Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lincoln Stars Tryout Camp Dates Announced

Thanks to Layla for pointing out this information.  This bit of news was posted today on the official Lincoln Stars website.  Tryout dates and times for the 2010 Lincoln Stars tryout camp, which we be held once again at the Tranquility IcePlex in Omaha, NE.  We have talked about this topic today on the blog, so it's interesting this was made public this afternoon.  Very happy to see the camp held in Omaha again.

Sunday 6/13:  6:00pm-10:00pm
Monday 6/14:  8:00am-12:00pm and 4:00pm-8:00pm

Tuesday 6/15:  8:00am-12:00pm and 6:15pm-10:15pm
Wednesday 6/16:  11:30am-1:00pm (tryout all-star game)

Last year, the tryouts were held Friday thru Monday which allowed for a lot of fans to come up during the weekend to check out the scrimmages.  With the majority of the scrimmages held during the week, the fan turnout this year will be probably be less.  BT and I hope to attend as many of the scrimmages as possible.  We might need to recruit some "guest" bloggers to help out with some of the recaps if we are not available.  We'll talk more about that as we get closer to June.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

B³ Post-Game Recap 3/27: Tri-City 4, Lincoln 3

I am tired and am going to bed, but wanted to put this up for Stars fans to leave comments on about the last home game of the season. Maybe Yeti can write a recap on Sunday. I will be extremely busy. Stars lose 4-3. Tri-City scored four unanswered after Lincoln took a 2-0 lead. Jarrod Mermis, Dominik Shine and Sam Alfieri scored for Lincoln.

Pretty much a downer home finale to a downer season. That should sum it up.

It went fast, Stars fans. See you at the Ice Box next year, and hopefully at Tranquility Ice Plex in June.

Edit:  This is Yeti, and I'll take over from here.  Thanks to BT for starting this article last night.
Yet another heartbreaker last night at the IceBox.  Just when you thought the Stars might pull out a win, Tri-City stormed back to score the four straight unanswered goals and win the home finale at the IceBox.  I thought both teams looked a little flat in the first period.  TC relies on team speed, and I thought they looked very sluggish in the first period.  In the second, the Stars got out to the quick 2-0 lead from goals scored by Jarrod Mermis and Dominick Shine.  At the time, the Stars seemed in control.  Unfortunately for Lincoln, it was all Tri-City after that as the Storm took control of the game.  I think getting down 2-0 woke up the Storm, and they played much better after that. 

The Stars showed some life in the second half of the third period, but by then the damage was already done.  Sam Alfieri scored the final goal this season at the IceBox to pull the Stars within one goal, but Lincoln could not solve Storm goaltender Steven "Don't call me Michael" Bolton in the last few minutes of the game.  Storm forward Jaden Schwartz scored 2 goals in the game, and was named the first star of the game.  Schwartz was in the midst of a four game scoring drought before the game last night.  Schwartz leads the USHL in scoring with 80 points in 58 games played, and will most likely be a first or second round NHL draft pick this Spring.  Former Stars forward Tucker Brockett had two assists last night for the Storm, as he continued to haunt his former team. 

As usual, the Stars powerplay unit looked anemic and lost on the ice last night.  The Stars finished the game 0-for-7 with the man advantage, and rarely generated a good scoring chance.  The Stars outshot the Storm 27-25.  Tri-City finished 1-for-4 on the powerplay.

With the loss last night, the Lincoln Stars finished the season with a home record of 8-18-4.  Only 8 wins at home this season out of 30 games.  That's a sobering stat considering how well the Stars have played in the past at home.  The IceBox did sellout last night, which was great to see.  Probably the one good statistic from this season has been the attendance.  The Stars finished the home season with an average of 4,147 fans per game, which is #1 in the entire USHL.  Despite the subpar season, the Stars faithful still showed why they are the best fans in the USHL.

The Stars will finish up the 2009-10 season next weekend with two road games against divisional foes.  Friday night, the Stars will travel north to Sioux Falls to take on the Stampede.  Saturday night, the Stars will finish the season against the Musketeers in Sioux City.  I know a lot of Lincoln fans (myself included) are planning on going to that Sioux City game Saturday night.  It would be nice to see a good group of Lincoln fans at that game to show the players we appreciate their efforts this season.  More on that later.

Go Stars.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

B³ Post-Game Recap 3/26: Lincoln 0, Cedar Rapids 3

Unfortunately, this is going to be yet another quick recap.  I didn't get a chance to listen to the game, so I'm pretty much in the dark in regards to how good or bad the Stars played last night.  The Stars fell 3-0 to the Roughriders Friday night in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  It was the fourth and final time the Stars and 'Riders faced each other this season, with Cedar Rapids going 3-1 in those four games.  Roughriders forward Zach Lehrke scored the first two goals of the game, and forward Jeff Costello potted his 29th goal of the season to wrap up the scoring.  The 'Riders outshot the Stars, 29-27.  Lincoln goaltender Matt Green stopped 26 of 29 shots in the loss.  Cedar Rapids goaltender Troy Grosenick stopped all 27 shots he faced to record his third shutout of the season.

Here are videos of the two fights from last night.  First one is Dominick Shine vs. Sam Warning.  Second video is Chris DelMauro vs. Jeff Costello.  You'll probably want to mute the sound before you watch both videos.  Apparently in Cedar Rapids, they all have fevers...and their prescription is "more cowbell."  Thanks to "Starfish" for the tip.

The final home game is tonight, against the Tri-City Storm.  Come out and support the players as some will take the ice for the final time at home for the Lincoln Stars.  The puck will drop at 7:05pm.  Lets pack the IceBox tonight and show the players we appreciate their efforts this season.  Go Stars.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lynch Commits to RIT; Weekend Preview: Cedar Rapids and Tri-City

First of all, congratulations to forward Ben Lynch, who recently committed to the Rochester Institute of Technology and will begin playing there in the fall of 2010. RIT is a member of the Atlantic Hockey Association, and just recently won its conference tournament to earn its first trip to the NCAA Tournament as a Division I program.

