Saturday, January 30, 2010

1/30 Recap: Fargo 2, Lincoln 1

New day, new opponent, same result. For the third straight game, the Lincoln Stars suffered a heartbreaking defeat at the Ice Box. This time, the Fargo Force scored a power-play goal with 45 seconds remaining to steal a 2-1 win in a very chippy game.

Fargo went ahead late in the first period on a goal by Chase Grant. The action really picked up in the second period though. Garrett Peterson and John Stampohar were ejected 4:25 in for fighting (stoppage) penalties. Thirty-two seconds later, Lincoln tied the game on a goal by Tyler Deresky, his first as a Lincoln Star. Then, 22 seconds after that, the Ice Box got heated again, as Nate Baumbick dropped the gloves with Fargo's Nate Schmidt and Jon Puskar took on Nicholas Romanick at the same time. Puskar and Romanick received game misconducts.

After that mess, the goalies dominated the game until the final minute. With Fargo on a power play because of an Andrew Ammon holding penalty, Brian Cooper notched the gamewinner, sending the crowd of 4,356 into yet another agonizing groan late in the game. The Stars lost in a shootout last night and were defeated by Sioux Falls in overtime last weekend. Lincoln outshot the Force 33-30, and Jared Coreau was stellar again, saving 28 shots on 30 saves. In his last three games, Coreau has a .947 save percentage, which is more than you can ask for from your goalie. Sadly, the Stars have lost all three games.

Don't know what else to say Stars fans. How much more painful can it get? The Stars have gone right down to the wire with three of the top-five USHL teams in the past three games, and can't seem to get over the hump and win one. Things have got to get better. Right?

***Note: Check out the this cool feature called "Game Live." It looks like they did a trial run for the Chicago/Indiana game on Jan. 30, and it looks like a really cool feature. It's basically a game-tracker. Up-to-the second shots, penalties, stats, etc. Very well done too. Check it out. It will change the way we watch box scores as we know it!!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

1/29 Recap: Cedar Rapids 3, Lincoln 2, Shootout.

Cedar Rapids defeated Lincoln 3-2 in a shootout Friday night on Boy Scout night at the Ice Box. For the Stars, it was their fourth straight shootout loss. Jared Coreau was solid in net for the second straight game, making 32 saves on 34 shots.

Lincoln led 1-0 at the end of the second, thanks to an Andrew Ammon goal at the 5:15 mark. In the third, Cedar Rapids scored just 30 seconds in to tie the game, but Ryan Dzingel answered with a shot from the circle to put the Stars back up 2-1. Sam Warning tied the game at 7:56, then added the first goal in the shootout.

Coreau did well in the shootout, saving three of the Rough Riders' five shots, but as has been the story all season, Lincoln had trouble putting the puck in the net. Rough Riders' goalie Troy Grosenick saved all four Lincoln attempts. The Stars are 4-for-their last 18 in shootout attempts. Not going to win many shootouts at that rate, no matter how hot your goaltender is.

Although the Stars have dropped back-to-back games at home in extra time, this marks the first time in a month the Stars have earned points in consecutive games. (Ironically the last time they did was back-to-back extra-time losses).

Well, Steve Johnson is back in the house with his Fargo Force team on Saturday night. As Melbye said on the post-game show, Fargo is a team that really struggles to score. They are second in the league with 148 goals and only lit the board 9 times on Friday against Tri-City (including 8 different scorers). Needless to say, the Stars will have their hands full. It will be an odd sight to see Coach Johnson on the opponent's bench.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Weekend Preview - Cedar Rapids and Fargo

The Lincoln Stars return to the IceBox this weekend where they will host the Cedar Rapids Roughriders on Friday night, and the Fargo Force on Saturday night.  The Stars are coming off two home games last weekend in which they were outscored 8-0.  Lincoln has a record of 11-21-4 (26 points), and are in last place in the USHL West Division.  The Stars are 4-10-1 at home this season, yet they lead the USHL in average attendance (4,183 per game).

First up for the Stars are the Cedar Rapids Roughriders.  The 'Riders are currently 21-15-2 (44 points), and are in second place in the USHL East Division.  Cedar Rapids sport a 11-7-1 road record, and have beaten the Stars at the IceBox already once this season, a 3-2 victory on 1/9.  This will be the third time these two teams have faced each other.  Back on 10/25/09, the Stars beat the Roughriders in Cedar Rapids by a score of 3-1.  The Roughriders play a very disciplined, up-tempo game.  They rely on a number of small, speedy forwards and top-notch goaltending to win games.  The 'Riders roster recently received a shot in the arm when forward David Boehm left the University of Massachusetts after one and a half seasons to come back to Cedar Rapids and play one more season in the USHL.  In just two games with Cedar Rapids, Boehm has recorded 2 goals and 3 assists.  Goaltender Troy Grosenick is one of the top goaltender in the league, so I would expect him to start against the Stars Friday night.

The Fargo Force and former Stars head coach Steve Johnson will invade the IceBox Saturday night.  This will be the second time these two teams have faced each other this season, but it will be the first time Steve Johnson will coach at the IceBox since retiring from the Stars in May of 2007.  The Force have quietly moved up the standings and should be considered one of the hottest teams in the USHL right now.  Fargo currently has a record of 24-9-3 (51 points) and are in second place in the USHL West Division.  Steve Johnson has his team playing extremely well right now, and they have proven they can win away from their own barn with a 12-5-1 road record.  The Force are a very deep scoring scoring team, with a total of six players who have 25 points or more this season.  Conversely, the Stars only have one player (Brodie Reid) who has 25 or more points scored this season.

