Saturday, October 30, 2010

B³ USHL Power Rankings: 10/31

Previous week's ranking in parentheses

1. (2) Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (6-1-0, 12 pts)
Last Week: 2-0
The RoughRiders responded to their first loss of the season with two straight wins over the Dubuque Fighting Saints, 7-3 on Friday, and 3-2 (OT) on Saturday. For that, they find themselves back at the top of these rankings. The RoughRiders are 4-0 on the road.

2. (4) Sioux Falls Stampede (6-2-0, 12 pts)
Last Week: 2-0
Sioux Falls used four power-play goals on 12 attempts to beat the Lincoln Stars, 7-2, and then beat Fargo the next night, 2-1. Sioux Falls is apparently the nicest hockey team to ever play the game. In their two home games this weekend, they only
were caught committed four penalties. On Friday, they went 53 minutes without a penalty. The Stampede are the only undefeated team at home left in the USHL (4-0), and they've won five in a row overall. It's not hard to see why:

In four road games, Sioux Falls has been called for 32 minor infractions.
In four home games, Sioux Falls has been called for 11 minor infractions.

You draw your own conclusions.

3. (5) Green Bay Gamblers (6-2-1, 13 pts)
Last Week: 2-0
Green Bay is finding its form, going 2-0 on the weekend with wins over Youngstown and Team USA. The Gamblers are back atop the USHL with 13 points.

4. (3) Sioux City Musketeers (6-3-0, 12 pts)
Last Week: 1-1
Sioux City split two one-goal games with Tri-City at home. They share the lead in the Western Conference with Sioux Falls. The Muskies also haven't lost on the road, going 3-0 in games away from the Tyson Events Center.

5. (1) Dubuque Fighting Saints (5-3-1, 11 pts)
Last Week: 0-1-1
Dubuque fell twice at the hands of Cedar Rapids, once on the road and once at home. They weren't very competitive in a 7-3 loss, but lost in overtime on Saturday.

6. (6) Chicago Steel (5-4-1, 11 pts)
Last Week: 1-0-1
Chicago lost to Waterloo in a shootout, then beat Team USA on Saturday, 2-1, and they stay in the sixth spot because no one below them did much to deserve a jump ahead just yet.

7. (8) Indiana Ice (4-3-1, 9 pts)
Last Week: 1-0
The Ice only played once, beating Team USA 6-3. Indiana has won two in a row after dropping four of its first six games.

8. (7) Fargo Force (5-4-1, 11 pts)
Last Week: 1-1
Fargo beat Omaha in a shootout and lost at Sioux Falls, 2-1. The Force lost to Chicago earlier in the year, so they stay below the Steel for now, even though they have identical records.

9. (14) Waterloo Blackhawks (4-2-1, 9 pts)
Last Week: 2-0
Waterloo makes the biggest jump of the week, moving up five spots after a shootout win over Chicago and a 7-1 drubbing of Muskegon, both on the road. Waterloo is 3-0-1 on the road. With three of their wins coming over Lincoln and Muskegon, I hesitate to move them up too much just yet, even though 9 points in seven games is impressive.

10. (13) Des Moines Buccaneers (3-1-2, 8 pts)
Last Week: 2-0
The Bucs swept the weekend, and with 8 points in only six games, Des Moines deserves to move up. The Bucs beat Muskegon and Youngstown in a shootout and overtime, respectively. Both wins came on the road. Des Moines has played three straight extra-time games.

11. (9) Tri-City Storm (3-2-4, 10 pts)
Last Week: 1-0-1
Tri-City drops a couple spots, not so much because of their play, but because some teams below them made big moves. The Storm lost a home shootout to Sioux City and then beat the Musketeers, 1-0, in Sioux City.

12. (11) Omaha Lancers (3-3-1, 7 pts)
Last Week: 0-0-1
Omaha dropped a shootout at home to Fargo. The Lancers have lost three straight. It's odd to see Omaha and Lincoln at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, but that's what we have right now.

