Monday, November 29, 2010

B³ Linkorama

Kyle Gibbons - Courtesy Tom Wolf Imaging
I want to apologize for not getting a recap article up for the Fargo game this past Friday night. It was a busy holiday weekend, and I did not have a lot of time in front of a PC.

The Lincoln Stars lost Friday night (11/26) to the Fargo Force, 6-2. Click here to see the Pointstreak boxscore.  The Force got off to a very quick 2-0 lead, and never looked back.  Whenever the Stars scored in this game, the Force came right back and scored goals about a minute later.  Lincoln forwards Eric Scheid and Garrett Peterson scored the two goals for the Stars.  Lukas Hafner started between the pipes for Lincoln, but was pulled in the first period after surrendering 3 goals on 10 shots on net.  Kevin Murdock entered the game in relief of Hafner and stopped 14 of 16 shots, as Fargo scored an empty-netter late in the matchup.  With the loss, the Stars dropped to 9-7-0 (18 points) and are now in 5th place in the tightly contested USHL Western Conference.

The Stars seemed to have fatigued a bit last week, which is understandable considering they played three game in three consecutive nights.  Head Coach Chad Johnson mentioned after the Fargo game that the Stars would work on conditioning this week in practice, since the Stars will also play three games in three consecutive nights this week as well.  The Stars will return to action this Friday night at the IceBox when they will host Team USA U-17.  On Saturday night, the Stars will travel to Iowa to take on the Des Moines Buccaneers.  On Sunday evening, the Stars will once again faceoff against rival Omaha Lancers at the Civic Auditorium in Omaha.  I will post a weekend preview article highlighting these games later in the week.

Stars defenseman Matt Prapavessis will be out of the lineup indefinitely as he is recovering from a concussion suffered in practice.  Concussions can be a very tricky injury, depending on the severity.  Chad Johnson mentioned on the radio last week that it could be until after Christmas until he is healthy enough to play again. Tough break for sure, especially considering how well Matt was playing this season, and how well he was running the Stars' powerplay.

Former Lincoln Stars defenseman Colby Cohen was traded Monday from the Colorado Avalanche to the Boston Bruins.  Click here to read more.  

Lincoln Stars futures draft pick Brad Hawkinson ('94) has committed to play collegiate hockey for the University of Denver, starting the fall of 2013.  Brad played three regular season games for the Stars early this season before being sent back to play for his team (Colorado Thunderbirds U-18) in CO.  Congrats to Brad on the commitment to DU!  Click here to read more from the Denver Post.  The "LetsGoDU" hockey blog has even more on this story.  Click here to read that article.

A couple of blog readers emailed me this article about former Stars goaltender David Reekie. Really interesting read and a few quotes from David. Always nice to hear that Reeks is still playing well at the collegiate level. Click here to read the article.  

“Freshman Kyle Gibbons scored with 1:01 left in overtime to lead the Canisius College hockey team to a 3-2 victory over nationally-ranked Robert Morris on Saturday." Click here to read the article.  Click here to watch a video of Gibbons talking about his game winning goal.

Former Stars forward Stephen Schultz is "putting on a show" this season playing for the Colorado College Tigers.  Click here to read the article.

Former Stars and current University of North Dakota forward Jason Gregoire is featured here in a video interview from last week.  Gregoire talks about UND's split with UNO two weeks ago, and their now completed matchup with Notre Dame.  Click play below to watch the video.  In Friday night's game, Gregoire scored two goals and one assist to lead the Sioux to a 6-3 victory over the Fighting Irish.  Former Stars forward David Gerths scored one goal for Notre Dame in that game.

If you have any Stars-related articles or videos you'd like to see on the B³ Linkorama, please email me at:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

B³ USHL Power Rankings: November 28

I apologize for missing last week's rankings. I started them, but got really busy and never finished. Here is the latest report on the USHL:

Previous week's ranking in parentheses

1. (7) Green Bay Gamblers (13-3-2, 28 pts)

Last Week: 3-0-0
W, 4-2 vs. Waterloo
W, 4-3 at Sioux Falls
W, 3-2 (SO) at Fargo

Green Bay now leads the USHL with 28 points and has won seven in a row.

2. (1) Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (13-3-1, 27 pts)
Last Week: 2-0-1
W, 5-1 vs. Sioux City
L, 2-3 (OT) at Waterloo
W, 2-1 (SO) vs. Waterloo

Cedar Rapids loses its spot at the top after dropping two of its last five games and falling into second place in the Eastern Conference, though they still have a game in hand on Green Bay.