The schedule certainly isn't getting any easier for the Stars.  CR and Fargo are two very good teams.  In terms of styles, Cedar Rapids and Fargo follow two different paths.  CR is one of the least penalized teams in the league, while the Force are one of top penalized teams in the league.  Each of these two teams find a way to win games, despite the amount of penalties they don't or do commit.  Both teams can also put up goals in bunches, so they do have that in common.  I thought the Stars outplayed the Roughriders the last time they played on 1/9, but Lincoln could not overcome a couple of costly mistakes which led to the loss.  Lincoln will hopefully get out of their goal-scoring drought this weekend, but they will have to do it without one of their top scorers.  Stars forward Josh Berge is rumored to have injured his knee in the game against Sioux Falls last Saturday night, and will miss up to 8 weeks.  Forward Brent Tate will also be out out of the lineup due to a pelvis injury.  However, defenseman Garrett Clement should be back in the lineup this weekend after missing the last month with a hand injury. 

Should be two very exciting games this weekend at the IceBox.  Despite the recent home losses, I hope the fans show up for these two games and show the players that we still have their back.  Win or lose, we will always support the players on the ice.

Go Stars.

What say you, loyal Stars fan?

Update:  Per Pointstreak, Stars forward Jarrod Mermis has been placed on the 45 day injured reserve list, while defenseman Garrett Clement has been removed from the 45 day injured reserve list.  It appears for the time being that the Stars will be without the services of Josh Berge, Brent Tate, and Jarrod Mermis.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Domain Address:

I'm very excited to say that I have obtained the rights to a new domain web address for the Black and Blue Blog.  Now you can go to to access this blog.  There really isn't a big difference from the old address, but the new address is a lot easier to remember.

You will ALWAYS be able to access this blog with the "old" address:

However, the "new" and improved domain address is: 

If you have friends, family, or know people who sit around you at the IceBox who you think would enjoy reading this blog, just tell them to go to  That's a LOT easier to remember than the old address. 

This is just another tool for me to help promote the blog, and create more interest in what we are doing here.  This blog is not yet a year old, and we continue to grow stronger and stronger.  Without your support and continued patronage, I'd still be talking to myself. :)

Thanks....and Go Stars.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

ESPN 1480 AM

Just noticed this article on the Lincoln Journal Star website:

Sports programming currently is gone from ESPN 1480 (KLMS 1480 AM), with oldies music in its place.

The station's Web site also is "under construction."
Does this mean that the Stars will have to find a new home for their radio broadcasts? If so, how soon will that happen? Or will 1480 AM honor their contract with the Stars?

Edit:  The article linked above has been updated to state that radio broadcasts for the Lincoln Stars will remain on 1480 AM.

Monday, January 25, 2010

2010 USHL All-Star Game

Just a reminder, the 2010 USHL All-Star Game will be played Tuesday (1/26) night in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The game will start at 6pm Central.  For those wanting to watch the game, you can view the game for free via the B2 Network.  More information here:

"The United States Hockey League announced today that B2 Networks will provide the exclusive online broadcast of the 2010 USHL All-Star Game on Tuesday, January 26th.   B2 Networks, the “Official Broadband Broadcast Provider” of the USHL, will broadcast the game using B2 Express which is the new free-to-view platform now used exclusively for all live free programming on B2 Networks.  The platform has had more than 200,000 logins since being introduced in August for NCAA football.

The video broadcast of the USHL All-Star Game will be available free of charge through and on  Viewers will require a high-speed internet connection and a current version of Microsoft Windows Media Player.  Indiana Ice broadcaster Jim Mirabello will call the action live beginning at 7:00 PM (Eastern).  The 2010 USHL All-Star Game takes place at the Pepsi Coliseum in Indianapolis, Indiana on Tuesday, January 26th, 2010.

Click here on Tuesday, January 26th to watch the 2010 USHL All-Star Game."

Stars forward David Gerths will be the lone member of the Lincoln Stars to represent his team at the all-star game.  Make sure you tune in and root for David and the USHL West Division team.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

USHL Expansion: Dubuque Fighting Saints

The USHL announced on Sunday that the Dubuque franchise will take on the classic name of "Fighting Saints" when they join the USHL next year. The Fighting Saints will wear red, white and silver.

Dubuque will begin playing in the USHL next season. That puts the league at 15 teams assuming everyone from this year returns. I would expect another club from the East to join next season as well to make 16 teams.

Let's say this scenario plays out, how does the divisional alignment change? What are your thoughts on the league expanding? Good for the USHL, but bad for the odds of winning cups. Would you support two 8 team divisions or four 4 team divisions? It'd be interesting to say the least.

For what it's worth, Dubuque is geographically farther east than Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Waterloo. The city sits right on the corner of Iowa-Wisconsin-Illinois. If another team is added even further East, then either Waterloo or Cedar Rapids may be grouped with West teams next year. Who knows how it will play out. Thoughts?

Edit:  I wanted to add a few more logos that Dubuque will use next season on their uniforms.  Just my opinion, but I really like what they have done.  I think the logos look great, and the silver, red, white combination will look sharp. -Yeti

Post-Game Report: Sioux Falls at Lincoln 1/23

Sioux Falls defeats Lincon 1-0 on a power-play overtime goal by Matt Furlong with 54 seconds left. Yet another disappointing loss at the Ice Box for this team. The Stars blew a stellar performance by Jared Coreau, who made 29 saves on 30 shots.