13. (10) Youngstown Phantoms (4-5-1, 9 pts)
Last Week: 0-1-1
After its hot start, Youngstown continues to slide. The Phantoms were shut out by Green Bay, 2-0, and beaten in a shootout by Des Moines. Both losses came at home, and the Phantoms have now lost five in a row after starting 4-1.

14. (12) Team USA (3-7-0, 6 pts)
Last Week: 0-3
Team USA was 0-3 on the weekend, losing to Indiana, Green Bay and Chicago. The U-17s lost two of them, while the U-18s lost to Chicago on Saturday, 2-1.

15. (15) Lincoln Stars (2-5-0, 4 pts)
Last Week: 0-1
Lincoln lost 7-2 to the Sioux
Default Falls Stampede on Friday. The Stars get a quick chance for redemption with the 'Pede coming to town next Friday.

16. (16) Muskegon Lumberjacks (2-4-2, 6 pts)
Last Week: 0-1-1
The Lumberjacks are doing their best to keep Lincoln out of the cellar in these power rankings. Muskegon was blown out by Waterloo at home, 7-1, and lost in a shootout to Des Moines at home. If you're in a scoring slump, you should hope Muskegon is on your schedule soon. The Lumberjacks are allowing 4.5 goals per game.

B³ Postgame Recap 10/29: Lincoln 2, Sioux Falls 7

The Stars didn't get a lot of help from the zebra's Friday night in Sioux Falls as they were blown out by the Stampede by a score of 7-2.  I'm not one to blame a loss on the officials,  but the referee in this matchup certainly played a part in this game and affected the outcome.  I've always been a proponent of the saying, "Good teams overcome bad calls," but this game was lunacy.  The Stampede were awarded 12 powerplay opportunities to just 2 for Lincoln, and the 'Pede scored on 4 of those 12 opportunities.  Due to being shorthanded for the majority of the game, the Stars were out-shot 48-26 Friday night.

I've watched enough hockey over the years to know that players will commit penalties during the game.  It's going to happen regardless of how disciplined a team is.  In this particular game, the Stampede were not whistled for a penalty in a 53 minute span during this game.  Over 53 minutes played without a penalty called against them!  How does that happen?  During those 53 minutes in which the entire Stampede roster were angels on the ice, the Stars were called for 8 penalties.  At the 1:28 mark of the first period, a SF player was whistled for tripping.  The next time a SF player would be whistled for a penalty would be with just 5 minutes remaining in the third period.  That's incredible.  I'm not sure I've ever seen that in the USHL. 

I'm not going to ramble on about this, but I wanted to at least try and make my point.  The Pointstreak boxscore does not list the name of the referee from last night's game (how convenient.)  He is only listed as "Default Referee."  I understand the USHL is a developmental league for officials as well as for players, but this is ridiculous.  12 powerplay opportunities to only 2.  Did one of the Lincoln coaches steal his girlfriend back in high school?  Did one of them kick his dog?  I don't get it.  It's almost as if the Stars had two opponents Friday night:  the Stampede, and Mr. Default Referee and his warped sense of judgement.

Scoring for the Stars last night was defenseman Cole Martin, who was actually playing forward last night due to the injuries of Garrett Peterson and Josh Berge.  Assisting on the goal from Martin was Jared Hanson and Jake Lynes.  Speaking of Garrett, it was reported by Mike Melbye before the game last night that Petey will be coming off the IR list, and should return to the lineup next weekend.  The other Stars goal was scored by Dominik Shine, with the lone assist going to Ryan Dzingel.  With that assist, Dzingel has extended his point scoring streak to all seven regular season games this season.  Dzingel is still the USHL leading scorer with 12 points (5g, 7a) in seven games played.

Stampede coach Kevin "Borat" Hartzell had a very interesting quote after this game.  Here's the quote from the newspaper article:

"Tonight was a good night, but frankly, we have a tougher opponent (in Fargo)," he said. "Our peer group is Fargo, Omaha and Sioux City. (Fargo) will be a hell of a challenge."

