Thursday, December 31, 2009

Live Blog - Lincoln Stars vs. Waterloo Blackhawks 12/31

 New Years Eve Edition!

Start your NYE plans right by chatting with other Lincoln fans as the Stars faceoff against the Waterloo Blackhawks.  Faceoff is at 7:05pm.  We'll be online at 7pm.

Go Stars.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Weekend Preview - Waterloo and Chicago

The Lincoln Stars will ring in the new year on the road with three straight road games against USHL East opponents.  On Thursday (12/31), the Stars will faceoff against the Waterloo Blackhawks.  The Stars will then travel to the "Windy City" to battle the Chicago Steel on Friday (1/1) and Saturday (1/2).  Lincoln currently has a 9-15-1 record (19 points), and are tied statistically with Team USA and the Waterloo Blackhawks for last place in the USHL.

The Waterloo Blackhawks are currently 9-15-1 (19 points), and are tied for sixth place in the USHL East Division.  Like the Stars, the Blackhawks have struggled this season to play consistent hockey.  The "Loo are a top heavy offensive team, sporting three players who have scored more than 25 points this season.  Also like the Stars, the Blackhawks do not have a goaltender with a save percentage over .900 %.  Former Stars forward Jimmy Siers (82 penalty minutes) and defenseman Tony Turgeon (99 penalty minutes) are two of the "tough guys" on the Waterloo roster.

The Chicago Steel are currently 11-11-4 (26 points), good enough for fifth place in the USHL East Division.  Like the Blackhawks, the Steel have no problems scoring goals, but have had issues stopping the puck.  Forwards Sahir Gill (26 points), Mark Anthoine (29 points), and Andrew Kutchin (31 points) are three players the Stars must contain if they want to corral the Steel over the weekend.  Goaltenders Nick Pisellini and Connor Wilson both have save percentages under .900, and goals against averages of 3.35 and 4.08, respectively. 

It will be interesting to see how the Stars rebound from the holiday break with three tough games in three consecutive nights, all against worthy opponents.  Both Waterloo and Chicago are teams that have no problem scoring goals.  Which Stars squad will show up?  Will it be the team that earned 3 points out of a possible 4 on the road against the Indiana Ice?  Or will it team that was embarrassed at home against the Green Bay Gamblers? 

The Stars are 25 games into their 60 game schedule, and they have yet to show any consistency.  One night they'll play the role of giant killers, the next night they'll play the role of puppy dog.  As a fan, it has been frustrating to watch, but we have to keep the faith and support the players and coaches as they try to find their team identity.  I still believe the talent is there.  Like many of you, I'm just patiently waiting for this team to finally break out in a positive way.

We will be blogging/chatting live for all three games this weekend.  I will be running the chat on Thursday and Saturday night, while Layla has been nice enough to again help out and run the chat on Friday night.  Hope to see the usual "suspects" there, as well as some new blood.  I'm always happy to see new faces during our in-game chats.

Be safe on New Years Eve (Amateur Night).

Go Stars.

Edit:  Per Brent Wagner of the Lincoln Journal Star, Stars affiliate player Chris DelMauro will be in the lineup for Lincoln this weekend.  DelMauro is a 6'1, 180 pound forward born in 1991 who has committed to play collegiate hockey at UMASS.  DelMauro was at the Stars tryout camp this past Spring.  Also, Lincoln forward Jarrod Mermis and defenseman Garrett Clement will be out of the lineup due to injury.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays from the Black and Blue Blog!

Just wanted to wish everyone out there a Happy Holidays and a Healthy New Year! I'd like to express my appreciation to all the people who follow this blog and the Stars. When I started this blog back in February, I really never thought it would grow as fast as it has. I feel very lucky to have such great support from so many readers out there. Nate and I both appreciate it.

Thank you for the continued support.  Look for more articles about the Stars after x-mas.  Happy Holidays...and GO STARS!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mobile access to the Black and Blue Blog

If you are able to access the internet with your phone...make sure you click the "make it mobile" link below to get a mobile link to access the "Black and Blue Blog" from your cell phone. Great way to follow the blog and the Stars while you are away from a computer.

Go Stars.

Add Black and Blue: The Unofficial Lincoln Stars Blog Mippin widget

Postgame Report - Lincoln at Sioux Falls 12/19

Final Score: Lincoln 0, Sioux Falls 3

The Lincoln Stars were shutout yet again in Sioux Falls, as the Stampede scored one goal in the first, and two goals in the third period to record their second straight shutout victory over the Stars. In their two games against the Sioux Falls Stampede this season, the Stars are 0-2 and have been outscored 7-0. The Stars put 27 shots on goal against Stampede goaltender Clay Witt, but Witt stopped them all to record his third shutout of the season. The Stars went 0-1 with the man advantage, while Sioux Falls went 0-9 on the powerplay. I'm not sure how to think about that last stat. The fact that the Stars penalty kill unit stopped all 9 chances, or the fact that the Stars put themselves shorthanded nine times.

With the loss, the Stars dropped to 9-15-1 (19 points) in the USHL West Division. With Team USA winning Saturday night, the Stars and Team USA are now tied (.380) with the worst record in the USHL. Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye mentioned during the Sioux Falls broadcast Saturday night that at the current 25 game mark, the Stars have the worst record in franchise history. Nowhere to go but up, right?

I didn't get a chance to watch this game on B2, and I was late listening to the game on the radio, so I really don't have a lot so say in regards to how I think they played. I wonder if some of the players were already on x-mas break, and that the last couple of games were played on autopilot by some. I sure hope the players and coaches can come back from this break with intensity, consistency, and a promise to play the best hockey they can for the remainder of the season. The lack of scoring has to be addressed, but there are many other issues that require attention than just scoring. Coach McGroarty has shown in the past that he can turn bad seasons into playoff seasons, so it's important we continue to stay supportive and positive through these tough times.

Coming back from the x-mas break, the Stars go on a three game road trip, with one game in Waterloo against the Blackhawks, and two games in Chicago against the Steel. Getting three or four points out of a possible six would be nice start. After that three game road swing, the Stars play their next 8 of 10 games at the IceBox.

Go Stars.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Live Blog - Stars at Stampede 12/19

I'm a little late starting this up tonight. Hope to see all of you there.

Postgame Report - Green Bay at Lincoln 12/18

Final Score:  Green Bay 5, Lincoln 2

The Lincoln Stars lost their third straight home game Friday night at the Ice Box, where the visiting Green Bay Gamblers skated past the falling Stars by a score of 5-2.  The Gamblers used two first period goals to stake them to an early lead, and they never looked back.  The Stars got on the board in the first period when Brodie Reid made a very nice leading pass to a streaking Matt Bruneteau, who beat GB goaltender Steve Summerhays high glove side for the goal.  The Stars were outshot in the first period by a margin of 16-7.  The Stars played a little better in the second period, as they outshot the Gambers 14-9, but they could not put any pucks past Summerhays in that second stanza.  GB forward Reed Seckel scored a shorthanded goal in the second period to extend the GB lead to 3-1 going into the third period.  In the third, it was all Green Bay as the Gamblers scored two goals, including one empty net goal, to seal the victory.  Josh Berge scored his first goal as a member of the Lincoln Stars late in the third period on a goal mouth scramble, but it was not enough.  With the loss, the Stars dropped to 9-14-1 (.396 winning %), and are in last place in the USHL West Division.  The only other team in the USHL with a worse winning percentage than the Stars right now is Team USA (.354 winning %).