Lincoln drops to 11-21-4 (26 points) and is now 14 points out of a playoff spot with 24 games to play. Needless to say, this weekend was a big letdown. With the way the team played last Friday and Wednesday, there was a glimmer of hope. The life was really sucked out of the building with that overtime goal. I don't know what else can be said. I'm sure many fans knew what was coming when we took that hooking penalty late in overtime...and we got it.

Now, obviously everyone is upset. Please keep your comments appropriate. You do NOT have to be pumping sunshine to have your posts approved, but you can voice your displeasure in an adult manner like others can do on here. Yeti and I are just as disappointed with our record as the rest of you, but calling out individual players or directly referencing them without naming them will automatically get your post rejected. If you have a problem with the coaching, keep your criticism mature. Anyone can post anonymously on the internet. Thank you everyone.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Post-Game Report - Omaha at Lincoln 1/22

Final Score:  Omaha 7, Lincoln 0

The Omaha Lancers continued their dominance over the Lincoln Stars this season, recording their fourth straight win over the Stars with a 7-0 shutout win at the IceBox Friday night.  Despite out-shooting the Lancers in the game 31-29, the Stars were never able to get a puck past Lancers goaltender Jeff Teglia.  Omaha forward Erik Haula scored 3 goals, while forward Matt White added 3 assists to lead the Lancers on offense.  The Lancers scored 2 goals in the first period, 4 goals in the second, and then 1 goal in the third period to hand Lincoln their worst shutout loss in franchise history.

This one was another frustrating game to watch as a fan.  I thought the Stars were the better team in the first period.  They came out strong, and took it right to the Lancers.  Credit Omaha goaltender Jeff Teglia for keeping his team in the game.  He's a very steady goaltender, and you rarely seem him out of position.  The Stars out-shot the Lancers 14-9 in the first period, but could not solve Teglia.  The Lancers were able to capitalize in the first period with a weak wrister than somehow found its way past Stars goaltender Matt Green, and then with only 28 seconds remaining, the nail in the coffin goal from Omaha forward Colin Markison to give the Lancers a 2-0 lead going into the first intermission.  After that, the Stars self-destructed.

Omaha is a very good team, that much is obvious.  The Stars have played them tough this season, but they can't seem to hang with the Lancers for 60 minutes.  You could tell the Stars were getting frustrated last night, and when they get frustrated, they commit penalties...which obviously doesn't help matters.  I think that is what is the most frustrating part to watch as a fan.  Instead of digging deep and getting back into the game, the Stars lose their composure and end up spending the rest of the game a man down because they are in the penalty box so much.  It's one thing to get whistled for a penalty while you are defending a teammate.  It's something completely different to commit a selfish penalty just because you're pissed off your team is getting beat.  The Stars are going to have to learn very quick to avoid the penalty self-destruction if they want to turn the season around and make a playoff run.

Tonight's game should be very interesting.  Tonight's  opponent, Sioux Falls, was beat 10-1 last night by the Cedar Rapids Roughriders.  Lincoln is coming off their worst shutout defeat in franchise history.  The Stars have not scored a goal against Sioux Fall in two games this season.  Which team wants it more?  Will the Stars rebound and prove it to themselves and the fans that they are better than the team that was shutout the night before?  Stay tuned.

Go Stars.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Weekend Preview - Omaha and Sioux Falls

The Lincoln Stars will begin a four game home-stand this Friday night when rival Omaha Lancers infiltrate the IceBox.  This will be the fourth time the Stars and Lancers have met this season, with Omaha winning all three previous meetings.  The last time these two teams met at the Icebox on 1/8, the Lancers scored four powerplay goals to propel themselves to a 5-4 victory.  In my opinion, I thought the Stars outplayed the Lancers 5-on-5 in that contest, but Lincoln had no answer to Omaha's potent powerplay unit.  The Stars are currently 11-20-3 (25 points) and are in last place in the USHL West Division.  The Lancers are currently 25-8-1 (52 points) and are in first place in the USHL West Division.

The Lancers find themselves in a bit of a funk right now, losers of 3 of their last 4 games.  Despite their inconsistent play as of late, this is still a VERY dangerous team.  Forwards Matt White and Erik Haula are two of the top forwards in the entire league.  In the game on 1/8 at the IceBox, the Stars did a very good job shutting those two down, but the Lancers have plenty of scorers behind White and Haula who are well equipped to put the biscuit in the basket.  The key in this game, the Stars cannot commit stupid penalties against the Lancers.  What a shocker, eh?  The Stars have proven they can play with the Lancers, but they can't give Omaha any free chances on the PP to score goals.  The Stars are playing better the last couple of games, so I'm hopeful they'll come out strong against the Lancers on Friday night.  Playing catch-up against Omaha is damn near impossible.  Get the early lead, protect it, play smart hockey, and finish strong.  Should be a great environment at the IceBox as usual when these two teams meet.  I can't wait.