Lynch is more than deserving of a college scholarship, as he ranks second on the team in scoring with 30 points (14 g, 16 a) and is the only Stars player to appear in every game this season. That says a lot not just about his talent and endurance, but his off-ice attitude and work ethic.

Congratulations to Ben and thank you for representing the Stars organization well this year.


The Lincoln Stars wrap up their home schedule this Saturday, but first travel to Cedar Rapids to take on Lynch's former team one last time this season on Friday night. Lincoln is 1-2 vs. Cedar Rapids this year, but all three games have been very competitive, and the way the Stars have been playing lately, this one should be as well.

The Stars won at Cedar Rapids 3-1 back on Oct. 25, but dropped two home contests to the Rough Riders by 3-2 scores, one coming in a shootout. Lynch and Ryan Dzingel each have a pair of goals against the Rough Riders this year (who in my opinion sport the best nickname in the USHL). Cedar Rapids is firmly locked in second place in the East Division and just needs one point in its final five games to clinch second.

Saturday is the home finale at the Ice Box. Turn out, be loud and be proud, because you won't be watching a USHL hockey game at the Ice Box for another 6 months. Tri-City comes into town, owning an impressive 5-1 record against the Stars this season. Even worse, the Storm have outscored the Stars 24-13. The Storm are 2-0 in the Ice Box, winning by a combined margin of 11-3, but they haven't played here since December. The Storm possess one of the top players in the USHL in Jaden Schwartz, who as a '92 birth date, has 78 points and leads the USHL in scoring. Schwartz only has one point in his last five games, but he still has 13 points (5 g, 8 a) against the Black and Blue this year.

The Stars have a great opportunity to play spoilers this weekend, and what better team to do it against than Tri-City. The Storm are in fourth place in the West Division, only one point ahead of Sioux City for the final playoff spot. Each team has four games remaining, and Sioux City has three at home. Lincoln ends it season at Sioux City next week. Needless to say, the Stars still have an opportunity to make some noise this season. Continue the winning streak! Go Stars!

***Saturday is fan appreciation night. Happy hour specials will run from 6-7:05 and concession specials will be offered throughout the game. A 30-minute, on-ice autograph session with the players will follow after the game as well.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Matt Green: USHL Goaltender of the Week

We haven't had a lot to celebrate about this season, so I wanted to make sure I blogged about this because it's a VERY deserving award.  Stars goaltender Matt Green was named "USHL Goaltender of the Week" for his spectacular performance this past weekend against the Fargo Force, and Team USA U-17.  Here's a quote from the USHL article detailing Green's recent heroics:

"Green posted consecutive shutouts during the weekend for the Stars. He stopped all 29 shots he faced in the 6-0 victory vs. Fargo on Friday and then made 24 saves the next evening during the 2-0 win vs. Team USA. The 19-year-old is now tied for second among USHL goaltenders with four shutouts this season. Including a relief appearance on Wednesday, Green compiled a 0.46 goals-against-average and a .983 save percentage during the week. The native of Buffalo, New York is playing his first USHL season and has won his last three starts."

Congrats to Matt!  An award that is certainly deserved!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Friday Night Fights - Stars vs. Force 3/19

Thanks to "Starfish" for letting us know about these two videos.  I'm not sure who took them, but they are both pretty good.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

B³ Post-Game Recap 3/20: U-17 Team USA 0, Lincoln 2

I will update this recap more tomorrow morning, but I wanted to get home after the jersey auction and post the bid totals for all the fans out there.  The Stars won their second straight game at home, shutting out the Team USA U-17 squad, 2-0.  Scoring goals for the Stars were forwards Ryan Dzingel (PP) and Tyler Deresky (SH).  Stars goaltender Matt Green recorded his second straight shutout, stopping all 24 shots he faced.  According to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye, Green became the fourth Stars goaltender in franchise history to record back-to-back shutouts.  The other three Lincoln goaltenders to record back-to-back shutouts were Beau Fritz, Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, and David Reekie.  Stars outshot the U-17 squad, 39-24.

After the game, the Stars auctioned off the specially designed, game-worn jerseys (pictured on the left) to benefit the American Cancer Society.  Here are the totals (in order of how they were auctioned off):

I.C. Starz = $550
Frank Misuraca = $850
Tyler Deresky = $1000
Sam Alfieri = $900
Chris Delmauro = $950
Matt Green = $1800
Kyle Gibbons = $875
Austin Handley = $925
Steve West  = $800
Dax Lauwers =  $850
Ryan Dzingel = $1000
Ben Lynch = $1250
Andrew Ammon = $1350
John McCarron = $1150
Jarrod Mermis = $1000
Will Rayner = $1100
Josh Berge = $950
Dominick Shine = $1700
Brent Tate = $2000
Jared Coreau = $1500
Cory Hibbeler = $1200
Garrett Peterson = $1275
Matt Bruneteau = $1250
Team Signed Jersey #1 = $1250
Team Signed Jersey #2 = $1275

Total raised = $28,750

I was jotting down the totals throughout the auction, so I hope my numbers are correct.  It was great to see so many fans stick around after the game and participate in the auction.  Great way to end another magical night at the IceBox.  I will update this article tomorrow morning.  Time for sleepy.


Friday, March 19, 2010

B³ Post-Game Recap 3/19: Lincoln 6, Fargo 0

Choo choo!

The Lincoln Stars played their best home game of the season tonight (and snapped their seven game home losing streak) as the Black and Blue pounded the Force 6-0 in front of 4,000 rabid fans at the IceBox.  The Stars got out to a quick 1-0 lead when forward Ryan Dzingel scored on a goal-mouth scramble two minutes into the first period.  After the early Stars goal, the game erupted into numerous brawls.  Dominick Shine was the first to drop the gloves in the first when he danced with Matt Leitner of the Force.  After a checking from behind penalty on Stars forward Sam Alfieri, the Force players took exception to the hit and it got nasty after that.  Stars forward Jarrod Mermis, and defenseman turned forward Cory Hibbeler both received fighting majors in the scrum, with Hibbeler getting the game misconduct.