Tough, tough game to watch.  Green Bay is simply a much better team than the Stars are.  The Stars looked outmatched the entire game.  Give credit to a good GB team.  They have guys who can play the body, skate, and bury goals.  They do it all very well.  I thought the score could have been a lot worse if Green Bay would have connected with a few of their missed scoring opportunities.  The Stars looked flat and confused.  I watched Lincoln players who were more concerned with chirping at opposing players, and trying to start fights behind the play than skating hard back to their defensive zone to help out.  I just don't know why this team looks so bad at times at home.  Very strange.  The Stars will need to figure out why they can't put it all together at home if they want to make the playoffs.  The goaltending will need to improve (ie save percentages over .900) also if this team wants to do anything in the post-season.

A frightening stat that was posted by an anonymous reader in an earlier article:  "the Stars are on pace to score 142 goals this season, only 2 more than Tri City's awful team last year. We have scored 57 goals in 24 games. Omaha had 57 after game 13."

The Stars go back on the road Saturday night to faceoff against the Sioux Falls Stampede.  The 'Pede are another very good hockey team, so hopefully the Stars can use that road magic and get two points before the x-mas break.

I don't know yet if I will be doing the live chat during the game tonight.  Check back around 6 or 7pm to see if I have it up.

Go Stars.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Weekend Preview: Green Bay and Sioux Falls

I know Yeti's been busy living it up in New Orleans this week, so in case he doesn't have time, here is a short weekend preview of two games against very talented teams this weekend. Needless to say, this will be a big weekend in terms of seeing if the Stars are ready to make their move up the standings. Also, these are the last two games before Christmas break, so hitting the holidays on a high note is important.

On Friday night, the Green Bay Gamblers come to the Ice Box for the first time this season. The Stars and Gamblers met twice in Green Bay just before Thanksgiving. Green Bay beat Lincoln 3-2 in the Friday night game and Lincoln won in overtime 1-0 the following night. The latter game featured Matt Green in net for the Stars and Ryan McKay for the Gamblers. Since then, Green has started six consecutive games for Lincoln, while Green Bay continues to rotate McKay and Steve Summerhays.

The Gamblers (35 points, No. 1 in the East) are led by Anders Lee (13 g, 15 a) and high-scoring defenseman David Makowski, who has logged 20 points from his spot at the blue line. The Gamblers have won seven of their last eight, so this game will be a big test for Lincoln.

Strangely, the Stars have been lackluster at home this season (3-5) and OK on the road in tough games like against Green Bay a few weeks ago and in Indiana last week, but hopefully this Friday is the turning point for this team. I'm excited to see Andrew Ammon back in the lineup this weekend. He had six points in five games before going on the injured reserve list. I think Ammon's absence may have hurt more than people think and his return will be huge. Of course, good injury news around Stars camp can't come without bad news. Newly acquired Garrett Clement is out three to four weeks with an injury.

On Saturday, Lincoln travels to Sioux Falls to face the Stampede, who currently sit in second place in the West with 32 points. Sioux Falls lost to Waterloo, 8-7 in a shootout Wednesday night. The Stampede feature Michael Voran (13 g, 18 a) and Matt Lindblad (8 g, 19 a) up top.

The Stars and Herd met back on Oct. 30 in Sioux Falls, with the Stampede running away with a 4-0 win. Lino Chimienti got the shutout in net, but he has given up six and seven goals in his last two appearances, so Clay Witt may get the call on Saturday.

Sioux Falls is a team that can really light up the scoreboard if you aren't on top of your game defensively. Eight times this year they've scored five or more goals, including a 9-1 win, an 8-2 win, a 7-3 win and Wednesday's 7-8 loss.

Let's hope the boys get a win on Friday. I really miss the Choo Choo.

*Lincoln has an open roster spot because Patrick George has left the team. For a roster update, check out Brent Wagner's notes at the Journal Star Blue Line Blog.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Live Blog - Lincoln Stars at Indiana Ice 12/12

 The Stars will be looking to win their fifth straight road game Saturday night when they faceoff against the Indiana Ice for the second time in two nights.  I will be unable to run the chat tonight, so our good friend Layla will be running it in my place.  Much thanks to her for helping out!  If you do stop by to chat, make sure you thank her!

Go Stars!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Game Recap: Lincoln Stars at Indiana Ice 12/11

Final Score:  Lincoln 1, Indiana 0

The Lincoln Stars used a strong defensive effort and fantastic goaltending to earn their fourth straight road win, and a 1-0 shutout victory over the hometown Indiana Ice.  Stars goaltender Matt Green earned his second shutout of the season as he stopped all 26 Indiana shots he faced.  After two scoreless periods, Stars forward Jon Puskar broke the 0-0 tie late in the third period and scored the game winning goal.  Puskar now has scored a goal in each of his last three games, and has potted 6 points in 10 games with Lincoln since being acquired from the BCHL.  Lincoln went 0-for-5 on the powerplay, while the Ice went 0-for-2 with the man advantage.

Great, great win on the road against a VERY good Indiana team.  I'm not sure why this Lincoln team plays better away from the IceBox, but they certainly needed this victory after a disappointing effort last Friday night at home against the Tri-City Storm.  The scoring still needs some work, but to shutout a team like Indiana in their own barn takes a total team effort.  I stated this before, but this team can beat the top teams in the USHL.  The problem so far this season has been putting forth that effort every game on a consistent basis.  It's been one step forward, two steps back at times this season, which has been frustrating to watch.  The talent is there.  It's just a matter of getting everyone on the same page every night.

The Stars will battle the Ice again Saturday night in Indianapolis, where Lincoln will look to extend their road winning streak to five games.  Like Friday night, the game will start at 6:05pm.

Go Stars.

Live Chat - Lincoln Stars at Indiana Ice 12/11

Remember, this game will start at 6:05pm central. I hope to have this up and running at 6pm, but if I'm a little patient and keep checking back. Let's hope the Stars can continue their road winning streak tonight against a very good Indiana squad.

Pre-game notes here.

Go Stars.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Weekend Preview - Lincoln at Indiana

The Lincoln Stars will be far away from snowy Lincoln, Nebraska this weekend, as the Stars take on the Indiana Ice in Indianapolis this Friday and Saturday night.  The Stars hope to continue their winning ways on the road.  Despite losing their last two games at home, the Stars have won their last three games in a row on the road.  The Ice are currently 13-8-1 (27 points), good enough for second place in the USHL East Division.  Meanwhile, the Stars are 8-13 (16 points) and in last place in the USHL West Division.

Even though the Stars recent struggles have them in the cellar, Lincoln is still only 5 points away from fourth place (playoff spot) in the West Division.  Yes, there is hope!  A good winning streak can put the Stars right back in the hunt.  Before that can happen, the Stars must figure out how to play consistent hockey on a regular basis.  One game the Stars play like their hair is on fire, the next game they play like they have cement feet.

I am hoping Stars forward Andrew Ammon is healthy, and back in the lineup this weekend.  Ammon has been out of the lineup due to injury since 10/16/09.  In five games with Lincoln this season, Ammon has 3 goals and 3 assists.  The Stars desperately need his scoring touch and quickness on the ice.  Defenseman Will Rayner was placed on another round of 45 day injured reserve, so it could be well into January or February until we see him back on the Stars blueline.