Hopefully the Stars see this quote and use it for some inspiration for the two home games next weekend.  It's hard to be a "tough opponent" when you spend nearly the entire game shorthanded, and barely get any PP chances.  The next game the Stars will play will be next Friday night  (11/5) at the IceBox against these same Sioux Falls Stampede.

Friday, October 29, 2010

B³ Live Chat: Lincoln Stars vs. Sioux Falls Stampede 10/29

Join us tonight as we blog and chat live during the Stars game against the Sioux Falls Stampede!  Faceoff will be at 7:05pm, but we'll be chatting live starting around 6:45pm.  For those who are new to our live game chats, you do not have to register to chat with other Stars fans during the game.  Just type in a user name, and chat away!  This is a great way to interact with other Lincoln fans during road games.  Hope to see you all there!

Lincoln Stars 2010-11 Home Opener Video

Thanks to the Lincoln Stars Facebook page for posting this link today.  Here is the video which played before the Stars' home opener on 10/8/10.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

B³ Pregame Report: Lincoln Stars vs. Sioux Falls Stampede

Unfortunately, this is going to be a very brief pregame report.  BT and myself have both been pretty busy the past couple of days, and we haven't had a lot of free time to devote to the blog.  I apologize for that.

Friday night, the Stars will travel north to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to take on the Stampede.  The puck will drop at 7:05pm.  You can listen online by clicking here, or watch the game via B2 Networks at this link.

The Stampede currently find themselves in fourth place in the USHL Western Conference with a 4-2 record (8 points).  As mentioned by BT in his most recent USHL power rankings article, the Stampede, despite their winning record, have given up more goals than they have scored this season.  In six games, the 'Pede have scored 16 times, and have given up 19 goals.  Sioux Falls are 2-0 at home so far this season.  The Stampede are on a bit of hot streak right now, having won three games in a row coming into Friday night's game against the Stars.  The Stampede are tied for last place in penalty kill percentage (80%), which bodes well for the Stars who are leading the USHL in powerplay percentage (24%).

The Stars will looking to put up back-to-back wins for the first time this season Friday night against Sioux Falls.  Lincoln is currently 2-4 (4 points) and tied for last place in the USHL Western Conference.  The Stars are coming off a hard-fought 3-1 home victory over the Chicago Steel on 10/23.  Stars forward Ryan Dzingel leads the Stars in points with 11 (5g, 6a) in only six games.  Dzingel has scored at least one point in every game so far this season for Lincoln.  This will be the lone game the Stars will play this weekend. 

We'll be blogging/chatting live for this game, so check back here Friday evening to join in on the fun.  I'll post the live chat article sometime Friday afternoon.

Go Stars.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Matt Prapavessis Commits to Bemidji State University

Thanks to the blog reader who emailed me this information.

Lincoln Stars defenseman Matt Prapavessis, a native of Oakville, Ontario, Canada, has recently committed to play collegiate hockey at Bemidji State University.  Matt is a first-year player for the Stars, having played last season for the Mississauga Chargers of the OJAHL.

Through six games for Lincoln this season, Matt has scored 4 points (2g, 2a), and is +2.  Both of his goals have come on the powerplay.  Matt is the definition of a "powerplay quarterback."  Prapavessis is more of an offensive-defenseman, but he is more than capable of being a shut-down defenseman also, which is evident in his plus/minus.

Bemidji State University has a very good hockey program that plays in the WCHA against teams such as the University of Minnesota, Univ. of Michigan, North Dakota Univ., and UNO.  Congrats to Matt....and Go Beavers!

Monday, October 25, 2010

B³ USHL Power Rankings: 10/25

Welcome to second edition of the weekly USHL Power Rankings. These are not official, just this blogger's opinion. I hope to get some comments from blog readers who either agree or disagree with some teams. Remember, I don't see all these teams play, so these are not the opinion of an expert, just a casual observer.

Previous week's ranking in parentheses
1. (5) Dubuque Fighting Saints (5-2-0, 10 pts)
The Fighting Saints take over the top spot after two impressive 4-1 wins. The Saints beat Omaha on Friday and Youngstown on Saturday, both at home. Dubuque is tied for first in the USHL with 10 points through seven games, and they have scored a league-best 29 goals. Dubuque has won five straight after opening the season 0-2. This is a very talented expansion team that had a very good weekend in their first two games at home this season.