In the second period, the Stars continued to keep the pedal to the metal as they outscored the Force 3-0, and killed numerous Fargo powerplays.  Scoring goals for Lincoln in the second period to increase the lead was Kyle Gibbons, Dominick Shine, and Andrew Ammon (PP).  At the second intermission, the Stars had a surprising, unfamiliar 4-0 lead and were playing lights-out hockey.  The question pondered by most of the Stars fans in attendance during that second intermission was, "Can the Stars hold the lead?" 

In the third, the Stars kept their foot on the throat of the Force as forwards Garrett Peterson and John McCarron scored to increase the lead to 6-0.  Instead of going into "turtle mode" in the third period, the Stars played very aggressive and kept coming at the Force in waves.  In the end, the Stars outshot the Force 38-29, and were 2-for-7 on the powerplay.  The Stars penalty kill unit played incredible tonight, as the Force were 0-for-10 with the man advantage.  Stars goaltender Matt Green was the best player on the ice tonight, as he stopped all 29 shots on goal to record his third shutout of the season.  Green was cool, calm, and collected the entire game.
I was a bit surprised Fargo head coach Steve Johnson didn't pull goaltender Ryan Massa in the second period, as it was obvious to me that the Stars (and the fans) had gotten into his head.  Massa never looked comfortable on the ice, and after he slipped and fell in between whistles in the first period, he actually mocked the Stars fans after they cheered his blunder.  In the second period, Massa did his best Eric "Where's my pacifier" Hartzell impression when he tried to go after referee Curtis Marouelli and broke his goalie stick in disgust after he was assessed a delay of game penalty, along with a unsportsmanlike conduct misconduct penalty.  At that point, everyone in attendance knew that Massa just wasn't in the game.  The Stars took advantage of that and scored three goals on Massa in the second period after his outburst.  It's always fun to watch opposing goaltenders lose it at the IceBox.

What a great game!!  All those fans who stayed at home missed a terrific hockey game tonight.  Hats off to the Stars players.  Their effort was outstanding.  There was no quit in them tonight.  They came out and showed Fargo right away they would not just roll over and take a beating.  In the past, the Stars just haven't been able to put a complete 60 minutes of hockey together.  Not the case tonight.  I was thinking before the game this evening that we haven't seen the Stars come out and just dominate a team at home this season.  We haven't seen that 6-0 or 7-1 game that was all too common the last two seasons.  Well, the fans were treated to that dominating win tonight...and how sweet it was.

Go Stars.

The Stars return to action tomorrow night at the IceBox when they host the Team USA U-17 squad.  The puck will drop at 7:05pm.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

B³ Weekend Preview - Fargo Force & Team USA U-17

The Lincoln Stars will  play their final two game homestand of the season this Friday and Saturday night, as the Fargo Force and Team USA U-17 visit the IceBox.  The Stars are coming off a disappointing 6-4 loss to the Des Moines Buccaneers this past Wednesday night at the IceBox.  The  Stars have lost seven straight home games, and continue to occupy last place in the USHL West Division with a record of  14-32-8 (36 points).  The Stars have only six games remaining in the regular season with three games at home, and three games on the road.  The Stars have a home record of 6-17-4, worst in the USHL.

First up for the Black and Blue this weekend will be Fargo Force.  The Force are in second place in the USHL West Division with a record of 35-13-5 (75 points), only 3 points behind division leading Omaha Lancers (78 points).  This will be the fifth and final time the Stars and Force face each other this season.  Fargo has won three of the previous four games against Lincoln, although the Stars have played the Force very tough the last three games.  

Saturday night, the Stars will battle the young guns of Team USA U-17.  The U-17 squad consists of some of the best home-grown hockey talent under the age of 17.  The last time these teams faced off against each other, the U-17 squad beat the Stars 5-2.  The Stars outshot Team USA U-17 in that game 43-33, but wound up losing to the upstart youngsters.  The U-17 squad has lost many more games in the USHL this season than they have won, but they are playing much better now that earlier this season.

The puck will drop at 7:05pm for both games this weekend.  With only three home games remaining, it would be really nice to see the Stars finish the season on a positive note in front of the IceBox faithful.

Go Stars.

Note:  Make sure you stick around after the game Saturday night for the Stars annual "Jerseys Off Our Backs" auction.  The Stars will be wearing special jerseys designed by trainer Corey Courtney during the game against Team USA U-17.  After the game, the Stars will auction off those game-worn jerseys to the highest bidder, with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society.  This is always a very fun event, so make sure you check it out.  Even if you don't have the cash to blow on a jersey, it's fun to watch all of the bidding.  Quick question for all the blog readers out there...which jersey will be auctioned off for the highest amount?

Wednesday Night Fights - St. Patrick's Day Edition

Thanks again to the awesome Stars fan (she knows who she is) who takes video of all these fights.  I appreciate all that she does.  Dominick Shine vs. T.J. "Don't call me Little Orphan Annie" Tynan and Cory Hibbeler vs. H.T. Lenz.

B³ Post-Game Recap 3/17: Des Moines 6, Lincoln 4

I wish I had more time to devote to this recap today, so unfortunately this is going to be very, very brief.  The Lincoln Stars lost their seventh straight home game, 6-4 to the Des Moines Buccaneers.  The Stars outshot the Bucs 43-28 in the losing effort.  Scoring goals for Lincoln was Andrew Ammon, Ryan Dzingel, John McCarron, and Ben Lynch.  After falling behind 4-2 going into the third period, the Stars stormed back to tie the game at 4-4.  However, costly turnovers doomed the Stars late in the third period as Des Moines scored two in the final period to coast to the 6-4 victory.  With the loss, the Stars dropped to 14-32-8 (36 points).

The Stars return to the IceBox this weekend for a Friday night game against the Fargo Force, and then a Saturday tilt against Team USA U-17.  I will try to post a weekend preview article sometime later tonight.