This will be the second and third times the Stars have faced off against the Ice this season.  In their first matchup on 11/25/09, the Ice squeeked past the Stars at the IceBox by a score of 3-2.  In that tilt, I thought the Stars outplayed the Ice for the majority of the game, but a couple of untimely bounces went Indiana's way, and they escaped the IceBox with a win.  The Ice have a very good record at home (6-1), so the Stars will have their work cut out for them this weekend.  The Stars have more road wins (5) than home wins (3), so they have shown they can outplay good teams in their own barns.  If the Stars can come away from this weekend with two points, I'll be happy.  They do have the talent to win two straight against Indy, but they'll have to play smart, consistent hockey.  We've seen this team beat the best in the USHL.  They are capable.  It would be nice to see the Stars put together a nice winning streak before the X-Mas break.

Important note for both games this weekend: Friday and Saturday night games will start at 6:05pm our time.

I hope to be blogging/chatting live for the Friday night game, but I could be a little late starting it up that night.  It all depends how fast I can get home and get it set up.  I will probably not be able to do the live blog/chat function Saturday night due to outside commitments.

Go Stars.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Snapshot of the Game - Storm at Stars 12/4

 I've been slacking the past few home games with getting the "Snapshot of the Game" back on the blog, so I want to apologize to the readers and to Brandon Anderson (official Stars photographer) for that.  What better game to bring the SotG back than Friday night's Teddy Bear Toss game against the Storm.  Here we see the Stars celebration after Jon Puskar's first period goal, and the ensuing stuffed animal deluge.  Fantastic shot.

You can view more of Brandon Anderson's excellent work here.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

More Facebook goodness

I noticed a few days ago that there is a new Lincoln Stars fan page on Facebook.  I believe this group is run by the Stars organization, so consider it the "official" Stars Facebook fan page.  Related to that, I created our own fan page on Facebook, which is sort of like the group I already created, except this new group is a fan page.  I guess there is a difference between a Facebook "group," and a "fan page."  Confused yet?

Anyway, click here for the new, "official," Lincoln Stars fan page on Facebook.

Click here for the new "Black and Blue" fan page on Facebook.

Click here for a Lincoln Stars fans group on Facebook that has been around awhile.

Click here for a David Reekie group I created a few years ago.   Writing stories for this group gave me the idea of starting this blog. Click on the "Info" tab to check out the Reekie writeups.

Video Time!

Just noticed a couple of new Stars-related videos posted by the USHL on YouTube.  I thought I'd share them for those who haven't seen them yet.

The first video is taken from the Stars 5-4 OT victory against the Youngstown Phantoms on 11/27.  The footage shows Ben Lynch's goal with 12 seconds remaining in the third period to tie the game at 4-4, and also John McCarron's shootout goal to win the game.  The glorious tones of Mike Melbye with the play-by-play.

The second video is taken from the Stars 3-2 victory against the Youngstown Phantoms the following night (11/28).  In this footage, Ben Lynch receives a long pass from Brodie Reid and goes in alone to score on a wicked wrister top shelf.  Mike Melbye again with the call.

Game Recap: Tri-City Storm at Lincoln Stars 12/4

Final Score:  Tri-City 6, Lincoln 2

The Lincoln Stars fell to 0-4 against Tri-City this season as the Storm reeled off four straight goals to pull away and defeat the hometown Stars, 6-2.  The Stars got off to a 1-0 first period lead when Jon Puskar batted the puck past Storm goaltender Carsen Chubak on the powerplay for his third goal of the season.  That lead only lasted three minutes, as Storm defenseman Andrew Panzarella wristed the puck from the Stars blueline past goaltender Matt Green to even the game at 1-1.  With only 11 seconds left in the first period, Storm forward Brett Mohler scored a powerplay goal to give TC a 2-1 lead going into the first intermission.  Dominick Shine opened the scoring in the second period, giving the Stars some life with his fifth goal of the season, his first in his last 13 games.  The Stars penalty kill woes continued a few minutes later as Storm forward Maxwell Tardy scored on the powerplay to give TC a 3-2 lead at the second intermission.  In the third period, it was all Tri-City.  The Storm scored three goals in the third period, one of which was the Storm's third powerplay goal of the game, to seal the victory and give Tri-City a 4-0 record against the Stars this season.  The Storm were 3-for-6 on the powerplay, while Lincoln was 1-for-5 with the man advantage.

With the loss, the Stars are now 8-13 (16 points), and in last place in the USHL West Division.  Only Team USA (.250) has a worst winning percentage than the Stars (.381) right now.  The Stars do not play again until next weekend when they travel to Indiana to take on the Ice on Friday (12/11) and Saturday (12/12) night.

Well, it was pretty obvious to everyone in attendance last night that Tri-City is by far the better team.  No way to sugar-coat this loss.  The Stars could not sustain ANY kind of offensive pressure against the Storm.  It was a shot on goal, maybe two, and then the puck was out of the TC defensive zone.  Credit the Storm for wanting it more, and skating harder than the Stars.  I can't count how many times I watched Storm forwards skate around Stars defensemen last night.  I was really impressed with the overall team speed of the Storm.  They have a number of forwards who can fly.  Matt Green did not have his best game of the year, as he surrendered a couple of long distance blue line wristers that should have been stopped.  In the third period especially, it seemed like the Storm just wanted it more.  I didn't see any sense of urgency from the the Stars in that third period. 

Onward and upward!  This one was frustrating to watch, but we have to continue to support the team through these tough times.  The Stars seem to play better on the road, so I am hopeful they can take two against the Ice next weekend.  The main thing I'd like to see from the Stars is consistency.  One game they are giant killers, the next game they are sleepwalking on the ice.

Go Stars.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pregame Report: Tri-City Storm at Lincoln Stars 12/4

Teddy Bear Toss Edition!

The Lincoln Stars will be looking to win their third staight game this Friday night at the Ice Box when the Tri-City Storm invade the capital city to do battle with the boys in black and blue.  The Stars are a dismal 0-3 against the Storm this season, but despite that record, Lincoln is only two points behind the Storm in the USHL West Division standings.  The Stars are currently 8-12 (16 points), while the Storm sport a 7-8-4 (18 points) record.  After starting off the season 7-1-1, the Storm have been held without a win in their past 10 games.  In fact, the Storm's last win came way back on 11/3, in Kearney, against the Lincoln Stars.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Stars have won three of their last four games, and seem to be playing much better as a team.  The Stars are finally healthy (for the most part), and appear to be improving overall.  The Storm, however, are sinking faster than Mark Mangino in a giant vat of jello.  Despite that, the Storm are still a VERY dangerous team, as the Stars have witnessed three times already.

The big, and recent news this week was the trade of Stars forward Tucker Brockett to the Tri-City Storm.  You can read more about the trade here.  I'm on record stating that I don't like this trade at all, especially considering the Stars traded a first round pick along with Brockett for Storm forward Josh Berge.  Personally, if it was an even up trade, Brockett for Berge, I probably wouldn't have an issue with it.  I understand that Berge has proven himself in the USHL as being a guy who can put up points, but he will be gone after this season.  Brockett on the other hand, will probably play another season for TC after this season, plus the Storm get a first round pick.  I'm not going beat a dead horse, so I will move on.  I wish Brockett the best, and I will not be surprised at all if this trade comes back to bite Lincoln in the ass.

There might be another new face in the lineup Friday night, as defenseman Garrett Clement is rumored to be in town and close to ready to play for the Stars.  Clement was playing for South Kent Academy in Connecticut before coming to Lincoln.  Clement was a teammate for current Stars defenseman Will Rayner at South Kent.

