Thursday, October 21, 2010

B³ Lincoln Stars Weekend Preview: Tri-City and Chicago

The Lincoln Stars will play their first home weekend series of the season Friday and Saturday night when they host the Tri-City Storm and the Chicago Steel.  The Stars will be seeking their first home win of the season after two losses the past two Friday nights at the IceBox.  Lincoln will also be looking to snap out of a current three-game losing streak.  The Stars are 1-3 (2 points) on the season, and are currently in last place in the USHL Western Conference.  Faceoff for both games this weekend will occur at 7:05pm.  You can listen to the games and the silky smooth voice of Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye online at AM 1480 KLMS, view the boxscore on Pointstreak.com, or watch the games on B2 Networks

First up for the Stars on Friday night will be the Tri-City Storm, the only team the Stars have beaten so far this season.  The Storm have a record of 1-1-3 (5 points), and are currently in 6th place in the USHL Western Conference.  As their record indicates, the Storm have been a bit snakebit so far this season in the overtime period.  The Storm have lost two of their three OT games in the shootout, and one game in the extra period.  In those two shootout attempts, the Storm went 0-for-9.  On 10/1/10, the Stars beat the Storm in Kearney by a score of 4-3 in a shootout.  Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock stood on his head that game, stopping 38 of 41 shots in regulation, and all 5 shooters in the shootout.  The big news coming out of Storm camp this week was the trade of leading scorer, and former Stars forward, Tucker Brockett to the Chicago Steel.  Seems as if you're wearing a letter, and one of the better forwards in TC, you better be ready to be traded.  Josh Berge, anyone?  Brockett always played well against the Stars, so it will be nice to not see him on the Storm roster.  I'm sure the opening night loss to the Stars is still fresh in their minds, so I expect the Storm to come out very strong in this game.  Can the Stars weather the Storm early on?  :groan:  Yeah, I know...bad pun.

Speaking of Tucker Brockett and his new club, the Chicago Steel will be special guests at the IceBox Saturday night.  The Steel sport a record of 3-3 (6 points) and are tied for 3rd place in the USHL Eastern Division.  Over the past few years, the Steel have done surprisingly well against the Stars at the IceBox.  Going back to the start of the 2007-08 season, Chicago have a 5-1 record against the Stars at the IceBox.  In those six games, the Steel have outscored the Stars, 29-21.  Looking at those stats, the Steel have not had issues over the years putting the puck in the net against Lincoln in their own rink.  In those six games, the Steel have averaged almost six goals scored per game at the IceBox.  Traditionally, the Steel have been offensive-heavy teams, with not a lot of support on the blueline or in net.  In years past, they played a lot like the Edmonton Oilers of the NHL in the 1980's.  We'll let you score four or five goals per game, because we're going to score six.  So far this season, the Steel have scored 14 goals, and surrendered 14 goals, in six games played.  These games against the Steel are always entertaining to watch, so don't blink.  It could be another high scoring affair at the IceBox Saturday night.  Oh yeah, that pesky Tucker Brockett should be in the lineup for the Steel.  Hopefully he takes the night off.

Of course, the big news coming out of Lincoln this week was the return of head coach and GM Chad Johnson.  Johnson took a leave of absence last month due to a medical condition, but he is back in Lincoln and will be behind the bench both nights this weekend.  I'm very happy that Chad is healthy, and ready to start winning games.  I can only guess that this last month has been a bit of a distraction for the players, with the coaching situation as it was.  Let's hope with Chad back leading the troops, the players will respond positively and begin putting some winning streaks together.  I really hope the fans in attendance this weekend give him a big round of applause, and welcome Chad to his new "home."

Remember, on Friday night the Stars will be hosting "Raising Coats for Raising Cane's" night at the IceBox.  Bring a new, or gently used coat for donation, and you will be entered in a drawing for some cool prizes.  Click here to read more about that.  On Saturday night, the Stars will be hosting a "Presents 4 Pets" collection drive at the IceBox.  Click here to read more about what kinds of animal supplies, pet food, cleaning supplies, and miscellaneous items can be donated.  This is a great cause which benefits a number of animal rescue agencies.  My two pups, Gunnar and Madison, approve. :)

Does it get any better than a full weekend of games at the IceBox?  I think not!  Let's pack the joint this weekend and get LOUD!  Go Stars.

Edit:  Make sure you are in your seats at the second intermission during Friday night's game to watch the Lincoln Ice Hockey Association Mites (5-8 year olds) skate around and show off their skills for the fans.  It's always a blast to watch the little ones out on the ice.

Quick Hits:  

Good:  Through four games, the Stars have put 135 shots on goal against the competition, which is an average of 33.8 shots per game. That ranks second-most in the entire USHL in shots per game, behind the Sioux Falls Stampede (34 shots per game). 

5 out of the next 6 games the Stars play will take place at the IceBox.

Bad:  The Stars have given up 140 shots against in four games, which is an average of 35 shots per game against.
 

1 comment:

BellTolls said...

I always enjoy when the little mites skate around during the intermission. The Lincoln Ice Hockey Association does a great job in developing these kids. Some of them can really skate for little guys (and gals)!