Note:  Thanks to StarsHcky for providing this link which has some more information about former Stars defenseman Jake Newton signing with the NHL Anaheim Ducks.  Click here to read the article.  There is also video of Newt talking about his signing.  Pretty cool!  Congrats, Newt!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

B³ Pre-Game Report: Des Moines Buccaneers vs. Lincoln Stars 3/17

St. Patrick's Day Edition!

"The Luck of the Irish" will hopefully be on the side of the Stars this Wednesday night as Lincoln hosts the Des Moines Buccaneers at the IceBox for a mid-week game on St. Patrick's Day.  The Stars are coming off a two game road series against the Fargo Force in which the Stars won one game in overtime, and lost the other game in the last two minutes of the game.  With only 7 games remaining in the regular season, and the playoffs a distant memory, the Stars still sit in last place in the USHL West Division with a record of 14-31-8 (36 points).  The Stars are also in last place in the USHL with the expansion Youngstown Phantoms only a point ahead (37) of Lincoln in the overall standings.  The Stars will play three games at the IceBox this week with games this Wednesday (Des Moines), Friday (Fargo), and Saturday (Team USA U-17).

Like the Stars, the Des Moines Buccaneers are on the outside looking in this season in regards to the playoffs.  The Bucs have a record of 18-29-5 (41 points) and are in sixth place in the USHL West Division, only 5 points ahead of the Stars in the standings.  The Bucs have oodles of young, talented forwards, but they have not been able to stop the puck from finding the back of their own net.  The Bucs have surrendered 222 goals this season in 52 games played (4.27 goals against per game), which is tops in the USHL.

As mentioned, the Des Moines Buccaneers are led on offense by some very talented youngsters.  Leading the pack for the Bucs is T.J. Tynan.  A 5'9" 170 pound forward from Orland Park, IL, Tynan has turned a lot of heads this season, his first in the USHL.  The Notre Dame recruit is also NHL draft eligible this season, and is predicted by many to be an early round selection this Spring.  The diminutive rookie is third overall in scoring this season in the USHL with 67 points (17g, 50a) in 52 games played.  Playing on the same line as Tynan is another young gun, forward Connor Brickley.  Also a '92, Brickley possesses the size (6'2" 195 pounds) and speed that has scouts drooling.  Brickley is a rookie this season also, and has produced 37 points (18g, 19a) in 44 games played.  The University of Vermont recruit is NHL draft eligible this Spring and should be another high draft pick to come out of the USHL this season.

The Bucs have struggled away from home this season as they have a 5-16-3 road record, the worst in the USHL.  This will fifth and final time this season the Stars and Bucs faceoff against each other.  In their four previous games, the Bucs are 3-1 against the Stars, although three of the four games have been decided by one goal.  In their last meeting at the IceBox on 11/3/09, the Bucs romped all over the Stars by a score of 8-4.  In that game, Bucs forwards T.J Tynan and Connor Brickley combine for 7 points (3g, 4a) in the blowout win.

It should be a very entertaining mid-week game Wednesday night, especially with it being St. Patrick's Day.  Remember to wear green because everyone is Irish on St. Patty's Day!  The IceBox will serve $1 green beer and $2 hot dogs from 6:00pm-7:05pm, so arrive early and take part in the festivities.  It should be a good time as always.  Remember the old Irish saying as you buy your $1 green beer Wednesday night:  "In Heaven there is no beer.  That’s why we drink it here!"

Go Stars.

Note:  We've had a couple of people mention this on the blog, so I thought I'd pass it along.  Former Stars defenseman Jake Newton is rumored to be "on the verge of" signing a professional contract with the Anaheim Ducks of the NHL.  Newton just finished his freshman season at Northeastern University where he scored 22 points (9g, 13a) in 34 games.  Quote from the article linked above:
"The Anaheim Ducks are on the verge of signing Northeastern University defenceman Jake Newton. The six-foot-three, 205-pound freshman is 21 and from San Jancinto, Calif."
Congrats to Newt!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

B³ Post-Game Recap 3/13: Lincoln 2, Fargo 3

This is going to be a very brief recap.  I didn't get to listen to the game on the radio, or watch it on B2, so I don't have a lot to add.  If anyone out there has more information about this game, please feel free to comment below.  Thanks.

The Lincoln Stars lost another heartbreaker last night, falling 3-2 to the Fargo Force.  Like Friday night, the Force (oh yeah?) got out to a very quick start Saturday night when Force forward Garrett Allen scored 42 seconds into the game to give Fargo the early 1-0 lead.  That score held up until the second period when Lincoln rallied with two goals, the first scored by Stars defenseman Austin Handley, and the second by forward Sam Alfieri.  Surprisingly, the Stars held a 2-1 lead going into the third period against the Force.  However, in the third it was all Fargo.  The Force outshot the Stars 13-6 in the final stanza, and outscored the Stars 2-0 in the final period to win their 34th game of the season.  Force forward Colten St. Clair scored the game winner for Forgo with only 1:42 remaining in the third period.  The Force outshot the Stars 30-20 in the game.  Stars goaltender Jared Coreau stopped 27 of 30 shots in the loss.

Well, despite the loss Saturday night, I think the Stars should be very happy with how they played this weekend against a very good Fargo team.  It was a bare bones roster Saturday night as Lincoln was without forward John McCarron (shoulder injury) and defenseman Cory Hibbeler (unknown).  Add in Josh Berge and Brent Tate being out of the lineup with their injuries, and you can see that the Stars were shorthanded big time this weekend.  But like I said yesterday, the players battled all weekend long and gave Fargo all they could handle.  They should be very proud of their effort, considering they were playing on the road with a very short bench against a quality hockey club.

The Stars return to the IceBox this Wednesday night for a St. Patrick's Day game against the Des Moines Buccaneers.  Call 474-STAR ext.1 to get your tickets.  There will be $1 green beer from 6:00pm-7:00pm, so wear green, arrive early, and take part in all of the IceBox shenanigans.