According to Pointstreak, defenseman Steven Hoshaw was traded from the Stars to the the Wichita Falls Wildcats of the NAHL.  With the addition of Garrett Clement, it would make sense for the Stars to release a defenseman already on the roster.  I thought Hoshaw played one of his best games as a member of the Stars a few weeks ago when the Stars beat the Waterloo Blackhawks, 4-1.  Good to luck to Steven in the NAHL.

I'm really excited to see how the Stars play Friday night, as they have a lot riding on this game.  A two game winning streak, only two points behind TC in the standings, new players in the lineup (some going against their former team), and a huge Ice Box crowd.  The Stars defense seem to be coming together nicely as an overall unit, while the special teams, specifically the penalty kill, has improved ten fold.  With the defense gaining experience and confidence, I really hope the offense starts to find their grove and begin burying some pucks behind opposing goaltenders.  This team is due for a big, breakout game.  I hope we see it Friday night.

Faceoff is at 7:05pm.

Remember, the game Friday night is the annual Teddy Bear Toss night to benefit the Lincoln Action Program.  This is always a fun game to be at in person, so make sure you attend.  Drag as many friends and family members to this game, and have everyone bring a new stuffed animal.  Walgreen's will be selling new stuffed animals at the game if you forget to bring your own, or you don't have time to buy one before the game.  It's a great event for a great cause.  Be there.

Go Stars.

Note:  I didn't want this to get buried under the recent news, but I am looking for some help from my readers with designing a new graphics banner for this blog.  You can read all about it here.  Thanks!

Breaking Roster News: Tucker Brockett Traded to Tri-City

Wow. This is just as much of a stunner as the Jimmy Siers/Steve Racine trade. I am sitting here with my jaw on the keyboard.

I was just checking the Pointstreak transaction page, and saw that forward Tucker Brockett was traded to the Tri-City Storm for forward Josh Berge.  According to an article posted on the Tri-City Storm website, the Stars also traded a first round draft pick to the Storm with Brockett for Berge.
Brockett ('90) scored 10 points (4g, 6a) in 20 games with Lincoln this season. In those 20 games, Brockett was -4, with 36 PIM's, and 28 shots on goal.

Berge ('90) scored 12 points (2g, 10a) in 19 games with Tri-City. In those 19 games, Berge was -3, with 16 PIM's, and 52 shots on goal. Berge is no stranger to the Stars, as he completing his third year in the USHL. In three games against Lincoln this season, Berge has 4 points (1g, 3a). Berge was also the captain on the Storm team this season.  Berge has committed to play for Minnesota State-Mankato in the Fall of 2010.

Berge and Brockett are also very similar in size. Berge is 5'9", 160 pounds while Brockett is 5'8", 170 pounds. Josh Berge's older brother Mick Berge is a name that should be familiar with most Stars fans. Mick played three season for the Stars from 2002-2005.

I am really, really sad to see Brockett leave the Stars.  He was by far my favorite new player on the team.  Despite his size, he played like he was 6'4" and 220 pounds.  He was a pint-sized warrior.  I really enjoyed watching him battle non-stop on the ice.  He's a kid with a huge heart, and walnuts as big as church bells.  His drive and effort on the ice will be greatly missed.

Edit: Just noticed this article regarding the trade posted on the official Tri-City Storm website.

KEARNEY, NE – The Tri-City Storm has acquired forward Tucker Brockett and a 2010 first-round draft pick from the Lincoln Stars in exchange for Storm forward and captain Josh Berge.

Storm Head Coach/General Manager Drew Schoneck announced the trade Thursday afternoon.

Brockett, a native of Shaker Heights, Ohio, had four goals and six assists in 20 games this season for the Stars. He is committed to play for Princeton University in the Fall of 2011, which means he will have at least one more season in the USHL.

“Brockett is an energy guy that plays feisty, as well as physical and has a nose for the net,” said Schoneck about the 5-foot-10, 180 pound forward. “He’s a smart player with good vision and can make plays.”

Last season, Brockett played for the Cleveland Barons Midget Major team and had 25 goals and 81 points in 44 games. He was second in the nation in scoring in Tier I - Midget Major Hockey.

Brockett will wear number ‘16’ for the Storm on Friday night against his former team, the Stars.

In addition to acquiring Brockett, the Storm acquired Lincoln’s first-round draft pick for the 2010 USHL Entry Draft, which gives Tri-City two first-round picks.

This season, Berge had 12 points in 19 games for the Storm (7-8-4, 18 pts). However, he only had two goals out of the 12 points.

Schoneck added, “Obviously, when you are in a funk changes have to be made and this will hopefully jump start us going into Christmas and beyond.”

The Black and Blue Blog is looking for your help!

I'm always thinking of new ways to improve this blog, generate more readers, and make it more user friendly.  After all, without your support, I'd probably be talking to myself.  Well, maybe Nate and I would be talking to ourselves.  One thing I've been thinking about the past couple of months is replacing the current blog banner/header with something new and improved.  Basically, it would be a graphics banner that would include the name of this blog, with graphics obviously related to the Lincoln Stars (and maybe even David Reekie). :)

I know there are a lot of folks out there who are computer savvy enough to put together a banner graphic.  As for myself, I'm just not that smart. I don't know the first thing about Photoshop, or any other graphics software.  Sooooo...I thought I'd open this up to my readers and see if there is anyone out there who has the free time, and the smarts to put together a new banner graphic for the Black and Blue blog.

I'm open to anything, really.  I know that the image would have to be at the most 660 pixels wide.  Apart from that, there really aren't any limitations or restrictions.  I'm also open to utilizing more than one header/banner graphic.  If I receive more than one graphic that I really, really like...I'll use both.  Maybe change them up every week, or month.  Or maybe I'll open it up to the readers?  I could pick up to 5 graphic headers and put them to a vote?  There are a number of ways I could handle this.  I'm obviously still in the planning stages, so again...I'm open to anything. I may even throw in a prize for the best graphic...who knows.

If this is something you would be interested in doing, please feel free to send your submission(s) to the email link below.  I will respond to ALL submissions.  If you have any questions about graphical content or ideas, send me an email and I will get back to you. 

Thank you!


Note:  I hope to post a pregame report for the Tri-City game (Teddy Bear Toss!) sometime tonight.  Stay tuned for that.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Game Recap: Lincoln Stars at Youngstown Phantoms 11/29

Final Score:  Lincoln 3, Youngstown 2

Can you say, "two game winning streak"? "Three game road winning streak"? I knew you could.

Defenseman Alec Rush scored his second goal of the season with less than eight minutes remaining in the third period to propel the Lincoln Stars to a 3-2 victory over the Youngstown Phantoms.  As stated before, it was Lincoln's second straight win, and third straight win on the road.  The Stars opened the scoring a little over three minutes into the game, when forward Jon Puskar scored to give Lincoln an early 1-0 lead.  The Phantoms, obviously upset with their effort the night before, scored less than twenty seconds after Puskar's goal to even up the game at 1-1.  Early in the second period, forward Ben "The Youngstown Killer" Lynch scored on a breakaway to give the Stars a 2-1 lead.  Lynch has scored four goals in three games against Youngstown this season.  The Stars entered the third period with a one goal lead, but that quickly disappeared when Youngstown scored just one minute into the third period to bring the Phantoms back in the game, tied at 2-2.  After a back-and-forth third period that only saw one penalty (against the Phantoms), Stars defenseman Alec Rush intercepted a Youngstown pass, skated in to the top of the circle in the Phantoms defensive end, and slapped a shot past Phantoms goaltender Matthew Mahalak to give Lincoln the 3-2 lead.  The Stars held on the final seven minutes of the game to secure their eighth victory of the season.