2. (1) Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (4-1-0, 8 pts)
The RoughRiders dropped their first game of the season to Chicago at home, 3-2, in their only game of the weekend. Cedar Rapids still possesses the league’s best winning percentage at .800, having played only five games to date. The RoughRiders are allowing just 1.6 goals per game.

3. (4) Sioux City Musketeers (5-2-0, 10 pts)
Like the Fighting Saints, the Muskies also went 2-0 this weekend, beating Des Moines in a shootout, 5-4, on Friday and then upending Tri-City, 6-1, on Saturday. Sioux City shares the USHL lead with 10 points, and they are 2-0 on the road.

4. (6) Sioux Falls Stampede (4-2-0, 8 pts)
With a 2-1 win in overtime at Fargo, Sioux Falls has won three straight. Despite its 4-2 record, Sioux Falls has been outscored on the year 16-19. Still, 8 points in six games gets them near the top no matter how ugly their two losses.

5. (10) Green Bay Gamblers (4-2-1, 9 pts)
Green Bay went 2-0 on the weekend with wins over Waterloo and Team USA. Although the competition wasn't the most quality, 9 points has Green Bay at the top of the Eastern Conference, a place they are familiar to. I'm still not entirely sold on Green Bay because they beat Waterloo in overtime at home and the U-17 Team USA squad. They haven't beaten a team with a winning record yet. Green Bay will be tested Nov. 5-6, when they travel to Dubuque and Sioux City.

6. (8) Chicago Steel (4-4-0, 8 pts)
Through eight games, Chicago's results look like this: W, L, W, L, W, L, W, L...any bets on what their next two results will be? But seriously, Chicago went on the road and beat the only undefeated team in the USHL in Cedar Rapids, and then went and lost to a Lincoln Stars team that was 0-3 at home this season. Hockey's a great game, isn't it? I put Chicago ahead of Fargo because of their two wins over them.

7. (9) Fargo Force (4-3-1, 9 pts)
Fargo dismantled Youngstown, 5-2, on Thursday and lost to Sioux Falls at home in overtime, 2-1, on Saturday. The Force are in third place in the Western Conference with 9 points through eight games.

8. (11) Indiana Ice (3-3-1, 7 pts)
Indiana went 1-0-1 on the weekend, falling to Muskegon in a shootout on Friday and winning against Omaha, 3-0, on Sunday. The Ice were actually outshot 35-30 in their win over the Lancers.

9. (13) Tri-City Storm (2-2-3, 7 pts)
The Storm were 1-1 this weekend, defeating the Lincoln Stars, 4-3, on Friday night, and getting routed at Sioux City, 6-1, on Saturday. Still, the Storm rank ahead of Youngstown because of their win over the Phantoms earlier in the season. In a weird USHL scheduling quirk, the Storm will face Sioux City this weekend for the second and third games in a row.

10. (3) Youngstown Phantoms (4-4-0, 8 pts)
It takes a lot to drop from 3 to 10 after just two games, but Youngstown's results did just that to them. The Phantoms had a phantom of a week, losing at Fargo 5-2 on Thursday and at Dubuque 4-1 on Saturday. That marks three straight three-goal losses for Youngstown, which has allowed a league-worst 27 goals.

11. (2) Omaha Lancers (3-3-0, 6 pts)
I'll take the blame here for misreading the Lancers so far. I had them at No. 2 last week when they were 3-2, and I got a couple e-mails from people saying they weren't that good just yet. Those people were right. Omaha got smoked in two games this weekend, 4-1 at Dubuque and 3-0 at Indiana. The Lancers are having trouble scoring, posting only 10 goals in six games (not even two goals per game). Their leading scorers have three points. By comparison, Dubuque has 12 players with more than three points, three of them being defensemen.

12. (7) Team USA (3-4-0, 6 pts)
The U-17's lost to Green Bay, 3-1, this weekend, and that was the only game for Team USA. Team USA is sixth in the Eastern Conference.