Go Stars.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

B³ Live Blog: Lincoln Stars vs. Fargo Force 3/13

Join us once again tonight as we blog live during the Stars vs. Force game.  Faceoff for the game is at 7:05pm.  The chat will begin around 7:00pm.  We had a great turnout last night for the Stars win, and I hope that continues tonight.  Layla will be running the chat this evening, so make sure you thank her for helping out.  Go Stars.

Friday, March 12, 2010

B³ Post-Game Recap 3/12: Lincoln 4, Fargo 3 OT Shootout

Stars Nation:  "Hallelujah!"

The Lincoln Stars used a gutsy effort on the road tonight in Fargo to come from behind and beat the Force 4-3 in overtime-shootout.  Down 2-0 early in the second period, the Stars rallied for two goals in the second period, all scored by forward Dominick Shine, to even the game at 2-2 going into the third period.  In the third, Fargo got out to an early 4-3 lead, but Dominick Shine wasn't done.  Shine added his third goal of the game halfway through the third period to complete the hat trick and even the game at 3-3.  After a scoreless 4-on-4 overtime period, the Stars went 3-for-3 in the shootout (Alfieri, Gibbons, Hibbeler scored), and goaltender Matt Green stopped all three Fargo shots he faced to seal the victory for Lincoln.  With the win, the Stars snapped a number of losing streaks.  13 straight one goal losses, snapped.  7 game losing streak, snapped.  4 game road  losing streak, snapped.

Great road win tonight against very good Fargo team.  The players battled all night long and never gave up.  The Stars played the majority of the game shorthanded, as John McCarron was injured early in the matchup, while Brodie Reid and Will Rayner were not on the roster.  It is unknown the severity of the injury suffered by McCarron.  Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye mentioned briefly on the air tonight that Reid and Rayner will not be with the team the rest of the season. 

Stars fans should be very proud of the players tonight.  Despite being shorthanded, they never gave up and kept fighting.  I'm sure the players are beaming right now, as they should.  Congrats to them.  I hope they enjoy the win tonight, and keep battling tomorrow night.

Go Stars.

It wouldn't be a Stars win without a little "Choo Choo!"

Note:  We will be chatting again tomorrow night when the Stars knock heads with the Force.  Faceoff is at 7:05pm.  The chat will start around 7:00pm.

B³ Live Blog: Lincoln Stars vs. Fargo Force 3/12

Join us tonight as we chat while the Stars battle the Fargo Force.  We will be online and chatting around 7:15pm.  Faceoff for the game tonight is 7:35pm.  For those that might be new to the blog, stop by tonight to interact with other Lincoln fans as we either listen to the game on the radio, or watch it on B2.  You don't have to register to comment.  Just post a screen name and chat away.  Hope to see you all there.  Go Stars.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

B³ Weekend Preview - Fargo Force

The Lincoln Stars will look to snap out of their current six game losing streak when they travel north on I-29 to North Dakota for a weekend series tilt against the Fargo Force.  The Stars are still licking their wounds after they wrapped up an eight game home stand with a record of 1-5-2, while being outscored 31-15.  With only 9 games remaining in the regular season, the Stars still find themselves in last place in the USHL West Division with a record of 13-30-8 (34 points).  The Friday night game will begin at 7:35pm, while the Saturday night game starts at 7:05pm.

Head Coach Steve Johnson and his Fargo Force currently sit in second place in the USHL West Division with a record of 33-13-4 (70 points), only 4 points behind the Omaha Lancers.  With 10 regular season games remaining on their schedule, the Force are right in the thick of a divisional championship race with the Omaha Lancers.  The Force and the Stars have faced each other two times this season, with Fargo winning both contests.  On 10/2/09, the Stars opened the 2009-'10 regular season with a loss when the Force beat the Stars 5-2.  In their second matchup on 1/30/10, the Stars played very well at home but lost a nail-biter to Force by a score of 2-1.  The Force have a home record of 17-7-2, while the Stars sport a 7-14-4 away record.  The Stars have not won the road game since beating Tri-City 6-2 on 1/20/09.

Like the Waterloo Blackhawks whom the Stars lost to this past Tuesday, the Force field a very deep, fast team.  The Force are led by four forwards who have scored more than 45 points this season:  Corey Leivermann (52 points), Matt Leitner (50 points), Nate Condon (49 points) and Chase Grant (46 points).  The six top point getters for the Force are forwards, so this is a team with enough depth up front to score a lot of goals.  The Force, like the Stars, are a team that does not shy away from physical play.  The Stars lead the USHL in penalty minutes with 1496, while the Force aren't too far behind in third place with 1225.  The Force have already clinched a playoff spot this season, but what the Force are really driving for is that top position in the USHL West Division.

Will the Force overlook the Stars?  Can the Stars rebound from their disastrous eight game home stretch?  Will Steve Johnson remain undefeated against the team he coached for 10 seasons?  

Go Stars.

Note:  Rumors abound that Stars forward Brodie Reid is no longer on the team.   The particulars about his absence hasn't been officially reported by anyone in the media, nor has the move been noted on Pointstreak.  Reid was in street clothes this past Tuesday night for the Stars game against Waterloo, with most thinking he was sitting due to the USHL sanctioned 5 game suspension he was given for his role in a last-minute line brawl against the Chicago Steel on 3/5/10.

We will be blogging live for both games this weekend, so I hope to see a good turnout from all the Stars fans out there.  The more, the merrier.  I will post the chat article sometime during the day on Friday.  Keep an eye out for that.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tuesday Night Fights: Bruneteau vs. Panzarella

Special thanks to the person who recorded this.  I thought the fans out there who weren't at the game would enjoy this.  Very good quality.  Both players landed some heavy, heavy punches.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

B³ Post-Game Report 3/9: Waterloo 8, Lincoln 6

I'll let Yeti edit this into a full recap, but please post your game comments in this thread. The Stars gave up not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, but six unanswered goals to the Blackhawks in the last 32 minutes of the game, five in the last 20, blowing a 6-2 lead and losing 8-6.

We are officially inventing new ways to lose.