3. (2) Dubuque Fighting Saints (11-4-2, 24 pts)
Last Week: 1-1-0
W, 1-0 vs. Chicago
L, 1-3 vs. Indiana

Dubuque struggled to score against two of the bottom-tier teams in the USHL in picking up just two points last week.

4. (3) Des Moines Buccaneers (9-3-2, 20 pts)
Last Week: 2-0-0
W, 6-5 (SO) at Chicago
W, 5-3 at Muskegon

Des Moines has the best winning percentage in the Western Conference still at .714.

5. (5) Sioux Falls Stampede (10-6-1, 21 pts)
Last Week: 1-1-1
W, 3-1 at Omaha
L, 3-4 vs. Green Bay
L, 2-3 (SO) at Tri-City

The Stampede are in second place in the Western Conference, and are 7-3 at home and 3-3-1 on the road.

6. (6) Lincoln Stars (9-7-0, 18 pts)
Last Week: 1-2-0
L, 2-6 vs. Omaha
W, 2-1 (OT) at Sioux City
L, 2-6 at Fargo

Lincoln looked better than Omaha when it was 5-on-5, but three power-play goals and an empty-netter makes for a lopsided game in the end. The Stars are still much improved from how they began the year.

7. (8) Omaha Lancers (9-6-2, 20 pts)
Last Week: 2-1-0
W, 6-2 at Lincoln
L, 1-3 vs. Sioux Falls
W, 4-1 vs. Team USA

Two dominating wins sandwiched around a letdown at home vs. Sioux Falls. That pretty much sums up the Lancers season so far. Hard to tell what they're going to do on a given night.

8. (4) Sioux City Musketeers (9-8-1, 19 pts)
Last Week: 0-2-1
L, 1-5 at Sioux City
L, 1-2 (OT) vs. Lincoln
L, 1-4 vs. Indiana

Sioux City has scored 42 goals, tied for the second-worst in the USHL. They need to find some offense to stay competitive in the tight Western Conference. They've lost five in a row.

9. (9) Waterloo Blackhawks (8-6-2, 18 pts)
Last Week: 1-1-1

L, 2-4 vs. Green Bay
W, 3-2 (OT) vs. Cedar Rapids
L, 1-2 (SO) at Cedar Rapids

Waterloo is in third place in the Eastern Conference. They have 18 points, 10 behind Green Bay and 9 behind Cedar Rapids. Last-place Tri-City is closer to first place in the Western Conference than the third place team is in the Eastern Conference to the second-place team. Yes, the East is very top-heavy this year.

10. (15) Fargo Force (8-9-3, 19 pts)
Last Week: 1-0-1
W, 6-2 vs. Lincoln
L, 2-3 (SO) vs. Green Bay

Fargo lost seven in a row at one point because of its absentees playing at the World Juniors, but now has won three of its last four, and has earned points in all four.

11. (11) Tri-City Storm (6-6-4, 16 pts)
Last Week: 2-0-0
W, 2-0 vs. Team USA
W, 3-2 (SO) vs. Sioux Falls

Tri-City won two home games over Thanksgiving break, and they have four more home games left as part of a six-game swing. Plenty of chances to climb the standings before Christmas break.

12. (14) Youngstown Phantoms (8-10-1, 17 pts)
Last Week: 3-0-0
W, 2-1 vs. Indiana
W, 3-1 at Chicago
W, 3-2 at Muskegon

Youngstown is 6-6 on the road and only 2-4-1 at home.

13. (10) Muskegon Lumberjacks (7-7-4, 18 pts)
Last Week: 0-2-0
L, 3-5 vs. Des Moines
L, 2-3 vs. Youngstown

Muskegon has lost three straight home games.

14. (13) Indiana Ice (6-9-2, 14 pts)
Last Week: 2-1-0
L, 1-2 at Youngstown
W, 4-1 at Sioux City
W, 3-1 at Dubuque

Indiana was on the bus a lot over Thanksgiving, playing three road games from Ohio to Iowa, but the Ice won two games out of three.

15. (12) Chicago Steel (7-10-3, 17 pts)

Last Week: 0-2-1
L, 0-1 at Dubuque
L, 5-6 (SO) vs. Des Moines
L, 1-3 vs. Youngstown

Chicago has lost eight of its last 10 games.

16. (16) Team USA (5-10-1, 11 pts)
Last Week: 0-2-0
L, 0-2 at Tri-City
L, 1-4 at Omaha

Team USA's younger team had a rough go on its Thanksgiving trip to Nebraska.

Friday, November 26, 2010

B³ Live Chat: Lincoln Stars vs. Fargo Force 11/26

Join us tonight as we blog and chat live during the Stars game against the Fargo Force.  The puck will drop at 7:35pm CST tonight, but we'll be chatting live around 7:15pm.  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!  Go Stars!

