincoln is 0-2-0 in the two prior meetings with Sioux Falls.  In their last meeting, which came a few weeks ago on 2/28/15 at the IceBox, the Stampede outscored the Stars 4-1 in the first period in route to a 7-3 drubbing.

This Friday, the Stampede will be in Omaha to face the Lancers, so hopefully our rivals to the north will tire out Sioux Falls so they'll be extra flat against the Stars on Saturday.  The 'Pede have lost three in a row coming into this weekend.  Sioux Falls were outscored 21-7 in those three losses.

Just when you think this Stars team has hit rock bottom and you expect them to maybe pull together as a team and make an attempt to crawl out of their hole, they somehow regress and dig an even deeper hole.  At this point of the season, I'm not expecting wins but I'd at least like to see improvement from game to game.  Play with some pride, and finish out these last 11 games of the season on a somewhat positive note.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

B³ Postgame Recap: Tri-City 6, Lincoln 1

Courtesy of Brandon Anderson Photography
The Tri-City Storm allowed the Stars to score one goal before going on a six-goal unanswered tear Tuesday night at the IceBox to beat Lincoln by a score of 6-1.  The Stars fell to 1-6-0 in seven games against Tri-City this season.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

The loss dropped Lincoln's record to 15-29-5 (35 points) and they still occupy last place in the USHL western conference.  Lincoln also has the worst record in the USHL.

The Stars are 1-6-0 in their last seven games played, and have been oustcored 11-2 in their last two games.  Click here to view the current league standings.

I wasn't able to attend this game in person due to illness, and I didn't listen to the radio broadcast so this recap will be very brief.  The main reason I wanted to post a recap article is to allow the fans to voice their comments.  If you were at the game, please leave a comment below.

As I mentioned above, the Stars got out to a 1-0 lead early in the first period when Ludvig Hoff scored his 15th goal of the season at the 7:07 mark.  Although they were outshot 13-5 in the opening twenty minutes, the Stars took the 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

As we've seen countless times this season, the Stars were outplayed, outscored, and outshot in the second period and quickly lost whatever momentum they had at the first intermission.  The Storm outscored the Stars 3-0 in the second, and outshot them 16-7.  For all intents and purposes, this game was over after the second period.  Broken record.

In the third, the Storm scored three goals on five shots on goal to finish out the scoring.

Final shots on goal were 34-18 in favor of Tri-City.  I'm trying to remember the last time a Stars team had less than 20 shots at home.  Was it earlier this season?  Edit:  A little over a month ago on 2/6/15, Tri-City outshot Lincoln 50-16 at the IceBox.

I wasn't there at the game, so it's not fair for me to talk much further about what happened.  I'll let the fans who were there leave a comment below.

This Friday the Stars will travel out to Kearney, NE to wrap up their eight-game regular season series against the Storm.  On Saturday, the Stars will be back at the IceBox to face the Sioux Falls Stampede.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Monday, March 9, 2015

B³ Pregame Report: Tri-City Storm vs. Lincoln Stars

The Lincoln Stars are back at the IceBox this Tuesday evening for a midweek matchup against the Tri-City Storm.

Puck drops at 7:05pm CST.

If you can't make it to this game, you can follow the boxscore online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on 93.7 FM "The Ticket," or watch the game live on FASTHockey for a fee.

This will be a very, very brief pregame report.  I've been battling illness the past 5 days or so and it's still kicking my butt.  I apologize for not having any kind of a weekend recap after the two games in Des Moines last weekend.  I didn't watch or listen to either game on the radio, so I'm not going to bother with a recap.

The Tri-City Storm enter this weekend with a record of 30-13-6 (66 points) good enough for second place in the USHL western conference, three points behind the first place Sioux City Musketeers.  The Lincoln Stars are in last place in the western conference with a record of 15-28-5 (31 points).  Click here to view the current league standings.  