Saturday night, the Sioux Falls Stampede will visit the IceBox for the first time this season to battle the Lincoln Stars.  This will be another tough test for the Stars as they will be facing yet another team they have not been able to beat this season.  The Stars are 0-2 against the 'Pede, and have not been able to score a goal in either game.  On 10/30/09, the Stampede shutout the Stars by a score of 4-0.  On 12/19/09, the 'Pede blanked the Stars yet again by a score of 3-0.  The Stampede have an overall record of 18-7-8 (44 points) and are in third place in the USHL West Division.  Forward Michael Voran is the leading scorer on the 'Pede squad with 40 points (15g, 25a) in 33 games played.  Goaltender Clay Witt has established himself as the clear-cut starter for Sioux Falls with a 12-4-4 record in 21 games played.  This is yet another tough team for the Stars.  The 'Pede had the advantage earlier on in the two previous contests against the Stars, as Lincoln was decimated with injuries at the time.  The Stampede sport the third best powerplay unit in the USHL, so the Stars penalty kill unit will again be tested. 

Should be a fun weekend at the IceBox.  The Stars are for the most part, healthy and playing much better as a team.  This will be a good test to see where the team is.  Are they ready to sacrifice everything they have on the ice to make that playoff drive?  Is the hunger there?  It's gut-check time.  In order to make the playoffs, the Stars are going to have to figure out how to beat good teams at home.  They proved it last Friday night against Indiana.  Now it's time to do it against teams in their own division.

Go Stars.

Note:  According to Brent Wagner of the Lincoln Journal Star, defenseman Garrett Clement will not be traded, as previously reported.  Clement is recovering from hand surgery, and should be in the lineup sometime next weekend.  There were reports recently that Clement requested a trade, but it appears he has had a change of heart and wants to stick it out with the Stars.

What do the fans think of the two weekend games?  Can the Stars win both?

Post-Game Report: Lincoln Stars vs. Tri-City Storm 1/20

Final Score:  Lincoln 6, Tri-City 2

The Lincoln Stars stopped their six game road losing streak Wednesday night in Kearney, as the Stars put a beat down on the Tri-City Storm by a score of 6-2.  Lincoln scored the first three goals of the game with tallies from Brodie Reid (PP-first period), Andrew Ammon (first period), and Garrett Peterson (second period).  Former Stars foward Tucker Brockett scored a PP goal in the second period for the Storm to break up the Stars scoring streak, but Andrew Ammon and Garrett Peterson (PP) scored their second goals of the game later in that second period to give Lincoln a commanding 5-1 lead.  Kenny Brooks of the Storm scored with only 27 seconds remaining in the 2nd period to make the score 5-2 going into the second intermission.  Lincoln forward Ben Lynch scored his 12th goal of the season in the third period to wrap up the scoring.  The Stars outshot the Storm 33-21 for the game.  The Stars went 2-4 on the powerplay, while TC went 1-4 with the man-advantage.

Great road win last night against a team that had previously had Lincoln's number.  The Stars were able to chase Storm goaltender Carsen Chubak in the second period after Chubak had surrendered 5 goals on 17 shots on net.  The "All Points Bulletin-APB" line of Ammon-Petey-Berge continued to dominate, as the line combined for 4 goals, 2 assists, and were a combined +5 on the night. 

Nice to see Petey finally break out of his slump and start burying some pucks.  Previous to the game against Tri-City, Petey had been on a 16 game goal scoring drought.  It's certainly not for lack of trying, as Stars fans are well aware Pety is one of the hardest workers on the team.  The guy never quits.  "Puck luck" just wasn't on his side for the first half of the season, but it certainly appears that he has that "luck" back.  Hard work pays off. 

Onward and upward!  The schedule doesn't get any easier, as the Omaha Lancers and the Sioux Falls Stampede invade the IceBox this weekend.  The good news is that as of late, the Stars seem to have found their "groove" and are playing with a lot of "jam." :)  I'll post a weekend preview sometime today, or tomorrow.

Go Stars.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Live Blog - Lincoln Stars at Tri-City Storm 1/20

Spice up an otherwise boring Wednesday night by chatting with other Lincoln Stars fans tonight as the Stars travel to Kearney to take on the Tri-City Storm!  We'll be online and chatting around 7:00pm.  Hope to see you there!

Go Stars!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pre-Game Report: Lincoln Stars vs. Tri-City Storm 1/20

The Lincoln Stars will look to get back in the win column this Wednesday evening when they travel west on I-80 to take on the Tri-City Storm in Kearney.  The Stars are coming off a hard fought 4-1 loss to the Omaha Lancers on 1/16.  This will be the fifth time the Stars and the Storm have faced each other this season, with Tri-City winning all four previous contests by a combined score of 17-5.  Ouch.  Needless to say, the Storm have had Lincoln's number this season.  The Stars recently broke a very long losing streak with a 5-1 thumping of the Indiana Ice on 1/15.  Before the win against the Ice, the Stars had lost 9 straight games.  The Stars are in last place in the USHL West Division with a record of 10-20-3 (23 points).

The Storm have lost three of their last four games, and are currently in fourth place in the USHL West Division with a record of 15-14-6 (36 points).  The Storm sport one of the top players in the league in forward Jaden Schwartz.  Schwartz is the second leading scorer in the USHL with 52 points (19g, 33a) in 35 games played.  The native of Wilcox, Saskatchewan Canada is a Colorado College recruit and a highly touted NHL draft prospect.  When the puck is on his stick, good things happen.  Storm goaltender Carsen Chuback is 4-0 against the Stars this season, with a 1.25 goals against average, and a .953 save percentage in those four games.  Double ouch.

The Stars have played a lot better since the 8-2 blowout loss on 1/12 against the Sioux City Musketeers, so I'm hopeful the boys can finally put 60 quality minutes together against a team that has dominated them this season.  These mid-week games can sometimes be hard for players to get motiviated for, especially considering the game will most likely be played in a near empty Viaero Event Center in Kearney.  The team that wants it more will win this one.  Let's hope it's the black and blue who want it more.

