Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pregame Report - Chicago at Lincoln 10/23

The Lincoln Stars return to the comfy confines of the Ice Box this Friday night, where they will faceoff against the high-powered offense of the Chicago Steel. This will be the first time these two teams have played each other this season. The Stars are coming off a disappointing Tuesday night loss against the Tri-City Storm in Kearney. The Stars are currently 3-3 (6 points) on the season, good enough for fifth place in the USHL West Division. The Steel were on the road last night (Thu) against the Omaha Lancers, a game in which they lost, 5-1. With that loss against the Lancers, the Steel are currently 4-2 (8 points), good enough for second place in the USHL East Division.

I’m not sure what it is about Chicago, but it seems like they always give Lincoln a good fight, regardless of how good or bad their teams are. The Steel have one of the top offenses in the USHL, although those offensive stats have been padded a bit with two blowout wins against the U-17 Team USA squad. Leading the Steel on offense are forwards Sahir Gill, Andrei Kuchin, Greg Wolfe, and Mark Anthoine. Those four players have combined for 12 goals and 23 assists in only six games played. Greg Wolfe is one of those players who ALWAYS seems to play his best against the Stars. In four games against Lincoln last season, Wolfe scored five goals. Racking up the majority of minutes in net for the Steel has been goaltender Nick Pisellini. Pisellini is a name some Lincoln fans should be familiar with. Although he has calmed down quite a bit, Nick has a reputation for being a bit of a hot-head. I remember one particular game two seasons ago in Lincoln when Pisellini tried numerous times to goad Stars goaltender David Reekie into a fight. Pisellini is currently 4-1 on the young season, with a 3.00 goals against average, and a .898 save percentage. Pisellini was between the pipes for Chicago in the loss to Omaha last night, so there is a good possibility the Steel will counter with goaltender Connor Wilson against the Stars tonight. However, if I were a betting man, I'd put money on the Steel starting Pisellini...only because Wilson has only played one USHL game. I doubt the Chicago coaches want to throw Wilson to the wolves at the Ice Box in just his second USHL game.

Considering how well he played in relief of Jared Coreau in Lincoln’s blowout loss to Tri-City this past Tuesday night, I expect goaltender Steven Racine to start in net for the Stars. I’m really hoping that by Friday night, some of players recently hit with the injury bug will be healthy. Brent Tate, Jared Hanson, Andrew O’Leary, Will Rayner, and Andrew Ammon all sat out Tuesday night against the Storm. Rayner and Tate are on the 45-day injured list, so those two will be out of the lineup for some time. I believe the Stars will really want to come out strong in this game, especially after being embarrassed on the road against Tri-City. The Steel love to play up-tempo hockey, so Lincoln will have to be cognizant of playing smart, mistake-free hockey early on. Give the Steel a number of early powerplay opportunities, and it could be a long night for the Stars.

Faceoff is at 7:05pm.

Go Stars.

Note: I forgot to mention this a few days ago, but Stars forward David Gerths was recently named to the 2009 U.S. Junior Select Team that will compete at the World Junior A Challenge, November 1-8 in Summerside, P.E.I. This will be the second straight year Gerths has been selected to play for the Team USA Junior Select Team. Last year, Gerths helped the select team win the gold medal. Congrats to David!

Edit: I heard through the grapevine that the Stars had a 1 1/2 hour practice late Tuesday night at the Ice Box after they returned from the game in Kearney. Me thinks Coach McGroarty wasn't too happy about the loss to the Storm. It should be interesting to see how the Stars respond Friday night against Chicago.


Travis said...

Great post. Agree that I hope to see Racine get a start and see what he can do for an entire 60 minutes. We have got to stay out of the penalty box tonight or this could be ugly. Time to start off the weekend with a bang. Go Stars

Anonymous said...

Bret Chartier was listed as a healthy scratch and you didn't list him. There where rumors on this blog during the Tricity game that he was gone or going to be traded???? Can you find out what is up with him?

Anonymous said...

Not to detract from Chicago's offensive output and results at this point; however, I think it is worth pointing out that they did play the USA U17 team when it was under manned due to injuries/suspensions which resulted in players putting up some nice numbers in that game.

I hope it's a good weekend for the team. They have the talent and competitiveness to hang with any team in the league; however, you are not going to beat any of these teams if you play undisciplined and are on the shorter end of the stick penalty wise. Players are not able to get in the flow of the game and fatique (mental and physical) will become an issue, especially playing three games in a row.

Yeti said...

First Anonymous,

I do not know what is going on with Chartier. There some rumors floating around that he is not on the team any more. I do not know anything more than that. I listed him as a healthy scratch for the Tri-City game because that is what radio announcer Mike Melbye said on the air. I wish I had more info, but I don't. I hope that helps.

Second Anonymous,

I did mention in my article that Chicago's offensive stats have been padded from playing the U-17 Team USA squad twice. I was unaware that the U-17 team were missing players in those games. There's a BIG difference in talent between the two Team USA squads (U-17's and U-18's). The U-18 squad have been playing mostly collegiate teams, and they actually beat Bowling Green University 7-2 last weekend. That same U-18 team did lose to Sioux City 2-1 the next night (10/17), despite out-shooting the Muskies 41-17. Meanwhile, the U-17 team have been blown out in just about every game they've played against USHL competition. Huge disparity in talent between the two USA teams.

Anonymous said...

Mr Ricochet (Steel fan) here...... Somethings for you Stars fans to watch for from the Steel.

They play the same up tempo style, with the Dmen dive bombing into the play. They can be beaten on up the middle breakout passes, and it wouldn't surprise me to see a couple Stars breakaways. They aren't real physical, or have any real fighters, but Dman Kevin Lind is a horse. Little Alex Carpenter is the most physical of the bunch, and his 3rd line is sometimes the most dangerous.