This will be the seventh of eight meetings between the Stars and the Storm this season.  Tri-City is 5-0-1 in the six prior meetings with Lincoln this season and have outscored the Stars 20-9.  These two teams will finish out their regular season series this Friday night in Kearney.

I doubt I'll be feeling well enough tomorrow to attend this game in person, but I'll try to listen to it on the radio.

Sorry again for the lack of updates.  As soon as I'm 100% I'll get back on my blogging horse.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

B³ Weekend Preview: Des Moines Buccaneers

The Lincoln Stars will head east on Interstate 80 this weekend for a weekend series in Des Moines, IA against the Buccaneers.

Both games begin at 7:05pm CST.

Unless you're planning on being in Des Moines to watch the two games this weekend, you can follow the boxscores online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on 93.7 FM "The Ticket," or watch the games live on FASTHockey for a fee.

The Bucs enter these two games against Lincoln with a record of 19-17-11 (49 points), and are currently in fifth place in the USHL western conference.

The Stars are 16 points behind the Buccaneers with a record of record of 14-27-5 (33 points).  Lincoln has lost four in a row.  Click here to view the current league standings.

This will be the seventh and eighth  meetings between these two teams so far this season.  The Stars are 2-4-0 in the six prior matchups with the Bucs.  These two upcoming games will be the last time the two teams meet this regular season.

The Bucs have really struggled in the last half of the regular season after red-hot start.  Des Moines raced out to a 9-3-1 start, but they are 10-14-10 since then.  In their last 13 games, the Bucs only have two wins, and both of those wins came against the Stars.

The Bucs are six points behind the fourth place Sioux Falls Stampede in the western conference, so they are desperately fighting to stay relevant in the playoff race.  However, Des Moines made a big trade this past week which on the surface seems to indicate they are playing for next season, and don't anticipate making a playoff run this season.

Speaking of trades, the Stars made a move at the USHL trade deadline this week when the team sent forward Miguel Fidler to the Madison Capitols for '94 forward Sean MacTavish and a 3rd round pick in the 2015 USHL Futures Draft.  

Fidler will attend Ohio State this fall, so this move by the Stars was to trade an asset that wasn't returning next season for basically the 3rd round futures pick.  Sean MacTavish was born in 1994, so he cannot play junior hockey next season.  Sean MacTavish is the son of current Edmonton Oilers GM, and longtime NHL center, Craig MacTavish.

Sorry for the abbreviated weekend preview.  It's been a busy week.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

B³ Weekend Recap: 2/27 & 2/28

Courtesy of Brandon Anderson Photography
The Lincoln Stars wrapped up the month of February much like how they started it with two disappointing losses this past weekend.

 On Friday night in Des Moines, IA, the Buccaneers beat the Stars by a score of 5-2.  Then on Saturday evening at the IceBox, the Sioux Falls Stampede embarrassed Lincoln by a score of 7-3.

The Stars have lost four in a row, and 9 of their last 10 games.  Lincoln has given up a total of 20 goals in their last three games.

Boxscores:

With the two regulation losses, the Stars dropped to 14-27-5 (33 points) on the season and are still in last place in the USHL Western Conference.  Click here to view the current league standings.

I really wish I knew what was going on with this team.  I'm not sure I've ever seen a hockey team get worse as the season progressed.   

The 2009-10 Lincoln Stars team that finished with only 16 wins started out bad and stayed that way.  This current Stars team actually looked relatively decent the first month or two before the wheels fell off.  Lincoln has 14 wins with 14 games remaining.  Looking ahead to those remaining games, I'm not so sure they'll be able to match the 16 win total of 2009-10.  I hope I'm wrong.

I"m not going to waste a lot of my time with these recaps this morning.  It's getting to the point that I'm becoming very apathetic to this season, and I hate feeling this way.  Wasting hours researching and writing a weekend recap for two bad losses just isn't something I want to do.

