Friday, March 6, 2009

Pregame Report - Waterloo @ Lincoln 3/6

The Ice Box in Lincoln will be the scene tonight as the Waterloo Blackhawks come to town to do battle with the Lincoln Stars. The Stars are in first place in the USHL West Division, with a record of 30-14-3. Waterloo is in fourth place in the USHL East division, with a record of 27-27-3. Both teams have played each other three times, with the 'Hawks winning two games at home in Waterloo, and the Stars winning the other game in Lincoln.

The 'Hawks are coming off an embarrassing game last Saturday night against the Green Bay Gamblers in which they were destroyed by a score of 11-0. Because of that, and because of the history behind these two teams, I expect a very physical game tonight. I would not be surprised if we saw a fight at the drop of the puck in the first period. I'm sure Waterloo's head coach PK O'Handley has worked his team very hard this past week in practice in preparation for this game. They know they have the reputation for being a soft road team, so I expect them to come out swinging.

If any team in the East Division can be considered a "rival" to the Stars, it's the Blackhawks. To put it simple, both teams just plain don't like each other. In the three games these two teams have played against each other this season, they have racked up a total of 380 penalty minutes. That's just nuts. Lincoln seems to play better at home when they are playing the physical game, so again...I expect another 100+ penalty minute filled game. Make sure you pay attention during the pre-game skate, as I wouldn't be surprised to see players from each side talk to each other beforehand and pick their "dance" partners.

I have no clue at all who will be starting between the pipes tonight for the Stars. Borelli seems to be getting more of the load recently, but I think the coaches would like to get Murdock back in the swing of things. I'll predict that Doc will start tonight, but who knows. Waterloo's main netminder, Joe Howe, has been playing relatively poopy as of late, so I expect Parker Milner to start for the Fightin' Cowbells. Howe was on the receiving end of the 8-3 loss in Lincoln back on 2/17.

As I've stated in a previous article, I think it's very important the Stars start this three game homestand on a positive note. Start fast, start strong, and let 'em know your there. Waterloo does have a very good power play, so the Stars will have to make sure if they are shorthanded during the first part of the game, they kill the penalties quickly and efficiently. I don't expect a "gongshow" (link has naughty language) per say, but I do think it could get crazy at times. Regardless, it should be a beautiful Friday evening at the Ice Box...let's have some fun with over 4,000 of our closest, inebriated friends! GO STARS!!

Faceoff is at 7:05pm.

Notes: There will be girls state basketball (boooooring) games going on at the Devaney Center tonight, so if you value a decent parking spot...you'll show up early. People watch basketball? Meh.

Also, the Stars organization will be hosting a "Care Packages for Soldiers Collection Drive" tonight at the Ice Box. Fans are being asked to bring in items for our soldiers overseas. These items would include: prepaid phone cards, commercially wrapped individual packets of trail mix, beef jerky, nuts, energy bars, sunflower seeds, candy, gum, Girl Scout cookies, packets of powdered hot and cold beverages, commercially sealed lip balm, toothpaste, toothbrushes, roll-on deodorant, and travel size board games. Bring some good stuff and support our troops!!

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