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.


Anonymous said...

Hey Stars fans!! this is Teej, commenting all the way from the Windy City. Pumped for the 2 road games here, so be on the look out for a few Stars Jerseys in the stands if you will be watching the game on B2.

Yeti said...

Represent us well, Teej! Have fun in Chicago over NYE.