B³ Postgame Recap 11/25: Lincoln 2, Sioux City 1 OT

It was the "Dominik Shine Show" in Sioux City, Iowa on Thanksgiving night, as the second-year forward from Pinckney, Michigan scored both goals for Lincoln, including the game-winner in overtime, to lead the Stars to a 2-1 victory over the hometown Musketeers. 

With the win, the Lincoln Stars improved to 9-6-0 (18 points, fourth place in the USHL Western Conference), and are undefeated (3-0) in overtime this season.  I was not in attendance for this game, nor did I watch it on B2 Network, so this recap will be short.  I did listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye call the game.

The first period was pretty much uneventful in this matchup, as both teams were held scoreless.  Lincoln did out-shoot the Musketeers 10-9 in the first twenty minutes.  The Stars killed all three penalties whistled against them in the first period. 

In the second period, the Muskies got on the board early when forward Maxim Gaudreault scored shorthanded roughly three minutes in.  From what I heard on the radio, the Muskies somehow had a 3-on-1 opportunity shorthanded to score the goal.  10 minutes after the Sioux City goal, the Stars were able to tie it up at 1-1 when Dominik Shine scored his third goal of the season.  Stars defenseman Ben Oskroba recorded the lone assist on Shine's goal.  At the end of the second period, the score was all knotted up at 1-1.  In the second, the Muskies out-shot the Stars 11-3.

After a scoreless third period in which the Musketeers out-shot the Stars 8-5, the game went to overtime.  Just 12 seconds into the five-minute overtime period, Dominik Shine blasted the puck past Sioux City goaltender Jake Hildebrand to give Lincoln the 2-1 road victory.  Josh Berge had the only assist on Shine's game-winning overtime goal.  

Great to see the Stars rebound after the 6-2 loss Wednesday night to the Lancers and win on the road against a very good Sioux City squad.  Stars goaltender Lukas Hafner, starting his first game in net since 10-29-10, stopped 27 of 28 shots to record his second win of the season.  Hafner has sat on the bench the past month while Kevin Murdock six straight games, so it was really nice to see him get an opportunity between the pipes and bring home a win for his teammates and coaches.  Another positive tonight was the penalty-kill unit for the Stars.  Lincoln killed all six Sioux City powerplay opportunities in this game, which is encouraging considering how bad Lincoln struggled the night before on the PK against the Omaha Lancers.

With the win against the Muskies, the Stars are now sitting on 499 franchise wins.  The Stars will play the Fargo Force on Friday night in Fargo with the opportunity to wrap up franchise win 500.  We will be blogging/chatting live for the game against the Force, so check back here around 7:15pm Friday night to join in on the fun.  Faceoff for the game against the Force will be at 7:35pm.

Go Stars!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Snapshots of the Game: Omaha vs. Lincoln 11/24

Once again, thanks to Brandon Anderson and Jeff White for letting me use some of their incredible photographs from the game last night.  If you would like to purchase any of the photos from Brandon Anderson, please send him an email at  Remember to click the "Read more" link underneath the pic below to see all of the photos from the game.

I have to say, I looooooove this shot Brandon took of the pregame light show.  One of my all-time favorites!

Wednesday Night Fights: Omaha vs. Lincoln 11/24

Here are the three fights from the Omaha-Lincoln game last night.  Thanks to blog readers "Starstruck" and "Michelle" for recording these videos and posting them on youtube.  Much appreciated!

Brent Tate vs. David Mead

Ben Oskroba vs. Mitch Hughes

Dominik Shine vs. Stefan Demopoulos

B³ Postgame Recap 11/24: Omaha 6, Lincoln 2

Photo courtesy of Brandon Anderson
In what was the most anticipated home game of the season so far, the Lincoln Stars saw their six-game winning streak snapped by the Omaha Lancers by a score of 6-2.  The Lancers scored three goals in the second and third periods to cruise past the Stars and earn their eighth win of the season.  This was the first of eight regular season games the Stars and Lancers will play against each other.  With the loss, the Stars dropped to 8-6-0 (16 points, 5th place in the USHL Western Conference).  The Lancers improved to 6-5-2 (18 points, 4th place in the USHL Western Conference).