13. (12) Des Moines Buccaneers (1-1-2, 4 pts)
Des Moines only played once this weekend, losing to Sioux City in a shootout. I put the Bucs this high because their three losses came to teams with a combined 14-8 record. The Buccaneers' win over Green Bay is looking more impressive now.

14. (14) Waterloo Blackhawks (2-2-1, 5 pts)
Waterloo only played once this weekend, losing to Green Bay, 2-1 in overtime. The Blackhawks are tied for last in the Eastern Conference with Muskegon.

15. (15) Lincoln Stars (2-4-0, 4 pts)
The Stars fall in here because they still have the worst winning percentage in the USHL right now (.333), despite a 1-1 weekend. But the Stars are coming to life, I believe. With the best power-play in the USHL and the momentum from a big win at home against Chicago, the Stars may turn the corner soon. They still have to shore up the defense, as the Stars are allowing too many goals to be consistently competitive. Forward Ryan Dzingel leads the league in scoring with 11 points (5g, 6a).

16. (16) Muskegon Lumberjacks (2-3-1, 5 pts)
Muskegon went 1-0 on the weekend, beating Indiana in a shootout at home. The Lumberjacks are allowing a league-worst 4.17 goals per game.

Snapshots of the Game: Chicago vs. Lincoln 10/23

Much thanks to blog readers MacAttack, Starstruck, and Layla for helping out and letting me use some of their photos from the Chicago game this past Saturday night.  I really appreciate it!  I'm sure the fans out there who couldn't go to this game appreciate it also.

The two Minnesota players on the roster:  Chris Casto and Eric Scheid
Brent Tate talking to Stars trainer Corey Courtney during warmups
The Stars celebrate Matt Prapavessis' third period goal
Stars celebrate Ryan Dzingel's third period empty net goal
Stars goaltender Lukas Hafner
Lincoln Young Guns (and future college teammates):  Ryan Dzingel and Dominik Shine

Ryan Dzingel Named To U.S. Junior Select Team

Lincoln Stars forward Ryan Dzingel has been named to the U.S. Junior Select Team which will compete at the 2010 World Junior "A" Challenge in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada from November 8th to the 14th.  Click here to read the USHL article which was posted today.  22 USHL players were picked to fill the U.S. Junior Select Team roster, and Dzingel was the only Stars player selected.

Ryan is currently the USHL leading point scorer with 11 points (5g, 6a) in six games played.  The second-year forward has committed to play collegiate hockey at Ohio State University, starting the fall of 2011.

Congrats to Ryan!  Well deserved.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

B³ Postgame Recap 10/23: Chicago 1, Lincoln 3

Wow.  Does it get any better than that, Stars fans?

The Lincoln Stars won their first home game of the season, and snapped a four game losing streak with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over the Chicago Steel at the IceBox Saturday night.  The win was also the first for Chad Johnson as head coach of the Lincoln Stars.  Stars rookie goaltender Lukas Hafner also earned his first win as a member of the Stars as he stopped 30 of 31 shots to record the "W."

After a scoreless opening period which saw the Steel out-shoot the Stars 10-7, Lincoln opened the scoring early in the second period when Eric Scheid scored a PP goal to give the Stars a 1-0 lead.  Assisting on the goal was Ben Oskroba and Chris Casto.  Casto's shot from the point on the powerplay was initially saved by Steel goaltender Connor Wilson, but Oskroba, who was screening the goaltender, gobbled up the rebound and passed it across the low slot to Scheid who was all alone for the goal.  It was a great effort by Oskroba to gain control of the rebound, and quickly recognize that Scheid was wide open for the shot.  The Steel would stay in the game as newly acquired forward Matthew Friese scored seven minutes after the Scheid goal to even the game up at 1-1.  That would be the only shot Stars goaltender Lukas Hafner would not save the entire night.  The second period saw Lincoln out-shoot Chicago 11-5. 

