Friday, April 10, 2009

Playoff Preview - Sioux Falls vs. Lincoln

This will be the second year in a row that the Stars and 'Pede faceoff against each other in the first round of the USHL Clark Cup Playoffs. In 2006, the 'Pede swept the Stars, 4-0, and went on to win the Clark Cup. In 2007, the Stars returned the favor and swept the Stampede, 3-0.

The regular season series between these two teams was won by Lincoln, 4 games to 3. In those seven games, each team scored a total of 19 goals. Lincoln goaltenders Anthony Borelli and Kevin Murdock both had two wins against the 'Pede in the regular season, while SF goaltender Eric Harztell started every game against the Stars and finished with a 3-4 record.

For some reason, this series scares the crap out of me. Sioux Falls has shown this season that they can play outstanding hockey if they want to. Their 5-1 beatdown of the Stars at the Ice Box on 10/16/08 was one of the ugliest games I've seen the Stars play. The 'Pede completely dominated the Stars that night. Eric Hartzell, when he's not throwing temper tantrums, can take over a hockey game single-handedly. Being that this game is in Lincoln and it's Game One, I expect the Stars to come out with tons of emotion. What's important is that the emotion translate into scoring opportunities, not dumb penalties. If the 'Pede can get a quick PP goal, and take the crowd out of the game, this could be a loooong series.

It doesn't look like I will be attending the game tonight due to this cold I've been fighting for the past week, so I would appreciate any reports from those who were there. I was really hoping to post more articles here this week, but I haven't been this sick in a long time. I'll be listening at home tonight. Be loud! Go STARS!

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