Goaltender Matt Green continued his good play as of late, as he stopped 22 of 24 shots for his third win of the season, second straight against the Youngstown Phantoms.  It is early, but it appears the Stars may have found their #1 goaltender.  Forward Jonathan Puskar had 1 goal and 1 assist on the night, while forward John McCarron potted 2 assists, and 3 shots on goal.  Brodie Reid assisted on Ben Lynch's breakaway goal in the second period, which was Reid's sixth point in the last three games for Lincoln.  Reid is now the leading scorer on the Stars with 16 points (8g, 8a) in 17 games played.  Defenseman Alec Rush scored the game winning goal and was an impressive +3 on the night.

Another gutsy road win against a quality opponent.  What is really impressive is that the Stars limited the Phantoms to a total of only 44 shots in two games, in their own barn.  That's great team defense, folks.  I think we are seeing this team finally getting comfortable playing with one another, and comfortable with the system Coach McGroarty is utilizing.  Not having 8 players injured helps also.  That young, inexperienced defense that struggled early on in the season are coming together as a unit, which is exciting.  The defense will only get better as the season goes along, so hopefully the scoring picks up a bit also.  Goaltender Matt Green, who mishandled the puck in his own zone, leading to the second Youngstown goal, settled down and shut out the Phantoms the rest of the game.  Green has had some ups and downs so far for the Stars, but I believe he is getting more and more comfortable playing with his teammates, and his confidence is showing.

Also, it was nice to see the Stars stay out of the penalty box for the majority of the game. In fact, the Stars were not whistled for a penalty for the final 35 minutes of the game. Two minors against Lincoln for the entire game...that's it. Credit referee Zachary Blazic for letting the boys play, and letting the players determine who wins the game. Speaking of special teams, the Stars penalty kill unit is playing much better, while the powerplay is doing better also. The PP still needs a little help, but the PK unit has been playing lights-out the past six games. The Stars penalty kill unit as killed 34 of 35 PP opportunities against in the past six games. That's impressive.

Three stars of the game, per Pointstreak:
1ST STAR: Puskar, Jon (LIN)
2ND STAR: Green, Matt (LIN)
3RD STAR: McCarron, John (LIN)

The Stars will take the week off and return to the Ice Box this Friday night to battle the Tri-City Storm. The Storm are winless in 10 straight games, and seem to be reverting to their disastrous season of 2008-'09. With the win Saturday night, the Stars are now only two points behind the Storm in the USHL West Division, and only one point behind the Des Moines Buccaneers. The game Friday night at the Ice Box against the Storm is teddy bear toss night, which is always fun. More on that game later in the week.

Go Stars.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Stars win second straight, and third in a row on the road!

Stars beat Youngstown, 3-2. Game recap to follow tomorrow.

Go Stars.

Live Chat - Lincoln Stars at Youngstown Phantoms 11/28

After four straight losses while using this new chat feature, we were able to break the chat curse last night when the Stars rallied for the big win against the Phantoms.  We had a total of 934 comments posted during the game Friday night, which is a new record for this blog!  The previous record was 905 comments posted during the Lincoln/Waterloo game on 11/7.  We had some new "faces" show up to chat last night, which is always good!  I hope to see even more new faces there tonight when the Stars look to sweep the weekend series against the Youngstown Phantoms.

A brief reminder, the game tonight starts at 6:15pm Central.  We will be chatting live starting at 6pm.  See you all there.

Go Stars.

Game Recap: Lincoln Stars at Youngstown Phantoms 11/28

Final Score: Lincoln 5, Youngstown 4 OT Shootout

Main Entry: gutsy
Pronunciation: \ˈgət-sē\
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): guts·i·er; guts·i·est
Date: circa 1893
1 : marked by courage, pluck, or determination

The Lincoln Stars used a gutsy effort in the third period against the Youngstown Phantoms last night to rally late from a two goal deficit to send the game into overtime, and then beat the hometown Phantoms, 5-4 in overtime shootout. It was Lincoln's second straight road victory. With less than four minutes left in the third period Friday night, the Stars found themselves behind, 4-2 against the Phantoms. The comeback started with Brodie Reid's second goal of the game with less than three minutes remaining to bring Lincoln within one goal at 4-3. Ben "The Youngstown Killer" Lynch scored the game tying goal with only 12 seconds left on the clock to bring the Stars all the way back, and send the game into oooooovertime. Both goals scored by Reid and Lynch came on the powerplay, with Stars goaltender Matt Green pulled to give Lincoln a two-man advantage.  The game went to a shootout after neither team scored in the five minute overtime session. Stars forwards Dominik Shine and John McCarron both scored in the shootout, while goaltender Matt Green stopped four of five shooters to secure the comeback win for Lincoln. Whew! What a game!

Brodie Reid finished the game with two goals, 1 assist, and 6 shots on goal. Defenseman Cory Hibbeler was an apple away from the Gordie Howe hat trick, as Hibbs scored a goal, and got into a fight early in the period while sticking up for David Gerths who received an elbow from a Youngstown player. Coach McGroarty specifically mentioned Hibbs after the game, in regards to how he really like how the players stood up for each other against a very big, physical Phantoms squad.

Great to see the players not quit, and keep fighting to win this hockey game. This team, despite their record, will not quit...and that is admirable. They could have packed it in after being down 4-2, but they played smart hockey, and battled back. They should all be proud of their effort. Youngstown may be an expansion team, but they had been playing very good hockey recently. The Stars are now 2-0 against the Phantoms, with both wins coming in overtime.

The Stars had a new face in the lineup, who I found out later was the mystery player I saw walking around with the scratches this past Wednesday night during the Indiana game. His name is Jeff McMinimy, and he's a '92 forward from Flower Mound, Texas. Jeff was picked by the Stars in the seventh round of the '09 USHL Entry Draft. Before being called up by the Stars, Jeff was playing for the Dallas Stars Midget Major AAA hockey club. In 23 games with the MM Dallas Stars this season, Jeff has 27 points (10g, 17a) and 64 PIM's. McMinimy was in the lineup last night for the Stars against Youngstown, and he was -1 with 2 shots on net. I am not certain if McMinimy is a permanent player on the Stars roster, or if he was just called up for these two weekend road games.

Here are the three stars from last night's game, according to Youngstown:

1ST STAR: McCarron, John (LIN)
2ND STAR: Eibler, Luke (YNG)
3RD STAR: Reid, Brodie (LIN)

The Stars will faceoff against the Phantoms again Saturday night at 6:15pm Central. Some of the folks we had in the chat room last night were watching the Friday night game on B2, and they all agreed that the picture quality was excellent. So if you are thinking of staying at home tonight and watching the Stars on B2, I'd pull the trigger.

We'll be chatting online during the game also, so feel free to drop by and join us! I'll be posting the chat article soon.

Go Stars.

Video Time!

I noticed today that the USHL is putting B2 highlights of certain games on Youtube for people to view. If you have a Youtube account, I would suggest subscribing to the "USHLinteractive" account so that you'll be sent updates as soon as they are posted. I will post videos related to the Stars here on this blog when I see them.

First off is Garrett Peterson's OT winning goal against the Green Bay Gamblers on 11/21/09. Great individual effort by Petey. It's too bad the radio call isn't from Mike Melbye, although it is kind of funny to hear how dejected the GB radio guy is after Petey wins it.