Lincoln 2, Des Moines 5

Another 2nd period collapse by the Stars allowed the Des Moines Buccaneers to skate to a 5-2 win over the Stars.  The win by Des Moines snapped a seven-game losing streak.

The Bucs outscored the Stars 3-0, and outshot them 22-7 in the second period to pull away from Lincoln after a 1-1 first period.  The Stars should petition the USHL to see if they can just skip the 2nd period altogether.

Goal scorers for Lincoln in this game were Patrick Polino (PP), and Ryan Jones (PP).  

Shots were 43-32 overall in favor of Des Moines.  Stars goaltender Cam Hackett stopped 38 of 43 in the loss.  Lincoln went 2-for-5 on the powerplay while the Bucs went 1-for-4.

I thought Lincoln played the best period of the weekend in the first twenty minutes of this game.  They played smart, physical, and were crisp and accurate with their passing.  However, the team did a complete 180 in the second period and seemed to be skating in concrete.  I just don't get how this team can look good in one period and then the following period look so bad.  It has happened too many times this season and nothing has been done to fix it.

Sioux Falls 7, Lincoln 3

It was the "Cooper Marody-Kieffer Bellows Show" last night at the IceBox as the two talented Stampede forwards combined for 6 points (3g, 3a) to propel Sioux Falls to a 7-3 drubbing of the Stars in front of 3,631 fans at the IceBox.

Lincoln got out to a quick 1-0 lead with Cam Lee's goal at the 6:07 mark of the first period, but it was all downhill for the Stars after that.  Lee's first period tally broke a 30-game goalless streak going back to 11/14/14.

After the Lee goal, the Stampede took complete control of the game and rattled off four goals to finish out the first period.  After twenty minutes, the score was 4-1 in favor of the visiting Stampede and this game was pretty much over.

The remaining goals scored by the Stars came from Chris Gambardella in the second period, his first USHL goal, and Patrick Polino in the third period.  Polino finished the game as Lincoln's top point producer with 2 points (1g, 1a).

Shots were 38-23 overall in favor of Sioux Falls.  Stars goaltender Peyton Jones stopped 31 of 37 in the loss.  Lincoln went 0-for-5 on the powerplay while the Stampede went 0-for-2.

Defensively, this team gives up way too many shots on goal, and in turn, an incredibly high amount of quality shots against.  I can probably count on one hand the amount of games the Stars have outshot their opponent.  Defensive turnovers in their own zone play a huge part in those shots totals.  The Stars have struggled all season long getting possession of the puck and getting it cleanly out of their own zone.

Although they have not yet been mathematically eliminated from the western conference playoff race, I would assume that will happen sometime soon.  The USHL trade deadline is Monday, March 2nd at 11:59pm, so if the Stars are going to move any current players for draft picks or younger players, they'll need to do it in the next 36 hours or so.  It will be interesting to see if any further moves will be made.

That's it for me.  I'm very interested to hear your thoughts.  Please leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

B³ Weekend Preview: Des Moines and Sioux Falls


The Lincoln Stars will take on the two teams fighting for the fourth spot in the USHL western conference playoff race this weekend with a Friday tilt in Des Moines, IA against the Buccaneers, and then a Saturday evening game at the IceBox against the Sioux Falls Stampede.

Puck drops at 7:05pm CST for each game.

If you you can't make it to either of the two road this weekend, you can follow the boxscores online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on 93.7 FM "The Ticket," or watch the games live on FASTHockey for a fee.

The Stars come enter this weekend with a record of 14-25-5 (29 points) and are in last place in the USHL western conference.  Lincoln is 2-10-0 in their last twelve games played, and those two wins came in a shootout.  The Stars are 18 points out of fourth place (playoff eligible) in the west.  Click here to view the current league standings.

Lincoln is coming off an embarrassing 8-3 loss this past Wednesday night at the IceBox to the Sioux City Musketeers.  In cast you were wondering, I am not going to devote a recap article to that particular game.  I ran out of time to get that done tonight, so I'll mention it briefly here.