Faceoff is at 7:05pm.

We will be blogging/chatting live during this game, so keep an eye out for that article sometime during the day on Wednesday.

Go Stars.

Note:  Congrats to Stars forward Andrew Ammon for winning the USHL Offensive Forward of the Week.  From the USHL article:

"Ammon scored five points (4g, 1a) and registered a plus-six rating for the Stars. He scored a goal in the 8-2 loss to Sioux City on Tuesday. The native of Aldie, Virginia then scored three goals to complete his first USHL hat trick in Friday's 5-1 win vs. Indiana. He also dished out an assist to register a four-point night (3g, 1a). The 19-year-old is playing in his first season in the USHL and has collected 12 points (7g, 5a) in 15 games. Ammon has posted an even-or-better plus/minus rating in each of his last five contests."

It is nice to see Ammon healthy again, and contributing for the Stars.  They have definitely missed his presence on the ice.  Congrats again to Andrew!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Live Blog - Lincoln Stars at Omaha Lancers 1/16

We will be blogging/chatting live once again tonight as the Lincoln Stars look to continue their hot play against the Lancers in Omaha tonight.  Faceoff for the game tonight is at 7:05pm.  The chat will be up and running around 7:00pm.  I will not be able to attend the game, or be here for the chat, so Layla has once again been kind enough to run it tonight.  Thanks to Layla for helping out!

I really hope to see some new faces chatting tonight.  The last chat we had, there were quite a few new faces which is always nice.  If you are going to spend the night at home, listening to the Stars on the radio or on B2, why not drop by the Black and Blue Blog and chat with other Lincoln fans during the game?

Go Stars!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Stars win! Stars win!

Final Score:  Indiana 1, Lincoln 5

[collective sigh of relief!]

The Lincoln Stars snapped their nine-game losing streak with a 5-1 blowout win over the Indiana Ice Friday night at the Ice Box.  Leading the way for the Stars was forward Andrew Ammon, who scored a hat trick and added one assist for a total of 4 points on the night.  The line of Josh Berge-Garrett Peterson-Andrew Ammon finished the game with a total of 3 goals, 5 assists, and were a combined +12.  Lincoln outshot the Ice 34-24.  Stars goaltender Matt Green stopped 23 of 24 shots on goal to record his fifth win of the season.  With the win, the Stars also snapped their six game home losing streak.

The Stars got off to a very quick start with 3 goals scored all within one minute in the first period of the game.  Andrew Ammon banked a shot from behind Ice goaltender Cab Morris, which deflected of the leg of Morris and into the net.  Just nine seconds later, Ben Lynch stripped an Ice defender of the puck, deked Cab Morris, and slid a backhand shot into an open net to give the Stars a 2-0 lead.  A little over 40 seconds later, defenseman Cory Hibbeler collected a pass from Andrew Ammon in the slot and ripped a wrister past the glove of Morris to make it a 3-0 Stars lead.  The IceBox was electric!

In the second period, the Stars extended their lead when Andrew Ammon scored his second goal of the game when took a great pass by Garrett Peterson and one-timed the puck past a diving Cab Morris to make it 4-0.  The Ice finally got on the board when Kevin Doumas skated in alone on a breakaway and scored on goaltender Matt Green to pull the Ice to within three goals.  In the third period, the lone goal came from Andrew Ammon again, as the forward from Aldie, VA scored an empty-netter from center ice to record his first hat trick of the season.  The losing streak was over!  Stars win, 5-1.  Time for the "Choo-choo" dance!

Wow.  What a fun game to watch last night.  I think the players took the 8-2 drubbing by the hands of Sioux City personally, and they wanted to show themselves, the coaches, and the fans that they were much better than that team Tuesday night. You could tell the players really wanted it Friday night.  They played with tons of enthusiasm and emotion.  I was very proud of their effort.  It was also great to see an almost sold-out (4,256) IceBox also.  Despite the losing streak, our fans packed the house and were behind the players 100%.  I know they appreciated the support. 

What say you, Stars fan?  What did you think of the game tonight?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Roster Update

Per Brent Wagner of the Lincoln Journal Star, Coach Jimmy McGroarty is trying to trade injured defenseman Garrett Clement to another USHL team, possibly including a draft pick in the package.

Clement had a lot of hype coming in, but only played in three games for the Stars before going out Dec. 12 with an injury. He is a skilled offensive defenseman and should find a home somewhere in the league. Hopefully we get something of significant value in return. Would love to see a top goal-scorer come here, but unfortunately we aren't in the position we have been in the past where we can take a top player from a lower team. Instead, we're in the opposite position.

Also noteworthy, apparently Coach McGroarty asked each of Lincoln's top players if they want to be traded to teams (probably to get more exposure on a better team), and they each said no. That should say a lot about these boys wanting to play in Lincoln and compete under Coach McGroarty. Go Stars!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pre-Game Report: Sioux City at Lincoln 1/12

This is going to be a very brief preview of the game tonight. Too much on my plate right now.

The Stars will look to snap their franchise-record eight game losing streak as they take on the visiting Sioux City Musketeers tonight at the IceBox. Lincoln is currently in last place in the USHL West Division with a record of 9-18-3 (21 points). The Muskies are in sixth place in the USHL West Division with a record of 13-14-2 (28 points). This matchup will feature the two lowest scoring teams in the USHL. Sioux City is averaging 2.59 goals per game, while the Stars are averaging 2.37 goals per game.