In the third, it was the Stars who wanted it more than the Steel as Lincoln scored two goals to seal the victory.  The Steel out-shot the Stars 16-10 in the third, but it was Lincoln who made the most of their opportunities.  Early in the third period, with Steel forward, and former Stars draft pick, Jay Camper in the sin bin for holding, the Stars powerplay unit would strike again.  Defenseman Matt Prapavessis scored his second PP goal of the season with a very good low wrist shot from near the blueline which beat Wilson low to the stick side.  Wilson had some traffic in front of him, so I'm not sure he saw Prapavessis' shot clearly.  "Papa V" is a great PP quarterback, and it was evident last night.  Prapavessis took his time, had his head up, and put a great shot on goal that just snuck in.  It's just my opinion, but I think he's a big reason why the Stars are now the top PP team in the entire USHL, clicking at 24%.  Assisting on the eventual game winning goal by Prapavessis was Ryan Dzingel and Andrew Schmit.

The Steel tried, but could not solve Hafner in the third period as the Toledo, OH native stopped all 16 shots on goal he saw in the final 20 minutes.  The Steel pulled goaltender Connor Wilson with about one minute remaining, but it was the Stars who scored the insurance, empty-netter goal.  Forward Ryan Dzingel tapped in a John McCarron shot to give the Stars the 3-1 win.  The Stars finished the game 2-for-3 on the PP, while the Steel finished 0-for-5 with the man advantage.  The Steel outshot the Stars 31-28 in the game.

Great effort by the Stars last night as they showed a lot of heart.  Lincoln's special teams did a fantastic job last night also, scoring the two PP goals, and not allowing any Chicago PP goals.  With the lead in the third period, the Stars never took their boot off the throat of the Steel, which was great to see.  I was a bit worried that with the lead, the Stars would start to play in a shell and eventually allow the Steel back in the game.  They continued to play aggressive in the third, and eliminated the mental breakdowns which plagued them at home the last few games.  They wanted it more than the Steel in the third period, and it showed.  It wasn't a sellout crowd, but it was unbelievably loud inside the IceBox during that last minute of play.  Watching all of the players doing the "choo choo" dance certainly brought a smile to my face, and to many sitting around me.


With his goal and assist against the Steel, Stars forward Ryan Dzingel now has scored 11 points (5g, 6a) in 6 games and is currently the USHL's top scorer.  This kid just knows where to be with the puck.  He's very fun to watch, and I'm sure he's going to continue to pile up the points for Lincoln.

Former Stars forward Tucker Brockett was held without a point last night, and was -1.  It was nice to hear our fans give him a warm reception while he was on the ice during the starting lineups.

Stars captain Josh Berge was scratched last night due to a minor upper body injury.  From what I heard at the game last night, Berge should return to the lineup next weekend.  Jared Hanson returned to the lineup for the Stars after breaking his hand during the Fall Classic.  Forward Garrett Peterson remains on the sideline as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery.  Petey should be back in the lineup at the end of October, or the first part of November.

Brandon Anderson was not able to make it to the game last night, so I was hoping to enlist the help of some other bloggers.  If you took pictures at the game last night, and you would be willing to share some of them, please send me an email at:  I know that a lot of the player parents and family members who read this blog and couldn't be at the game would appreciate looking at some pics.

That's it for me!  Thanks for reading, and props to the Stars for digging deep for the victory last night.  They certainly deserved it.  I'd love to hear from all the fans now.  What did you think?

Go Stars!

Snapshots of the Game: Tri-City vs. Lincoln 10/22

Thanks to Brandon Anderson for allowing me to use some of his pics from the game tonight.  Much appreciated.  If you would like to contact Brandon to purchase any of his photos, you can email him at:  bapics@live.comClick here to check out Brandon's website.  Thanks again, BA!

Starting lineup

Ryan Dzingel
Sam Alfieri and Frank Misuraca celebrate Jake Lynes' first period goal
Dominik Shine tangles with a Storm player
Eric Scheid
Ryan Dzingel celebrates his second goal of the game

Friday, October 22, 2010

B³ Postgame Recap 10/22: Tri-City 4, Lincoln 3

It was another heartbreaker at the IceBox Friday night as the Lincoln Stars lost their fourth straight game, falling 4-3 to the Tri-City Storm.  It was also the third straight home loss for Lincoln.  Despite out-shooting the Storm 36-27 in the game, and outplaying Tri-City for the majority of the game, the Stars could not put a full 60 minutes together and capture their first home win of the season.  