The second video is taken from the night Brodie Reid scored a hat trick at the Ice Box on 11/13/09 against the Des Moines Buccaneers. This time, the audio is from Mike Melbye.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Live Chat - Lincoln Stars at Youngstown Phantoms 11/27

Check back at 6pm to join in the chat.

Go Stars.

According to Pointstreak, faceoff is at 6:15pm central.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Quick roster update - Thanksgiving edition

Much thanks go out to the folks who contacted me with this information.  I always appreciate a "heads up."

It appears the Stars have traded defenseman Daniel Weissenhofer to the Bismark Bobcats of the NAHL.  Weissenhofer played in 14 games with the Stars, and recorded 3 points and 26 PIM's.  Honestly, I thought Daniel played pretty solid the times I saw him in person.  Due to the fact that Coach McGroarty has brought in so many defensemen this year, I think this was a case of Daniel being the odd man out in terms of experience.  He'll get a ton of playing time in the NAHL, and as a '91, he'll be ready for the USHL next season for sure.  Good luck to him.

At the Indiana game last night, I saw a new player walking around with the scratches (Ammon and Hoshaw).  I did not recognize the player at all, so I am clueless who he could be.  If I had to guess, I'd say it could have been Garrett Clement, the defenseman from South Kent Prep School.  I also was informed that Michael Pereira, the highly touted forward also from South Kent Prep School, is no longer listed on the Lincoln Stars roster on Pointstreak.  It is still unknown whether or not Pereira will leave the east coast and play for the Stars. 

I'm hoping to have time tomorrow to do a quick recap of the Indiana/Lincoln game from last night.  Tough loss, considering the Stars played very well, in my opinion.  I thought the Ice had better team speed, but the Stars battled with them all night, and save for a few lucky bounces, they outplayed the Ice for the majority of the game.  Anyway, more on that game later.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Go Stars.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Postgame Report - Lincoln at Green Bay

That's more like it. Finally, the Lincoln Stars got a bounce to go their way. The Stars pulled off a win Saturday night in Green Bay against the number one team in the East right now, the Green Bay Gamblers, 1-0. Garrett Peterson netted the game-winner with 2:29 remaining in overtime.

I did not listen to or view the game last night, so I am not the most qualified person to write a postgame report, but I'll do my best by studying the box score.

The Gamblers put 29 shots on Lincoln's net, but goaltender Matt Green, playing in just his second game as a Star, was up to the challenge, stopping every shot he faced. It marked the first career shutout for Green, and the first since Oct. 3 when the Stars beat Sioux City, 2-0. I mentioned Lincoln got a lucky bounce in this game, and that came on a Gambler breakaway that ricocheted off the post and out. This team has been due for some time to get a break.

Speaking of due, how about Garrett Peterson? He brings energy and hustle to the lineup every night, but has been snake-bit this season with 1 goal on 28 shots coming into Saturday's game. He buried an unassisted goal though in the 4-on-4 overtime session and sent the Stars back to Lincoln on a happy bus ride.

Both teams were 0-for-5 on the power play in the game, which had no fights, no delay of game penalties and no goals through three periods, which is rare for a Stars-Gamblers game.

Like a few other USHL teams, the Gamblers decide to award their 3 Star Selections only to Gambler players. So the Black and Blue Blog will select its own 3 Stars, since the award is actually meant for the top three players on the ice during the game.

3 Star Selection
1. Matt Green, LIN - 29 saves on 29 shots, first career shutout.
2. Garrett Peterson, LIN - game-winning goal with 2:29 left in overtime
3. Ryan McKay, GB - 16 saves on 17 shots

The Stars are still in last place in the West with 12 points, but trail Des Moines and Sioux City by just three points and Fargo and Tri-City (seven losses in a row) by four points. So in a nutshell, a couple good weekends could put the Stars right back in the top four in the West.

The Thanksgiving game is Wednesday against Indiana at the Ice Box. Always a fun one and tickets will sell fast, so hurry and purchase yours now if you haven't! It's always a good time to bring relatives to a game who are coming into town as well!

It's a busy week for the Stars. They got back from Green Bay today, turn around and play on Wednesday, and then leave for Youngstown, Ohio for games against the Phantoms on Friday and Saturday. Youngstown is the longest trip of the season for the Stars at 14 hours.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Postgame Report - Lincoln at Green Bay

The Lincoln Stars lost their fourth straight road game in Green Bay Friday night, as the Gamblers squeaked by the Stars, 3-2.  All five goals scored in this game occurred in the second period.  The Gamblers jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the second stanza, scoring three goals in a three minute span.  The Stars battled back late in the second period when forwards Jon Puskar and Kyle Gibbons each scored to bring Lincoln within one goal.  The Gamblers kept the Stars off the scoresheet in the third period to secure the 3-2 win.  With the loss, the Stars dropped to 5-11 (10 points) and are in last place in the USHL West Division.

I only listened to the game on the radio, so I can't really say how the Stars looked.  I mentioned this during the in-game chat, but it seems like the opposing goals come in bunches against the Stars, which happened in this game.  It sounded like the Gamblers caught the Stars sleeping a bit in the second period, and were able to capitalize on their chances.  Lincoln had plenty of opportunities to even the game up in the third period, but they just couldn't solve Gamblers goaltender Steve Summerhays.  The Stars powerplay woes continued, as Lincoln went 0-for-7 with the man advantage.  On a positive note, the Stars penalty kill unit shutdown Green Bay as the Gamblers went 0-for-8 with the man advantage.  For the game, the Stars out shot the Gamblers 24-22.

The Stars will faceoff against the Gamblers again Saturday night when Lincoln will look for a little revenge, and hopefully a big road win.  I am not sure if I am going to do the live blog/chat again tonight.  We have done the live chat for 4 road games so far, and all have been losses for the Stars.  I'm a pretty superstitious person, so I'm thinking it might be a good time to take a break.  We'll see.  If I do decide to do another in-game chat, check back here at 7pm to join in.

Go Stars.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Live Blog/Chat - Lincoln Stars at Green Bay Gamblers 11/20

I'm happy to say we'll be doing a live blog/chat again tonight for the Stars game against the Green Bay Gamblers. I continue to receive a lot of positive feedback from folks who really enjoy this new feature. We've seen this grow as well every time we've used it. The first time we tested it out against the Sioux Falls Stampede on 10/30, we had 550 comments posted. On 11/3 against the Tri-City Storm, we had 736 comments posted. The last time we used this for the Waterloo game on 11/7, we had 905 comments posted. So we are growing in visitors and comments each week, which is encouraging. I'm glad so many people like it. In the Waterloo game, we actually had Stars fans chatting from as far away as San Diego, California and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. David Reekie's father was nice enough to stop by and chat with us a bit also.

It doesn't look like I'll have time to write up a pregame report for the two weekend games against the Gamblers. If the Stars can get at least 2 points out of the two games, I will be happy. I'm sure the win against Waterloo last Saturday night gave the team a much needed boost of confidence, which hopefully will carry on into this big weekend series against the Gamblers. Faceoff for the game tonight is at 7:05pm.

Check back here at 7pm tonight to join in the conversation.