This will be the second time these two teams have faced each other this season. In the first meeting on 10/03/09, the Stars shutout the Muskies in Sioux City by a score of 2-0. Lincoln goaltender Jared Coreau stopped all 25 shots he faced to record his first shutout of the season.

Faceoff is at 7:05pm.

Go Stars.

Note: You might want to leave a little earlier this evening if you plan on coming to the game tonight. The UNL womens baskeball team plays at the Devaney Center tonight, so parking could be a mess.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Halfway Point - 30 Games Remaining

The facts:
  • The Stars are currently 9-18-3 thru 30 games, which is statistically (.350 winning %) tied for last in the USHL.  Lincoln is in last place in the USHL West Division with 21 points.
  • Lincoln is riding an eight game losing streak, which is a franchise record.  However, three of those losses occurred in overtime-shootout.  The last three losses have all been by one goal.
  • The Stars have not won a home game since November 14th, and are 3-8 at home this season.
  • Lincoln has scored 71 goals in 30 games so far this season.  That averages out to be 2.37 goals per game, which is last in the USHL.
I want your opinions.  Can this team turn it around?  Is the talent level there this season?  What needs to happen for this team to make the playoffs this season?  Is making the playoffs possible?  We've already had some very good discussion of the season thus far in the comments section of the Cedar Rapids post-game article.  You can read those comments here.

You know the rules.  Don't even waste your time if you plan on insulting players and/or the coaches.  I don't want to read it, and I won't approve it.  You want to criticize?  Be constructive about it.  Hockey is a team effort, so understand that one player doesn't make or break a hockey club.  The Stars are there for our entertainment.  The world is not going to end if the Stars end the season with a losing record and don't make the playoffs.  Think about that before blasting a teenager because he made a few bad plays during a game.

I'd really like to hear from the lurkers out there.  I'm appreciative of all the blog regulars and their comments, but I'd like to also hear from the people who don't normally post.  You guys put up with my inane hockey ramblings, now it's my turn to hear your opinions.  Again, be respectful of the players and the coaches when posting.  I look forward to reading your comments.

Thank you.  Go Stars.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Snapshot of the Game - Roughriders at Stars 1/9

From the Cedar Rapids game, I chose this great shot of Jon Puskar and Garrett Peterson celebrating Puskar's second period breakaway goal which put the Stars up 2-1.  Petey made a fantastic pass to allow Puskar to skate in alone and wrist the puck past CR goaltender Troy Grosenick.

Thanks to Brandon Anderson again for this shot. 

Snapshot of the Game - Lancers at Stars 1/8

Thanks again to Brandon Anderson (official photographer of the Lincoln Stars) for helping out the "Snapshot of the Game."  From the game against Omaha Friday night, I chose a great photo of the players celebrating Josh Berge's first period shorthanded goal which put the Stars up 2-1.  On the left, you can see Brent Tate celebrating the goal from the penalty box.  Good stuff.

You can view all of Brandon's photograph's here.

Post-Game Report - Cedar Rapids at Lincoln 1/9

Final Score:  Cedar Rapids 3, Lincoln 2

The Lincoln Stars snatched defeat from the jaws of victory Saturday night, as they gave up a one goal lead in the third period and allowed the Roughriders to storm back to secure a 3-2 victory.  The Stars held a 2-1 lead going into the third period, thanks to goals from John McCarron (first period) and Jon Puskar (second period).  In the third period, the Roughriders scored two goals, including the game winning goal by defenseman Andy Simpson (his first goal of the season).  Simpson's goal was a weak wrister from 15 feet out that somehow found its way past Stars goaltender Matt Green with 10 minutes remaining in the the third.  Cedar Rapids shut down the Stars offense the final 10 minutes of the game to seal the win.  With the defeat, the Stars have now lost 8 straight games.

Frustrating game to watch last night as a fan.  Again, the Stars outplayed the Roughriders for the majority of the game, but defensive lapses in their own end lead to a couple of the goals, including the game winner in the third period. This team seems so close to getting over the perverbial hump, but they just can't seem to play an entire 60 minutes.  Lazy penalties, defensive lapses, and turnovers all contributed to the two losses this weekend.  The Stars have the talent to beat these teams, but they lack the killer instinct and discipline needed
to put them away.  As this franchise-record losing streak continues, I wonder what impact it could have on the attendance at the IceBox.  I'd hate to think that some of our fans would stay at home just because the Stars are in the throes of a sub par season, but it could happen.

Forward Ryan Dzingel continued to impress me with his play last night.  He's one of the youngest players on the team, but he looks so cool, calm, and collected out there on the ice.  It seemed he was involved in a ton of offensive chances last night.  Also, I noticed him quite a bit on the penalty kill unit, which shows that the coaches have enough faith in his defensive abilities to play him on the PK.  In my opinion, he was the best Stars player this whole weekend.

The Stars return to the IceBox this Tuesday night (1/12) against the Sioux City Muskateers.  The Muskies are on a three game losing streak, and are in sixth place in the USHL West Division.  Someone has to win this game, right?

Go Stars.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Post-Game Report - Omaha at Lincoln 1/8

Final Score:  Omaha 5, Lincoln 4

The Lincoln Stars struggles at home continued Friday night as the Stars lost a close battle to the Omaha Lancers, 5-4.  On a frigid night in the Capital City, the Stars could not stop the red-hot powerplay unit of the Lancers, as Omaha scored 4 of their 5 goals on the PP.  Omaha went 4-for-6 with the man advantage, while the Stars were 1-for-4 on the powerplay.  The Lancers outshot the Stars in the game, 37-35.  The Stars have lost seven straight games, which is a franchise record.