Click here to view the boxscore.  As bad as the score looks, I definitely think this was a game the Stars simply ran into a buzzsaw.  I'm not going to sugarcoat the loss at all.  It was bad.  Really bad.  But the Stars went head to head against what I think is the top team in the USHL right now, and it showed.  Lincoln was never in this game.

As good as Lincoln's goaltending has been this season, in the 8-3 loss it could have been a lot better.  I think this game is a good example of the kind of scores the Stars would see more of this season if their goaltending hadn't been so good.  I really think Hackett and Jones have done a lot to cover up some of the defensive issues this team continues to have night in and night out.  Basically, without Hackett and Jones, we'd see more of these kinds of lopsided losses.

In case you were wondering, the last time an opposing team put 8 goals on the Stars on their home rink was way back on March 9th, 2010 when the Waterloo Blackhawks beat Lincoln at the IceBox by a score of 8-6.  That 2009-10 Stars team gave up 8 goals at home in three different games.  That was definitely a season most Stars fans had to get psychological help for once it was over.

Okay, back to the two games this weekend....

Lincoln's opponent this Friday will be the Des Moines Buccaneers who occupy fifth place in the USHL western conference with a record of 18-16-11 (47 points).  The Bucs are only four points behind the fourth place Sioux Falls Stampede, but the 'Pede have two games in hand over Des Moines.

This will be the sixth of eight meetings between the Stars and Bucs this season.  Lincoln is 2-3-0 in the previous five games vs. Des Moines.  Three of the next four games for the Stars will be against the Buccaneers.  On March 6th and 7th the Stars will travel back to Des Moines to finish out the regular season series.

After a red-hot start to the season in which they went 9-3-1, the Bucs have cooled off considerable going 9-13-10 since then.  As I mentioned above, the Bucs are trying to stay relevant in the western conference playoff race but they are slipping a bit as of late.  The Stars can definitely play the role of spoiler in their game Friday night.

Saturday evening at the IceBox the Stars will host the Sioux Falls Stampede who sit in fourth place in the west with a record of 23-15-5 (51 points).  The 'Pede are currently riding a five-game winning streak and are 6-2-1 in their last nine games played.

This will be the second of four meetings between the Stars and the Stampede this season.  In their only other meeting, Sioux Falls picked up a 3-1 win at home on 1/23/15.  The 'Pede have an impressive 15-6-3 home record, but a pedestrian 8-9-2 record away from the confines of brand new Denny Sanford Premier Center.  Starting this Friday, the Stampede begin a grueling stretch of 10 straight road games.

Two big opportunities for the Stars to play the role of spoiler this weekend against two teams trying to wrap up a playoff spot in the west.  However, they'll have to play a lot better than they played this past Wednesday if they even want to think about picking up any points this weekend.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

B³ Pregame Report: Sioux City Musketeers vs. Lincoln Stars

The Lincoln Stars will take on the top team in the USHL western conference (and the USHL) this Wednesday evening when they battle the Sioux City Musketeers at the IceBox.

Puck drops at 7:05pm CST.

If you can't make it to this game, you can follow the boxscore online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on 93.7 FM "The Ticket," or watch the game live on FASTHockey for a fee.

The Stars are 14-24-5 (33 points) and are in last place in the USHL western conference, eight points behind the seventh place Waterloo Blackhawks.  Click here to view the current league standings.

Sioux City comes into this mid-week matchup with a record of 30-12-4 (64 points), and as I mentioned above, the Muskies occupy the top spot in the west and the USHL overall.  The Musketeers are red hot as of late with a 9-1-1 record in their last 11 games played.  Conversely, the Stars are 2-9-0 in their last 11 games.

Despite where they are in the western conference standings, and how poorly they have played in the past couple of months, the Stars have an impressive 3-2-0 in the five previous meetings with the Musketeers this season.  This will be their last meeting this season.  In their last meeting on 12/19/14, the two teams combined for 14 goals in a 7-4 Stars win in Sioux City.  The seven goals scored by Lincoln in that game has been the most they have scored in any game this season.