Go Stars!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jimmy Siers: Class Act

Much has been made about Jimmy Siers' fighting ability, and rightfully so. But for such a tough guy on the ice, Siers seems like a great person off the ice. Not only has Melbye often talked about Siers' 4.0 GPA in high school, but now Siers sent a note to the Journal Star's Brent Wagner for Stars fans to read. Here's what Siers wrote Brent:

"I'd just like to say thank you to all the Stars fans and people from Lincoln, particularly Rod and Connie Schwindt, for supporting me and our team. The players, coaches, staff, and fans in Lincoln have been unbelievable. I had the time of my life while here. Coach McGroarty and his staff are great coaches and truly dedicated to this team and have always done what is best for the Stars. Trades are a part of hockey, my trade being no different. I was upset about leaving Lincoln, but the people and players at Waterloo have also made me feel welcomed. I wish best of luck to all the players and coaches in Lincoln and thanks for such a great experience!"

- Jimmy Siers

Monday, November 16, 2009

Brodie Reid: USHL Offensive Player of the Week

Congrats to Brodie! Great to see him finally break out and have a huge weekend. Reid hasn't had a lot of puck luck go his way so far this season, so it was a just a matter of time before he started finding the back of the net. It was nice to see him wearing the "A" this weekend also, so the coaches must think enough of his leadership abilities to let him wear the "A" temporarily. Reid has proven he can score goals in bunches in the BCHL, so hopefully he'll keep his hot streak going this weekend on the road against Green Bay.

Click here to read the USHL article.

Reid registered five points (4g, 1a) and a plus-four rating as the Lincoln Stars earned a split of two games during the weekend. The 20-year-old forward recorded a hat trick scoring three goals in a span of 11:15 in the third period of Friday’s 8-4 loss to Des Moines. On Saturday, the native of Delta, British Columbia scored the first goal of the game and dished out an assist in the 4-1 win over Waterloo. All four goals scored by Reid were even strength tallies. He is playing in his first USHL season and currently leads the Stars with six goals.

Note: I apologize for the lack of articles this past weekend. I've been extremely busy with stuff, so I haven't had time to sit down and write up any articles. It was great to see the Stars rebound Saturday night with their best, most complete home game so far this season. Props to Jared Coreau for playing a fantastic game against Waterloo. I was really impressed with his play Saturday night, as I thought he looked very calm and collected between the pipes.

I still plan on posting a "Snapshot of the Game" for the two home games this past weekend, so stay tuned for that. I hope to get that done tonight sometime. Again, I apologize for the lack of articles as of late. Work and real life stuff have been keeping me very busy.

Go Stars.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Stars Weekend Preview - Bucs and Blackhawks

The Lincoln Stars will return to the Ice Box this weekend for back-to-back home games against the Des Moines Buccaneers and the Waterloo Blackhawks. The Stars have struggled as of late, having lost four straight games, and seven of their last eight games. A rash of injuries did not help matters at all, but it appears the Stars are slowly on the mend. Brent Tate returned from the 45 day injured reserve list last weekend, while Brodie Reid and Steve West are back in the lineup after being out a few games. However, Jared Hanson, Will Rayner, and Andrew Ammon are still out of the lineup due to injuries. Forwards Garrett Peterson and Kyle Gibbons will both miss the Friday night game against the Bucs due to league suspension, but will return Saturday night against the Blackhawks. The Stars are currently 4-9 (8 points) on the season, two points behind Des Moines in sixth place in the USHL West Division.

As we have seen this past week, the Stars organization were not satisfied with the personnel on the ice, so numerous roster changes have been made. Goaltender Steven Racine and forward Jimmy Siers were traded to the Waterloo Blackhawks for draft picks. Jonathan Puskar was acquired from the BCHL, while goaltender Matt Green was also acquired from the BCHL to replace Racine. Defenseman Alec Rush was acquired from the Sioux Falls Stampede to help solidify the Lincoln blueline. Lincoln also hired a new assistant coach by the name of Jon Bellonio, who was an old college teammate of current assistant coach Nick Fouts. Bellonio was formerly the assistant coach at South Kent Prep School in Connecticut, where defenseman Will Rayner played last season. It was reported this week that the Stars put two players on their protected list that used to play at South Kent, forward Michael Pereira and defenseman Garrett Clement. If both players report to Lincoln, it will probably be after Thanksgiving.

Despite the recent losing streak and bad play, I really believe that the Stars can beat both of these teams this weekend. Des Moines is an offensive heavy squad, but lack defensive and goaltending depth. It is imperative that the Stars come out strong and physical in both games. As fragile as the team mindset is right now, they can't afford to fall behind at home to these two teams. Surprisingly, the penalty kill this season has been below average, so it has to be stressed that the players play smart out there. There's nothing wrong with playing physical hockey, but you have to eliminate the stupid, retaliatory penalties if you expect to win.

I really, really hope we see a good crowd turnout this weekend. Those players out there need our support right now, so drag anyone you can think of to these two games this weekend. Yell your ass off. Show the players we still have their back, no matter what.

Faceoff for both games this weekend is 7:05pm.

Go Stars.

Note: A reminder, the UNL women’s and men’s basketball teams will be playing this weekend at the Devaney Center. Friday night at 7pm the women’s team will be playing, while the men will be playing Saturday night at the same time. Traffic and parking won't be too bad Friday night, but it could get nasty Saturday night. Plan accordingly.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Roster update mania

Brent Wagner of the Lincoln Journal Star has posted some very good info this morning about some of the recent roster changes made by the Stars. You can read his blog article here. Brent states:

--Lincoln has added forward Michael Pereria to the roster, but he hasn’t committed to coming to Lincoln just yet. He is a top player at South Kent, a prep school in Connecticut. He’s committed to UMass. The head coach at South Kent is reported to have been fired, and Pereria may be looking to make a move. More on South Kent later. Pereria is supposed to be a high-skilled guy with speed. Again, he’s on the roster so if he wants to come to the USHL Lincoln has his rights.

--Another South Kent guy, defensemen Garrett Clement has been added to the roster. I guess the college guys like him, as well. He’s not committed to Lincoln yet either, but it sounds more promising. If/when Pereria and Clement decide they want to be a Star, it likely won’t happen until after Thanksgiving (which is coming quick, I guess.)

--One guy for sure is coming from South Kent School. It’s Jon Bellonio, and he’ll join Nick Fouts as an assistant coach for the rest of the year. He was on the staff at South Kent, and played with Fouts in New England. He was expected to arrive in town Wednesday night. With a young team, coach wants some more help. He probably hopes that helps get Clement and Pereria, too.

--There is a goalie coach in town this week helping out. It’s not uncommon in the USHL to have a guy who knows goalies to stop in for a brief time. A lot of coaches will admit they don’t always know what to tell goalies.

--After trading backup goalie Steve Racine to Waterloo last week, the Stars have added goalie Matt Green. He’s from Buffalo, New York and had pretty good numbers in the British Columbia League this year (think the Anthony Borelli story). He was at the Stars tryout camp this summer, but didn’t have a great camp. Coach is glad to have him now, and is hoping for a good competition between Green and Jared Coreau. Green was a good goalie in midgets playing with Brent Tate and John McCarron.

--Jared Hanson, Will Rayner and Andrew Ammon will still be out with injuries this weekend, but that should be it. There are no fill-in players expected this weekend.

--Kyle Gibbons and Garrett Peterson are still on league suspension for Friday, but will play Saturday.

--With adding Green, Clement and Pereria the roster spots are full for now. “We added some players that are going to help us down the stretch,” McGroarty says.

I really like the fact that the Stars organization is being proactice by hiring an another full-time assistant coach, as well as bringing in a goaltender coach part-time. Doing that can only help this team.

Garrett Clement was someone I had heard about a few weeks ago, possibly coming to the Stars. Both Clement and Mike Pereira both played with Stars defenseman Will Rayner at South Kent Prep Schol. Hopefully both players report to Lincoln after Thanksgiving. Interesting that Brent states that Jared Hanson is still on the team, even though he is not listed on the Stars Pointstreak roster.

