Saturday, November 7, 2009

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.

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