Gill leads the team in points and was at or near the top in points last year in the BCHL. Chelios improves every game. You all remember Camper who came over in the Alexander trade last year.. Krushelnyski IMO will lead the team in points this year. Silky kid... Kuchin is a Cossack who was very highly rated and came from the Ice. Lotta skill there....

Pisilelinni is money down low. Kid has improved a bunch, but throw enough rubber at him and he'll have some lapses. Dman Adams is an NHL 2009 5th round Sabre's pick. DiPauli was a Futures pick and made the roster at 16 years old. In 2 years the kid will be a Theo Fluery.

Pretty much a Poapst coached club. Finesse, speed, puck moving dive bombing Dmen who get drafted.

Good luck and hopefully you guys get to see a good game!!!

Yeti said...

Thanks for the quick scouting report, Rico! Much appreciated. Should be an exciting game at the Ice Box tonight. Whenever the Steel come to town, the games are usually very frenetic.

Anonymous said...

Wow if that is the team that shows up tonight at the ice box we will be in for a ride.
Wonder what team showed up in Omaha?

I hope to see that type of reporting for the Stars players, very educated Steel Fan.

nopuckluck said...

Get there early tonight, drove through the fair grounds today and they have the parking lot in front of the food court roped off for something going on in one of the ag buildings. Just a heads up.

Yeti said...


Good to know. Thanks for the heads up.

James said...

Well some classy person snaped my Stars flags off my Jeep at tonights game. Pretty lame I know.

Yeti said...

Stars lose 7-5 at home to the Steel. Another ugly game for Lincoln. I'll write up a postgame report sometime tomorrow. Just don't feel like taking the time to do it now. Ugly, ugly game.

Every other USHL West division team won tonight. Stars continue to drop in the standings.


tzweeb said...

the loss must be my fault.
i gave away my tickets for the second home game in a row so i could watch the east high football team get smashed again. it was the last game of the year for east and my daughter is in the band. really i had to go watch her play.
so after tonight we should get the hockey fix back where it belongs.
saturday night lets hope we can get the stars back in a winning way.
just like with any sport, and especially high school age kids, you have to show up to play each game and not just be there.
im sure we think the stars should win all the time, but as i have said many times before...
any team can lose any game if they dont show up and play as a team.

sorry about your flags james, but i doubt there were too many steel fans at the game...hmmm?

Starstruck said...

Chartier was not announced with the scratches and he was not in the game - so unfortunately rumors must be true. Another tough game & not a good start for a 3 game weekend. Coach said in postgame comments, young team, lack of experience causing mistakes. I hope they are able to get on track soon!

Yeti said...

Losing Newton, Sdao, Dalzy, and Henry is really starting to show. I don't think people realize how important those four defensemen were. Like Starstruck mentioned, McGroarty stated the inexperience (especially on D) is front and center right now for everyone to see.

It's early. There's plenty of talent on the ice. It's just going to take some time. Gotta be patient.

Yeti said...

Yes, it appears the rumors of Chartier leaving are indeed true. Still not sure if the Stars will be able to trade him, or not. He may have just quit hockey altogether.

Just heard that Ryan Dzingel (Stars affiliate player) will be in the lineup for Lincoln tomorrow night against the Bucs.

tzweeb said...

just checked pointstreak and there is no trade yet for chartier.
also dont forget the game on sunday is a 4:05 start.
see you all here sat night. lets hope we dont just overlook des moines as an easy win.

could we call those guys the 4 horsemen??
newton, sdao, dalzy and henry?

Anonymous said...

Our D group is not very intimidating this year. Baumbick is the tallest one and he's at FWD right now because the others are all better at D. We got Bruneteau, Hibbeler, Lauwers, West, Weissenhofer, Hoshaw and Rayner (inj.) They've got some meat, but they don't use it. None of these guys have made a bone-crushing hit that I've seen yet. Even worse, they let someone get behind them every game so far. Pretty sub-par performance right now but it's a long season.

Anonymous said...

So is anyone making the trip to Des Moines?

Anonymous said...

Even though this game did not have the final result we hoped for, and we may have more of these types of games than less this year, I really enjoy watching this team compete. It would be fun to see how they do when they aren't always playing from behind (especially so early in a game)and if that same level of competitiveness is there; however, at this point in time, they certainly keep it interesting and you never feel they are out of a game. Pretty tough to win games when you are giving up 5 plus goals a game (duh) but the fact you can also score that much with a balanced attack is encouraging. I am maybe less convinced that we will make big strides in the defense area as I'm not sure the overall talent is there, but there's certainly room for improvement and hopefully the players will continue to learn and get better. I hope this team doesn't lose its heart because they are not getting rewarded for their efforts in the win column as I think that could be this team's strongest asset. Keep up the hard work guys - the wins will come.

Justin said...

As much as the blame can be spread around for last nights game, I thought the defensemen were a bright spot. I didn't see one defensemen pinch at all which is a promising sign because earlier in the year the D pinched like crazy. Now that we've got that covered, I think the defensemen can play tighter without getting way out of position. Goaltending was definitely an issue last night also. I'd say at least 3 out of the 6 were the goaltenders fault and breakaways/shootouts are something he really needs to work on. And with the 5 goals at least the forwards showed they could score. I think if we can get Coreau in there, get some solid forward lines, we could easily become a high scoring team.

Also, with how terrible the powerplay has been in years past, I did see an encouraging sign. Coach was setting up our powerplay as a triangle with someone in front of the net instead of behind it. If we can get some shots from the point and get deflections or some rebounds, we have the opportunity to score more than usual on the PP by getting into the dirty areas.