Edit: Boy, things are really changing with this team. I almost can't keep up with all these roster updates. I just noticed another new name on the Pointstreak roster page for the Stars. His name is Alec Rush ('90), who is a defenseman from Sioux Falls. Rush played 9 games for the Stampede this season, and played 46 games for the Tri-City Storm last season. He is 6'1" 205 pounds, and hails from Eden Prarie, MN. Stars forward Patrick George is x'ed out on the roster page, so I am assuming he has been released. However, you never know what to trust on the absense of George and Jared Hanson could be a mistake. If any of my readers has more specific information to share in regards to this, please feel free to comment.

Go Stars.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New goaltender: Matt Green

Thanks go out to a friend who was nice enough to send me this info. We all knew this was going to happen this week...and here it is. The Lincoln Stars have acquired goaltender Matt Green from the BCHL. Matt ('90) played in 10 games for the Langley Chiefs, and posted a 4-3-1 record with a 2.67 goals against average and a .917 save percentage. He's 6'1" 175 pounds from Buffalo, NY. Sound familiar? A very similar background to former Stars goaltender Anthony Borelli, who was also from the Buffalo area, and played in the BCHL before being acquired by the Stars.

Matt was a someone the Stars coaches were familiar with, as he participated at the Lincoln Stars tryout camp this past June, which were held in Omaha. He played on the red team, and made it to the camp all-star game as well.

I don't know much more about Green other than what I found on the BCHL website, and what I remember of him at camp. If any of my readers know anything more, please leave a comment below. Thanks.

Go Stars.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Congrats to David Gerths!

Lost in all the Lincoln Stars gloom and doom this past weekend, Stars forward David Gerths helped the Team USA Junior Select Team win the gold medal at the World Junior A Challenge in P.E.I. Canada. This was the second straight year that David has helped Team USA win the gold medal. This past Sunday afternoon, Team USA defeated Canada West by a score of 2-1 to clinch the championship. David (who was captain of the team) assisted on the first Team USA goal in that game.

Congrats to David on winning his second gold medal!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Live Blog/Chat - Stars at Blackhawks 11/7

I decided to give this another shot this weekend, but I will be late starting this up. The game starts at 7:05pm, but I will not be able to make it to a computer until later. I hope to start the chat up around the first intermission. I know the Huskers are playing Okalahoma at the same time tonight, so I don't expect the great turnout we had for the Tri-City game this past Tuesday. I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from folks who really like this new feature, so we'll be doing it throughout the season for most, if not all, away games.

So if you are around tonight, and want to chat with other Lincoln fans during the game, stop by around the first intermission...and I should have things going.

Go Stars.

Pregame Report - Lincoln at Waterloo 11/7

The Lincoln Stars will look to snap their three game losing streak, as the Black and Blue travel to Waterloo, Iowa to take on the Blackhawks. The Stars have struggled mightily as of late, having lost six out of their last seven games. Like the Stars, Waterloo have not played well at all this season. These two teams are used to being on top of their respective divisions, but recently both squads have been very inconsistent. The Blackhawks have given up 49 goals in 9 games this season, which is tops in the USHL. Whether it is goaltending or team defense, the Blackhawks have had issues keeping the puck out of the net. Like Waterloo, the Stars have been plagued with injuries, sickness, and inconsistent play. Two teams who are trying to find a spark to get things rolling again. Two teams that are not used to being at the bottom of the pile, looking up. The Stars are currently 4-8 (8 points) on the season, good enough for sixth place in the USHL West Division. The Blackhawks are 2-7 (4 points) on the season, and are in sixth place in the USHL East Division.

The big news this past week was the trade of Jimmy Siers and Steven Racine to the Waterloo Blackhawks. Both players will get a lot more ice time in Waterloo, so I think it's a good deal all around for both teams. Both Siers and Racine were in the lineup for Waterloo last night on the road against the Lancers, so I'd expect both to be in the lineup tonight against the Stars. In fact, I'd be very surprised if Racine isn't starting tonight, as I'm sure the Waterloo coaches hope he'll want some revenge against his former team. We'll have to wait and see if Siers tries to challenge anyone on the Stars roster, and if so...which player from Lincoln will step up to take him on.

In terms of the Stars roster, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that forward Brent Tate has been taken off the 45 day injured reserve list, and will be playing tonight. Also, forward Brodie Reid and defenseman Steve West will return to the lineup as well, after missing games with injuries. The bad news is that forwards Garrett Peterson and Kyle Gibbons will miss the next two games due to suspension, for their participation in a line brawl against Tri-City on 11/3 late in the game.

I'm optimistic that the players will come out strong in this game, and get back on track. I'm not guaranteeing a win, but I think the Stars will have a lot to prove tonight after losing a very close game against Tri-City this past Tuesday. The Stars dominated the third period against TC in that game, but just couldn't put the biscuit in the basket to tie the game. The Stars battled shorthanded due to the injries, and outplayed a healthy TC team for the most part. Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye stated after the game that the Stars played their hearts out, and that they should be very proud of their effort. Something to build on. Baby steps. Keep the faith.

Go Stars.

Faceoff is at 7:05pm.

Note: I just noticed on the Pointstreak pregame notes link that the backup goaltender tonight for Lincoln will be Kyle Shemek, who is on the Jr. Stars team. Until Coach McGroarty officially fills the backup position, I assume that they will use goaltenders from the Jr. Stars to backup Jared Coreau.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Siers and Racine traded to Waterloo; Puskar returns

Wow. Talk about a stunner.

Thanks to an anonymous post, I checked the Pointstreak transactions page and discovered that forward Jimmy Siers, and goaltender Steven Racine have been traded to Waterloo. No word yet on who is coming to Lincoln in return, although I would have to assume that one of the two Waterloo goaltenders (C.J. Motte and Dayn Belfour) could be coming to the Stars, since Racine was sent to the Blackhawks. Both Motte and Belfour have terrible numbers on the season, so I will be a bit puzzled if one of those two ends up on the Stars. Dayn Belfour is the son of longtime NHL goaltender Ed Belfour. I wouldn't be surprised if two or even three Waterloo players end up on Lincoln's roster after this trade has been made public.

Edit: Our good friend Brent Wagner of the Lincoln Journal Star has posted an update in regards to the roster movement today. Click here to read the article.

In summary: No players will be coming to Lincoln in this trade, only draft picks. Jon Puskar ('89) will be returning from the BCHL to play for Lincoln. Puskar was traded to the NAHL last season, and then attempted to join the Stars during the offseason. He was cut after the tryouts this past June. Puskar was playing with Burnaby in the BCHL this season, and accumulated 24 points in 20 games. Affiliate forward Ryan Dzingel will be joining the team full-time very soon.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Live Blog: Lincoln Stars at Tri-City Storm 11/3

This new comment/chat feature worked really well last week for the Sioux Falls game, so I decided to give it another shot. For the game against the Stampede, we recorded over 550 individual messages during the game!

With this chat feature, our comments will stream live during the game like an instant message. No more checking for new comments, or hiting refresh a million times, it all happens live on this page. You won't need to sign up for anything, or even provide your email address to comment. Just type in a name, and post your comment.

Hope to see even more fans here than we had last week. I'll open up the comments at 7:00pm.

Go Stars.

Edit: I might be a little late starting this tonight, so if it is not up and running at patient. I'll start it up as soon as I can. Thanks.