On the plus side, if anyone was going to burn us, I'm glad it was Jon Puskar. Great player. Great teammate. Two goals, one assist. (Sigh)

Monday, March 8, 2010

B³ Pre-Game Report: Waterloo Blackhawks vs. Lincoln Stars 3/9

The Lincoln Stars will wrap up their eight game home-stand and hopefully snap their five game losing streak Tuesday night at the IceBox when the Stars host the Waterloo Blackhawks.  In their past seven home games, the Stars are 1-4-2 and have been outscored 23-9.  In their past four games, the Stars offense has only been able to generate a total of 2 goals.  The Stars have a record of 13-29-8 (34 points) and are in last place in the USHL West Division.  Faceoff for the game Tuesday night is at 7:05pm.    
The Waterloo Blackhawks occupy fourth place in the USHL East Division with a record of 26-22-2 (54 points).  Unless the Blackhawks completely fall apart in their final 10 games, Waterloo should make the playoffs, most likely as the fourth seed in the USHL East Division.  This will be the fourth and final time the Blackhawks and the Stars face each other this season with the 'Loo winners of two out of the previous three games.  The last time these two teams knocked heads at the IceBox this season, the Stars won 4-1 on 11/14/09. 

At the beginning of this season, the Blackhawks struggled much like the Stars.  In their first 10 games of the season, Waterloo was 2-8 and had all kinds of problems stopping the puck from finding the back of their net.  In fact, the 'Loo gave up a staggering 49 goals in those 10 games.  However, unlike the Stars, the Blackhawks have been able to pull it together defensively and have played much better since the x-mas break.  Since 12/29/09, the Blackhawks have a record of 17-7-1 and have climbed out of the West Division cellar into fourth place, and a probable Clark Cup playoff spot. 

The Blackhawks are led on offense by forwards J.T. Brown (63 points), Brock Montpetit (61 points), Tyler Barnes (55 points), and Derek Arnold (51 points).  As you can see, the Blackhawks have four players who have scored at least 50 points this season.  No other team in the USHL can match this.  In fact, there is no team currently in the USHL with three players on their roster with 50 or more points.  To put it in perspective, the leading scorer on the Stars roster is forward Brodie Reid, who has 36 points.  This 'Loo team can flat out put the biscuit in the basket.

Of course, this game will also mark the return of two former Stars players, forwards Jimmy Siers and Jonathan Puskar.  Two of the more popular players among the fans, Siers and Puskar were traded from Lincoln to Waterloo at different times this season for draft picks.  Siers missed two months due to an injury, but he is healthy now and playing very well.  One of my favorites, Puskar has scored 1 goal and 2 assists in 10 games with the Blackhawks this season.  Both of these players add so much to the Waterloo lineup that can't be seen on the scoresheet.  You won't find two more hard-working, energetic players in the USHL than Siers and Puskar.  I hope the Stars fans in attendance Tuesday night give them both a round of applause if they are in the starting lineup.

The Blackhawks have a lot to play for in this matchup as they start their playoff push with only 10 games remaining in the season.  The Stars can certainly play the role of spoiler Tuesday night, but they'll have to figure out very quickly how to score goals.  The Stars beat the Blackhawks at the IceBox back in November of '09, but the 'Loo are a MUCH different team right now.  Despite the losing streak and the struggles this season, the Stars lead the USHL in attendance with an average of 4,179 per game, which is encouraging.  The fans are still behind this team, and I hope that continues throughout these final five home games.

Go Stars.

Notes:  The official USHL website posted an article today highlighting the two recent college commitments of Stars defenseman Dax Lauwers and forward Jarrod MermisClick here to read the article.  Remember, you heard that news first here at the B³!  :)

The official USHL website has also posted an article in regards to former Stars defenseman Michael Sdao, who just completed his freshman season at Princeton University.  Sdao answers a number of questions related to his time with the Stars, and with Princeton.  Click here to read the article.  Thanks to "Starstuck" for the heads up.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

B³ Snapshots of the Game - Muskies at Stars 3/6

For this edition, I thought I'd honor the two Lincoln players who recently committed to college.  Defenseman Dax Lauwers is pictured first during the pre-game starting lineups.  Dax will be attending Army and playing hockey for the Golden Knights this Fall.  The second picture is forward Jarrod Mermis.  Jarrod will be attending Denver University and playing hockey for the Pioneers this Fall.  Congrats to Dax and Jarrod!  Stars Nation are proud of you both!  GO Stars!

Thanks to Brandon Anderson for these two shots.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

B³ Post-Game Report 3/6: Lincoln 1, Sioux City 2

Costly penalties doomed the Lincoln Stars Saturday at the Ice Box, as the Sioux City Musketeers coasted to probably the most stress-free 2-1 victory in hockey history.

Lincoln's John McCarron committed a slashing penalty on the opening faceoff, starting the Muskies off on a power-play. Stephan Vigier scored 58 seconds into the game on goaltender Matt Green, and the Stars immediately were playing from behind.

Sioux City controlled the rest of the first period, outshooting the Stars 16-8 before the intermission. The Stars came out a little bit more energized in the second period, but the Black and Blue turned it over in its own zone, handing Ryan Carpenter an unassisted goal that went in off the right pipe 10:18 in. Green never saw it because of traffic in front of the net.

While some fans may have left at that point or wanted to leave, the Stars soon picked up a two-man advantage. Kyle Gibbons ripped a slapshot from the point past goalie Matt Skoff, pulling the Stars back within one and providing a glimmer of hope with 7:27 left in the second. One of the lone bright spots on the night was the play of forwards Kyle Gibbons and Sam Alfieri at the point on the power-play, even though the Stars only had three opportunities.

Lincoln outshot Sioux City 12-7 in the second, though only a couple tested Skoff. Andrew Ammon hit the post on a breakaway late in the second.

They say the first few minutes and last few minutes of each period are where hockey games are won and lost. And so any chance the Stars had of coming out blazing to start the third period were killed when they took another slashing penalty 24 seconds in, putting Lincoln back on the penalty kill.