It was another rough start for the Stars as the Storm jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead just a little over a minute into the game when Sorren Jonzzon of TC scored to put the Stars in an early hole.  The Stars came out a bit soft, and it was TC who dictated play early on in the first period.  Once the Stars found their legs, it was all Lincoln after that.  Stars forward Ryan Dzingel scored on the powerplay with about 5 minutes remaining in the first period to tie it up at 1-1.  Dominik Shine and Jake Lynes assisted on Dingel's goal  Less than 40 seconds later, the Stars found the back of the net again as forward Jake Lynes scored to give Lincoln a 2-1 lead going into the first intermission.  Assisting on Lynes' goal was Ryan Dzingel and Kyle Quick.

In the second period, the Stars came out very strong but it was the Storm who struck first.  After a couple of questionable calls by referee Tom Chmielewski, the Storm were gift-wrapped a 5-on-3 powerplay opportunity.  TC forward Darik Angeli, who was acquired by the Storm in the Tucker Brockett trade, scored on the PP to knot it up at 2-2.  Despite a lot of pressure on TC goaltender Steven "Don't call me Michael" Bolton, the Stars could not bury the biscuit in the second period.  Late in the period, it all fell apart for Lincoln.  The Stars were caught sleeping in the last minute of the second period as the Storm scored two quick goals, including what turned out to be the game winning goal.  With only 1:03 remaining, Stars forward Kenny Brooks scored to give the Storm their first lead of the game at 3-2.  TC wasn't done as Darik Angeli scored his second goal of the game, and the eventual game winner, with only 7 seconds remaining in the second period.  What life the Stars had was sucked out of the building with those two late goals.  Again, the Stars outplayed the Storm for the majority of the period, but a mental lapse late in the period doomed them.  At the end of two, the score was 4-2 Tri-City.

In the third, the Stars again came out very strong and peppered Bolton with numerous shots, but could only score one goal.  Two minutes into the third, Stars forward Ryan Dzingel scored his second goal of the game to pull the Stars within one goal at 4-3.  Stars defenseman Frank Misuraca had the lone assist on Dingel's goal.  Dzingel had one of his best games at the IceBox, and could have scored at least four goals tonight if it wasn't for the efforts of TC goaltender Steven Bolton.  Dzingel ended the game with three points (2 goals, 1 assist).  Late in the third, the Stars threw everything but the kitchen sink on net, but they could not solve Bolton.  Final score, Tri-City 4, Lincoln 3.  Another game in which the Stars outplayed their opponent, but could not get past a few critical mental lapses which cost them the game.  Goaltender Lukas Hafner replaced Kevin Murdock at the start of the third period and saved all six shots on goal he saw in the final 20 minutes.  Murdock surrendered 4 goals on 21 shots over the first two periods.

This was yet another one that left many fans shaking their heads afterwards.  The Stars were the better team tonight, but give credit to TC for capitalizing on the few quality chances they had in this game.  Bolton was on his game for sure, and was a big reason why TC left the IceBox with two points.  The Stars finished the game 1-for-5 on the powerplay, while the Storm were 1-for-6 with the man advantage. 

Tough loss tonight, especially considering the Stars played very well at times.  The metal lapses have to be corrected.  Lincoln will look for redemption tomorrow (Sat.) night when the Chicago Steel invade the IceBox.  It won't get any easier for the Stars as the Steel are coming off HUGE road win tonight against the previously undefeated Cedar Rapids Roughriders.  The Steel beat the 'Riders tonight, 4-3 in Cedar Rapids.  Who scored the game winning goal for the Steel?  Why it was Tucker Brockett, formerly of the Storm and the Stars.  Whether it's Angeli or Brockett, the Stars came seem to catch a break.

See you all tomorrow night at the IceBox.  Go Stars.