This particular game was originally supposed to be played on November 7th, 2014.  Due to an on ice issue, the game had to be canceled at the last minute and it was rescheduled for Wednesday, February 25th.  Tickets (and the parking pass) from the 11/7/14 game will be accepted tomorrow night.

As per the Stars' Twitter account, affiliate defenseman Luke Jaycox will make his debut in a Lincoln uniform against the Muskies on Wednesday.  Jaycox just wrapped up his senior season at Warroad High School in Warroad, MN.  Due to an injury suffered mid-season, Jaycox only played a total of 16 games for Warroad, scoring 12 points (3g, 9a) and adding 18 PIM's.  Luke was originally selected by the Stars in the 12th round of the 2014 USHL Entry Draft.

Standing at 6'1" and weighing in at 185 pounds, Jaycox is definitely someone the fans should be excited about.  In the NHL's Central Scouting mid-term rankings, Jaycox made the list at #132, so there is a very good chance he is selected in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

In my viewings of him at Lincoln's tryout camp, what impressed me the most about Luke's game was how cool and composed he looked for a 17 year old.  Luke will certainly be a big part of Lincoln's rebuilding plans next season as a full-time player.  Getting him here in Lincoln to get a taste of the USHL before next season rolls around is huge.  Jaycox will wear #6 for the Stars.

These are the kind of games that the Stars can play the role of spoiler the rest of this season.  The Musketeers are fighting tooth and nail with the Tri-City Storm for first place in the western conference.  Also, Sioux City is competing with the Storm and the Cedar Rapids Roughriders for the Anderson Cup (regular season points leader).  Hopefully the Stars can put a strong effort together and catch the Muskies napping.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Monday, February 23, 2015

B³ Weekend Recap: 2/20 & 2/21

Chris Dodero reacts after his goal with 11 seconds remaining on Fri
Courtesy of Brandon Anderson Photography
The Lincoln Stars split a weekend home-and-home series against the Tri-City Storm with a 3-2 overtime shootout win on Friday at the IceBox, followed by a 3-1 loss in Kearney on Saturday.

Lincoln's win on Friday evening snapped a five-game losing streak.

Boxscores:
2/20:  Tri-City 2, Lincoln 3 OT Shootout
2/21:  Lincoln 1, Tri-City 3



This recap will be brief.  I ran out of time to do this on Sunday, and I don't have a lot of time tonight to devote to it.  I did not watch the Saturday game, so I will be very, very brief with that recap.  If any of you folks out there watched the Saturday game, or were there in person, please leave a comment below and let me know how the boys looked.

With the split weekend results, the Stars now have a record of 14-24-5 (31 points) and are still in last place in the USHL western conference.  The good news is that Lincoln does not have the worst record in the league right now, as the Green Bay Gamblers occupy that spot with a record of 14-25-5.  Click here to view the current league standings.

Tri-City 2, Lincoln 3 OT Shootout

In what was probably their best overall effort in the last month or two, the Lincoln Stars snapped their five-game losing streak with a dramatic come-from-behind 3-2 OT shootout win over the Tri-City Storm this past Friday night at the IceBox.

I'm hesitant to call this a complete 60-minute effort by the Stars, because there were good stretches of the 1st period in particular that the Storm took control of this game.  However, it was a very strong effort against the hottest team in the USHL, and in the end, the Stars deserved the two points.

The Storm took at 1-0 lead into the first intermission thanks to a solid opening period and a 11-3 shot advantage.

Although they did not score in the second period, I thought the Stars performed very well in a period that lately has been a bit of a nightmare.  Lincoln outshot Tri-City 14-11 and the score remained 1-0 in favor of the Storm heading into the third period.