The teams played pretty much a sleeper for most of the third period. Lincoln only put four shots on goal in the last 20 minutes, while the Muskies just muscled Lincoln off the puck and held it in the north end of the Ice Box. With five minutes left, Sioux City called a timeout and the crowd began to try and will Lincoln to score, but once again, a cross-checking penalty with 3:50 left severely hampered a comeback chance. Lincoln was unable to get close to a goal in the final minute, and now are 22 points behind fourth-place Tri-City with only 10 games to play, meaning the Stars are officially eliminated from playoff contention.

So, I know we've all been expecting it for a long time now, but how does it feel to be officially eliminated from playoff contention? The Stars hadn't missed the playoffs since 2003-04.

B³ Snapshots of the Game - Steel at Stars 3/5

Thanks again to Brandon Anderson (official photographer of the Lincoln Stars) for letting me use his pictures on the Black and Blue Blog.  First up is a picture of Stars forward Garrett Peterson bringing the puck up the ice.  The second shot is a picture of Stars forward Brodie Reid mixing it up with a Chicago Steel player during the scrum at the end of the game.

B³ Post-Game Recap 3/5: Lincoln 0, Chicago 3

The IceBox in Lincoln, NE was the scene once again Friday night as the Stars hosted the Chicago Steel in what turned out to be yet another disappointing home shutout loss.   The Steel shutout the Stars 3-0, sending Lincoln to their fourth straight home loss.  In the last three home games, the Stars have managed to score only 1 goal.  With the win, the Steel swept the season series against Lincoln, 4-0.  With the loss, the Stars dropped to 13-28-8 (34 points), still "good" enough for last place in the USHL West Division.  The Stars home record is now 6-14-4.

After a scoreless first period, the Steel opened the scoring in the second period when former Omaha Lancers forward Danny Mattson scored his tenth goal of the season, which would turn out to the game winning goal.  Third period Chicago goals from Mark Adams (PP) and Alex Carpenter put the icing on the cake as the Steel breezed to the 3-0 win.  The Stars went a dismal 0-for-6 on the powerplay, while the Steel were 1-for-4 with the man advantage.  Steel goaltender Connor Wilson stopped all 28 shots he faced to record his second shutout of the season.  Wilson finished the season series against Lincoln with a 4-0 record, a 2.45 goals against average, and a .931 save percentage.  Fittingly, Wilson was named the number one star of the game last night.  Stars goaltender Jared Coreau stopped 31 of 34 shots in the loss.

Another tough one to watch last night.  I'm not sure why this team has so much trouble scoring goals, but I thought they really never tested Connor Wilson last night.  In my opinion, Wilson didn't have to work that hard last night to record the shutout.  The Stars powerplay unit had some decent chances, but Lincoln never put enough quality shots on goal to make Wilson look rattled during the game.  The majority of the 28 shots on goal from the Stars came from the perimeter, and very few rebounds and second chances were there for Lincoln forwards.  I didn't see very much crashing the net either by the Stars, but credit the Steel defensemen for keeping the Stars offensive rushes limited a few shots and that's it.  The Steel showed that they wanted it more last night, so hats off to them.  I thought the score could have been a lot worse if it wasn't for a few timely saves by Jared Coreau.  Coreau stopped more than one breakaway and odd-man rush during the game to keep the Stars close.  In the end, you can't win any games if you don't score goals.

With only 18 second remaining in the third period, the game erupted into a line brawl on the ice.  After a hard (but clean) check by Dominik Shine, the Steel took offense and went after Shine to exact revenge.  After that, it was mayhem on the ice for a good 5 minutes.  Receiving fighting majors for the Stars was Dominik Shine, Brodie Reid, and Dax Lauwers.  Stars defenseman Will Rayner dropped the gloves and tried to get a Chicago Steel player to fight, but the Steel player refused so Rayner was only assessed an "unsportsmanlike conduct game misconduct," so it is unknown if Rayner will also be suspended for his actions.  Because the penalties took place with less than 5 minutes remaining in the third period, all four players could be suspended for at least one game.  It is unknown if all four will sit out for the Sioux City game Saturday night, or if the USHL will allow the Stars to stagger the suspensions so that only two players sit out Saturday night, and the other two players sit out the game next Tuesday (against Waterloo).

The Stars return to the IceBox tonight to face the Sioux City Musketeers.  Faceoff is at 7:05pm.

Go Stars.

Notes:  According to Brent Wagner of the Lincoln Journal Star, Lincoln forward Jarrod Mermis has committed to Denver University.  As reported first here on the Black and Blue Blog, the article linked above states that both Mermis and Dax Lauwers (Army) will attend their respective schools starting this Fall.  The Mermis commitment has now been posted on Chris Heisenberg's 2010 NCAA Recruit Page.  Congrats to Jarrod!

I'll post the "Snapshots of the Game" later today.  Thanks to Brandon Anderson for the IceBox shot pictured above.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

B³ Weekend Preview - Chicago and Sioux City

The Lincoln Stars will once again return to the IceBox this weekend to take on the Chicago Steel on Friday night, and the Sioux City Musketeers on Saturday night.  Home ice has not been kind to the Stars this season, as Lincoln sports a dismal 6-13-4 record at the IceBox.  The Stars currently have an overall record of 13-27-8 (34 points), and are in last place in the USHL West Division (I'm getting sick of saying that).  

Up first for the Stars this weekend will be the USHL East Division Chicago Steel.  The Steel have a record of 19-22-5 (43 points) and are in fifth place in their division.  As I write this article, the Steel are on the road playing the Sioux Falls Stampede, with the Stampede winning 1-0 at the end of the first period.  The game Friday night will be the fourth and final time these two teams face each other this season.  The Steel are 3-0 against the Stars this season, but two of those wins were only by one goal.  The last time these two teams knocked heads at the IceBox (10/23/09), the Steel won a barn-burner, 7-5.  The Steel are 8-13-4 on the road this season, but have won 3 out of their last 4 away games.