The Stars got out to a 2-1 advantage in the first period with goals from Ryan Dzingel (PP), and Josh Berge (shorthanded).  Omaha's Troy Power scored the lone first period goal for the Lancers.  In the second period, the Lancers came out very strong and scored two goals (Tom Craig, Ryan Dougherty) to put themselves ahead 3-2 going into the third period.  In the third, Lincoln had goals from Cory Hibbeler and Brodie Reid, but it was not enough.  Lancer forward Dakota Eveland intercepted a bad pass from a Lincoln defender, and slapped the eventual game winner past Stars goaltender Jared Coreau with roughly three minutes remaining in the the period.

I really think the Stars showed a lot of promise last night, despite the loss.  The players battled until the very end to try to tie the game up, but just came up a bit short.  Honestly, I think the Stars outplayed the Lancers 5-on-5 last night, but the penalties hurt them.  You cannot commit lazy penalties against a team like Omaha and expect to not get hurt.  I thought the Stars controlled the play in the first and third penalties when it was 5-on-5, but the Lancers had a very strong second period.  I mentioned this in the weekend preview article, but Omaha has the #1 rated PP unit in the entire USHL, and we all saw why last night.

I thought goaltender Jared Coreau had his best home game so far this season, despite coming up short.  Coreau stopped 32 of 37 shots, and kept the Stars in this game until the very end with very timely saves.  Without his efforts in net, I think the score could have been a lot worse.  Give credit also to the rookie, forward Ryan Dzingel.  Dzingel ended up as the game's first star, and recorded 1 goal and 2 assists in the game.  Dzingel is a former affiliate player for the Stars, but he will be with Lincoln for the remainder of the season...which is great news.  

Nothing to hang your head about over this loss.  The Stars showed they can beat the best teams in the league.  It's a matter of playing smart hockey, staying out of the penalty box, and playing together as a team.  I was very proud of their effort last night, and I hope the fans in attendance last night recognized that effort as well.  We can't give up on these kids.  There's no where to go but up in the standings, and I am confident they will move up if they continue improving on their play from last night.

Go Stars.

Post-Game Notes:  Brent Wagner of the LJS Journal Star posted a recap video interview with David Gerths after the game last night.  You can watch the video here.  As always, good stuff from Brent.  I've missed his videos this season, so I really hope we see more of these.  In the video, you can watch Stars goals from Ryan Dzingel, Josh Berge, and Cory Hibbeler.

Congrats go out to David Gerths for making the 2010 USHL All-Star Team.  This will be the second straight season that Gerths has been named to the all-star team.  As you can tell from Brent's video, David is a very humble kid, and I think he will represent the Stars very well in the game.  Gerths was the only member of the Lincoln Stars selected to the USHL All-Star Game.

The Stars will look to rebound Saturday night against the Cedar Rapid Roughriders at the IceBox.  Last night, the Roughriders were shutout by the Tri-City Storm, 1-0.  It should be a very interesting game tonight.  Both teams are coming off close losses, so each squad will be hungry for a win tonight.  Faceoff is at 7:05pm.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Weekend Preview: There's No Place Like Home?

The Lincoln Stars will return to the comfy confines of the IceBox this weekend when the Stars host the Omaha Lancers on Friday night (1/8), and the Cedar Rapids Roughriders on Saturday night (1/9).  Entering the Friday night game against rival Omaha, the Stars are riding a franchise record six game losing streak (three of those six losses came in overtime-shootout).  Lincoln currently has a record of 9-16-3 (21 points), and their winning percentage (.375) is last in the USHL.  Through 28 games this season, the Stars have scored a meager 65 goals (2.32 goals per game), which is also last overall in the USHL.  The Stars will play 21 of their final 32 games at home at the IceBox.  Lincoln has 3 wins against 6 losses at home this season.

Up first for the Stars will be the Omaha Lancers, regarded by many as the top team in the USHL this season.  Plain and simple, this team is scary.  Tons of scoring to go along with very good goaltending, the Lancers are the real deal.  Omaha is currently 23-6-1 (47 points) and are in first place in the USHL West Division, as well has first place overall in the USHL.  The Lancers sport the top offense in the USHL, having scored an incredible 128 goals in 30 games played (4.27 goals per game).  Forwards Matt White and Erik Haula lead the Lancers on offense, and have scored 93 points (36 goals, 57 assists) between the two.  These two are arguably the top two offensive forwards in the entire USHL this season, and when they are clicking...look out.  Goaltender Jeff Teglia has been solid in net for the Lancers this season, sporting a 17-5-1 record along with a 2.41 goals against average and a .910 save percentage.  There are very few, if any, weak spots in this squad.

Saturday night, the Stars will face yet another top team in the USHL, the Cedar Rapids Roughriders.  Always sound fundamentally, the Riders play a very disciplined game which emphasizes team defense.  The 'Riders are currently 15-13-2 (32 points), and are in third place in the USHL East Division.  Cedar Rapids are led by forwards Jeff Costello (24 points), Zach Lehrke (27 points), and defenseman Bryce Aneloski (29 points).  Anelsoski is the USHL's top scoring defenseman so far this season.  Between the pipes, goaltender Troy Grosenick has played the majority of games for CR, but was recently injured (concussion) in a game against Des Moines, so there is a possibility Grosenick might not play this weekend.  Grosenick is the league leader in minutes played and saves for all USHL goaltenders.