Just under seven minutes into the third period, Stars forward Ludvig Hoff got Lincoln on the scoreboard thanks to an incredible individual effort.  Hoff got possession of the puck in the neutral zone with a head full of steam before making a shifty move past a Storm defender and unleashing a rocket that beat TC goaltender Jared Rutledge.

The Storm found their legs after the Hoff goal and pressed the Stars hard until they were rewarded with a 2-1 lead at the 9:08 mark of the third period.

It was starting to look like Lincoln might lose their sixth in a row late in the third period with goaltender Cam Hackett pulled for the extra attacker, but forward Chris Dodero was the hero of the day as his goal with only 11 seconds remaining in regulation tied the game at 2-2.  Dodero, who was just re-acquired by Lincoln earlier in the week in the Joe Lappin trade, came up huge with a rebound goal after an intial chance by Biagio Lerario.

After a scoreless five-minute overtime period, this game was decided by shootout.  In the skills competition, the Stars received goals from Ludvig Hoff, Michael Gillespie, and Biagio Lerario (the game winner) while Cam Hackett stopped two of four Tri-City shooters to seal the victory.

Once again, Cam Hackett made all the saves he should have and many he probably shouldn't have to keep Lincoln in this game long enough to tie it up and win it in the shootout.  Hackett stopped 34 of 36 and was rightly named the #1 star of the game.

This was a fun game to watch live.  Tri-City is certainly the real deal, yet the Stars skated with them and played well enough to earn the two points.  We haven't seen a lot of these types of games so far this season at the IceBox, but this particular contest had a playoff feel to it.

Before I wrap this particular recap up, I want to get on my soapbox.  Stars forward Grant Jozefek was on the receiving end of a dirty elbow by Storm defenseman Jalen Schulz in the second period of this game.  If you'd like to see a replay of the hit, click here to view the Vine.  The quality of the video isn't the greatest, but you should be able to see Schulz take four good strides over the Jozefek before initiated contact first with his left elbow directly to Grant's head up against the boards.  Jozefek immediately went down and did not return to the game.  I've heard he is currently suffering from concussion-type symptoms.

This is exactly the kind of play the USHL is trying to remove from the game (as they should), but for some reason Schulz was only given a one-game suspension, which was basically an automatic suspension because Schulz picked up a game misconduct on the play (along with a five minute major for head contact).  The USHL will never clean up dirty, high hits like this without throwing the book at players like Schulz when they headhunt.

The lack of action by the league will also throw more fuel on the fire the next time these two teams meet.  I guarantee you that Jozefek's teammates will remember this hit the next time they play the Storm.  They'll be further upset because Schulz received a slap on the wrist.  The officials on the play agreed it was a dirty, unnecessary hit....why didn't the league?  Very, very disappointing.  This is the kind of shit that makes me want to stop following junior hockey and stick with college/pro.  Those leagues take it seriously.  It's obvious to me that USHL does not.  End rant.

Lincoln 1, Tri-City 3

As I stated above, I wasn't able to catch this game live nor have I watched the replay.  Based on the boxscore, it was another ugly second period that helped Tri-City overcome a 0-1 hole and score two goals to take a 2-1 lead into the second intermission.  The Storm added one more in the third to complete the scoring.

After putting a total of 8 shots on goal in the opening twenty minutes, the Stars combined for only 8 shots in the final forty minutes.

Cam Hackett stopped 36 of 39 in the loss.  I'm not sure what else you can ask from this kid.  I'd hate to think of where the Stars would be this season without Cam.  It's already not very pretty.  Without him, it would be plain ugly.

Would love to hear from those who caught this game on FASTHockey, or in person.  Please leave a comment below.

The Stars will be back in action this Wednesday with a midweek game against the top team in the West, the Sioux City Musketeers.  I'll post a quick preview article tomorrow about this game.

Later this weekend, the Stars will go on the road for a tilt against the Bucs in Des Moines, IA on Friday, then back at the IceBox on Saturday against the Sioux Falls Stampede.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.