The Steel have traditionally been a team that can score a lot of goals, but have issues stopping pucks from finding the back of their own net.  That is the case once again this season, although the offense isn't as potent this season as in the past.  The Steel seemed to have given up on this season earlier this month when they traded a number of their top players to different teams.  Gone are forwards Greg Wolfe, Mark Anthoine, and Alex Krushelnyski.  At the time, the Steel were only 5 points behind Waterloo for the last playoff spot in the USHL East Division, so the Steel "yard sale" which took place at the trade deadline left many hockey fans scratching their heads.  Like the Stars, it appears the Steel are building for next season by trading veterans away to playoff teams, and stockpiling draft picks.  That's not to say this Chicago team is without skilled players, on the contrary.  Chicago is still led on offense by one of the top young forwards in the league, Andrei Kuchin.  In three games against the Stars this season, Kuchin has scored 3 goals and 2 assists.  Another good young forward on the Steel is Jake Chelios, son of NHL ironman Chris Chelios.  On the blueline, Chicago is led by defenseman Kevin Lind.  Lind has the size (6'3", 200 pounds) and skill that has NHL scouts drooling.  In net, the Steel have one of the better young goaltenders in the league in Connor Wilson.  Wilson is 3-0 against the Stars this season with a 3.24 goals against average and a .914 save percentage in those three games.  Wilson is starting the game tonight (Thu) against the Sioux Falls Stampede, so I would not be surprised if the Steel start goaltender Nick Pisellini against the Stars Friday night.

Saturday night, the Lincoln Stars will host the Sioux City Musketeers.  The Muskies sport a record of 18-23-6 (42 points), and are in fifth place in the USHL West Division.  Like the Stars, Sioux City finds itself on the outside looking in this season, in terms of the playoffs.  The Muskies are 10 points behind fourth place Tri-City for the last playoff spot in the West.  This will be the fourth time the Stars and Muskies have faced each other this season.  Surprisingly, the Stars have won two out of three games this season against SC.  The last time these two teams played (2/19/10), it was the Stars who beat the Muskies at the IceBox by a score of 3-1.  In three games against the Musketeers, Lincoln forward Brodie Reid has potted 3 goals and 2 assists to lead the Stars in scoring.  The Musketeers have a road record of 11-12-2, and are winless in their last three away games.

Not unlike the Stars, the Muskies have struggled mightily this season with "lighting the lamp."  Sioux City has scored an anemic 112 goals in 47 games for a 2.38 goals per game average.  The Stars have scored an equally anemic 110 goals in 48 games for a 2.29 goals per game average.  The leading scorer for the Muskies is forward Stephan Vigier (32 points in 45 games), but the native of Notre Dame de Lourdes, Manitoba Canada has been limited to only one goal in three games against the Stars this season.  Vigier recently committed to play collegiate hockey at Northern Michigan University, the same school Stars goaltender Jared Coreau will play for next season.  Mentioned previously, forward Alex Krushelnyski (son of former NHL tough guy Mike Krushelnyski) now calls Sioux City home after the Chicago Steel traded him to the Muskies earlier this month.  Krushelnyski has recorded 2 goals and 2 assists in 8 games with Sioux City since the trade.

These are two teams the Stars can beat, but you never know what to expect at the IceBox this season.  We've seen the Stars come out and play with the best in the league, and we've also seen them come out and lay a big egg.  Chicago isn't nearly as scary offensively as they were earlier on in the season, but they can still bury pucks.  Sioux City might have issues putting the biscuit in the basket, but they can play very good team defense.  Like the Stars, both of these teams have below average special teams.  In fact, the Stars, Steel, and Muskies are the bottom three teams statistically in the USHL in powerplay goal percentage.  With the Steel and the Muskies most likely out of the playoffs, the Stars cannot play the role of spoiler this weekend.  However, they can still put together a winning streak and finish the season on a positive note.  

Go Stars.

What say you?  Will the recent home slide continue?  Will the Stars break out of their slump this weekend?  Which goaltender for the Stars will get the start Friday night?  Will the recent home losses affect the attendance this weekend? 

Notes:  I've heard rumors today that Stars forward Jarrod Mermis recently committed to play hockey for Denver University, but that has not been noted on Chris Heisenberg's 2010 Hockey Recruit Page.  DU is a VERY good school with a top-notch hockey program.  If these rumors are indeed true, Jarrod should be congratulated.

Former Stars defenseman Matt Bartkowski was in the news this week, as his NHL rights were traded from the Florida Panthers to the Boston Bruins.  Bartkowski, a sophmore defenseman for the Ohio State University, was originally drafted by the Panthers in the seventh round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Congrats to Dax Lauwers!

As rumored, Stars defenseman Dax Lauwers has recently committed to play hockey for Army, according to Chris Heisenberg's 2010 NCAA Hockey Recruit Page.  Like BellTolls mentioned previously, this committment is the first from a member of the Lincoln Stars since the season started.  It is unknown if Dax will start at Army in the Fall of 2010, or 2011.  Through 42 games this season for the Stars, the native of Anchorage, AK has accumulated 2 assists, 42 penalty minutes, 43 shots on goal, and a +1 rating.  Despite the Stars record, Dax is one of only two Stars on the team (and the only defenseman) to have a plus rating.  Dax is a very solid, steady stay-at-home defenseman who does his job very well.  Similar to former Stars defenseman Ross Henry, Dax isn't flashy, but he doesn't need to be to get the job done.

Congrats to Dax!  Go Army!  Hooah!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Snapshots of the Game - Team USA U-18 at Stars 2/27

From the game this past Saturday, I chose two pictures taken by Stars photographer Brandon Anderson.  The first photo is of Stars defenseman Cory Hibbeler walking though the tunnel to the ice, while getting some love from the fans.  The second photo is a great shot of Team USA goaltender Jack Campbell doing his best impression of a sprinkler.

Snapshots of the Game - Lancers at Stars 2/26

Better late than never, we have the Snapshots of the Game from the Lancers vs. Stars game this past Friday night.  Thanks go out to Brandon Anderson, official photographer of the Lincoln Stars.  The first photo is a shot of the Dominik Shine and Ryan Dzingel, the future of the Stars, leading the puck up the ice.  The second photo is a great shot of the Stars saluting the crowd after the game.