Well, if the Lincoln Stars want to get back into the playoff hunt and start this home stretch on the right note, they'll have to play their best hockey against two teams who have already proven they can win on the road.  The Lancers sport a 11-2-1 away record, while the Roughriders are 8-5-1 on the road.  Omaha has the top powerplay unit in the USHL, so the Stars must stay out of the box and play smart hockey if they want to have a chance in either game this weekend.  So far this season, we haven't seen the Stars play their best hockey at home.  Instead, the Stars have played much better on the road.  For this team to even sniff at the playoffs, they'll have to figure out fast how to win at home.  Will that happen this weekend?  We'll soon find out.

Note:  Per Brent Wagner at the LJS Blueline Blog, Jarrod Mermis, Will Rayner, and Garrett Clement are all out with injuries.  Brent gave the fans a little bit to think about with this quote:  "The Stars have an open roster spot, but have somebody in mind to fill it if the player can get some issues with school taken care of."  Hmmmm...interesting.  I wonder who this player is?  An affiliate player?  A player leaving college?

I hope to see two sellout crowds this weekend.  More than ever, we need to support these players as they try to turn this season around.  Be Loud!  Be Proud!

Go Stars.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

WJC: Team USA Wins Gold Medal!

Final Score:  Team USA 6, Team Canada 5 OT

Wow.  What a game.  I feel sorry for anyone who missed watching this game.  One of the best hockey games I've ever seen on TV.  Just incredible.

SASKATOON, Sask. - John Carlson (Colonia, N.J.) scored twice including the game-winning goal in overtime, as the U.S. National Junior Team defeated Canada, 6-5, to win gold at the 2010 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.

Following a pad save by Jack Campbell (Port Huron, Mich.), Team USA skated up ice on a three-on-one odd-man rush. Carlson glided in on the wing and fired a quick snap shot past goalie Martin Jones for the championship-winning tally.

"We put the right team together for this tournament, filled with gritty, hard-working players," said Dean Blais, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. "Our guys battled the whole tournament, and we're very happy to come away with the gold here in Saskatoon."

Great to see so many kids from the USHL do well in this game.  Defenseman John Carlson, who scored the game winning goal in OT, played for the Indiana Ice in 2007-'08.  Team USA head coach Dean Blais coached the Fargo Force to the Clark Cup Finals last season, and is currently the head coach for the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks.  Former Lincoln Stars draft picks Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider each scored one goal in the gold medal game, and Stepan was named named Team USA's Player of the Game.  Stepan finished as the tournament's leading point-getter with 15 points (5 goals-10 assists).

Video highlights of the game:

Finally, a video taken of the Team USA players after the game in their locker room.  Former Omaha Lancer Danny Kristo leads the team in a post game chant.  Good stuff.

Monday, January 4, 2010

WJC: USA Advances To Finals

I know this game really doesn't have anything to do with the Stars, but I think everyone should try to watch this game if they can.  There is some outstanding junior hockey being played right now at the World Junior Championships.

Last night, Team USA defeated Sweden 5-2 to advance to the finals of the World Junior Championship in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  Team USA will faceoff against Team Canada for the gold medal Tuesday night at 7pm central.  The game will be broadcast on the NHL Network.

Team USA forwards Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider are both former draft picks of the Lincoln Stars.  Both players decided to play collegiate hockey instead of playing junior hockey with the Stars.  Stepan is the captain of the Team USA squad and the tournament's top scorer with 12 points in six games.  Kreider, who this past summer decided to finish high school early and enroll at Boston College, has scored 6 points in six games for Team USA at the WJC tournament.  Before Kreider decided to enroll early at BC, there were rumors that he was going to play for the Stars this season.

If you have the time to watch this game, I'd really recommend it.  Some great talent out there on the ice for both Team USA and Team Canada.  Most of these young players will be skating in the NHL someday.  Check it out if you can.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Congrats to David Backes!

I wanted to make sure I mentioned this on the blog, because it's a great honor given to a former Lincoln Stars player.

Former Stars forward David Backes has been chosen to represent Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.  Backes played two seasons for the Stars (2001-03), and recorded 90 points in 87 games for Lincoln.  Backes then went on to play three seasons for University of Minnesota-Mankato before playing for the St. Louis Blues of the NHL.
Backes, 25, has played in all 40 games for the Blues this season collecting 19 points (nine goals, ten assists) and 52 penalty minutes. The Minneapolis, Minnesota native has donned the red, white and blue for the past three consecutive World Championships. From 2007-2009, Backes amassed nine points with two goals, seven assists and 74 penalty minutes.
 Congrats to David!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Live Blog - Lincoln Stars at Chicago Steel 1/2

 The Lincoln Stars wrap up a three game road swing with their second straight game against the Chicago Steel tonight.  The Stars lost 5-4 in overtime (shootout) last night against the Steel. 

Faceoff is at 7:30pm.

We'll be online and chatting around 7:15pm.  Hope to see you then.

Go Stars.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Live Blog - Lincoln Stars at Chicago Steel 1/1

The Lincoln Stars will look to rebound from their shootout loss to the Waterloo Blackhawks last night, when they travel to the "Windy City" to take on the Chicago Steel tonight.  I will not be available to run the chat this evening, but Layla has been nice enough to volunteer to run it for us again.  Faceoff is at 7:30pm central.  Layla will have the chat up and running around then.  Hope you all can participate.

Go Stars.