The Stars came out strong in the first period of this game, outplaying the Lancers for the most part and earning an early lead.  Halfway through the period, Stars forward Jared Hanson broke in on a 2-on-1 and wristed the puck top-shelf past Lancers goaltender Todd Mathews to give Lincoln the 1-0 advantage.  Dominik Shine collected the lone assist on Hanson's goal.  The rest of the first period was for the most part, uneventful, as the Stars out-shot the Lancers 13-9 in the first 20 minutes.  Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock and Mathews both had to make a number of very good saves on both ends of the ice to keep their teams in the game.  Unfortunately for the Stars and their fans, it was all Omaha in the last 40 minutes of the game.

In the second period, the Lancers got right back in the game early in the period when forward Seth Ambroz wristed a nasty shot past Mudock to tie the game up at 1-1.  The goal by Ambroz came 54 seconds into the second period.  At the 7:43 mark of the second period, the intensity of the game kicked up a notch as it got much more physical and chippy.  It all started at the 7:43 mark when Lancers forward Adam Chlapik was whistled for a fragrant hit from behind on Stars defenseman Frank Misuraca.  Chlapik received a double-minor for hitting from behind, and a game ejection.  Immediately after the hit, Stars forward John McCarron came to the aid of his teammate, tackled Chlapik, and started throwing punches.  Chlapik turtled, and allowed McCarron to beat on him a little bit until the linesmen separated them.  McCarron received a two minute minor for instigating, a five minute major for fighting, and a game ejection.  Personally, I was happy to see McCarron sticking up for his teammate, even though he was ejected because of his actions.

At the next faceoff after the McCarron-Chlapik "fight," Stars forward Brent Tate and Lancers defenseman David Mead dropped the mitts and fought, with Tate winning the decision.  After both players were sent to the penalty box, and the puck was dropped, Stars defenseman Ben Oskroba and Omaha forward Mitch Hughes dropped the gloves and exchanged punches, with Oskroba also winning this decision.  Needless to say, the crowd at the IceBox went nuts.  Despite all the extracurricular fisticuffs and excitement on the ice, it was the Lancers who capitalized with the man advantage.  Because of the penalties incurred by McCarron, the Lancers found themselves on the powerplay and were able to get their first lead of the game when forward Colin Markison scored to give Omaha the 2-1 lead.  Still not done in the second period, Lancers defenseman Ben Marshall scored three minutes after the Markison goal to give Omaha the 3-1 lead.  The Stars and Lancers weren't done trading punches in this period as Stars forward Dominik Shine and Omaha forward Stefan Demopoulos dropped the mitts with less than two minutes remaining in the second.  Demopoulos took exception to a Shine hit along the boards, and Shine was more than willing to give Demopoulos a beating.  Despite the fighting wins, the Stars found themselves down two goals going into the second intermission.  The Stars out-shot the Lancers 14-12 in the second period.

In the third period, it was all Lancers once again as Omaha scored three goals to only one for Lincoln in the final twenty minutes.  The Stars struck first, as forward Jake Lynes scored roughly two minutes into the third to give the Stars some life.  Assisting on the goal from Lynes was Josh Berge and Jared Hanson.  The Stars were within one goal at 3-2, and hoping to get back into the game.  However, after a number of penalties called on Lincoln, the Lancers took control of the game with two powerplay goals scored halfway through the period.  First it was Seth Ambroz scoring his second goal of the game to give the Lancers the 4-2 lead.  A little more than three minutes after the Ambroz goal, Stefan Demopoulos also scored on the powerplay to give Omaha a commanding 5-2 lead.  The Stars seemed to really fall apart in this period, and the Lancers took full advantage.  The Lancers finished the scoring in this game when forward Ryan Daugherty scored an empty-netter late in the period to extend the lead to 6-2.  The Lancers out-shot the Stars 16-9 in the third period, and overall in the game, 37-36.  Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock stopped 31 of 36 shots on net and suffered his first loss since 10/22/10.  Lancers goaltender Todd Mathews stopped 34 of 36 shots on goal to record his second USHL win.  

This was one of those games in which the Stars looked really good at the beginning of the game, but slowly lost control as it progressed.  At even-strength, I didn't think the Stars played that bad against Omaha, and it could be argued that they were the better team 5-on-5.  However, it was the Stars' penalty kill unit which really struggled.  The Lancers converted three of six powerplay opportunities, while the Stars went 0-for-2 with the man advantage.  Winning the fights is nice, and it certainly got the crowd energized, but it was the Lancers who made the Stars hurt where it counted, on the scoreboard.  I don't think the final score was indicative of how both teams played in this game, as I believe the Stars played very well at times.  Give credit to Omaha for taking advantage of opportunities given to them on the powerplay, as Omaha certainly played much better special teams compared to Lincoln.

The Stars will get a quick opportunity to rebound from the loss to Omaha when Lincoln plays Thanksgiving night in Sioux City against the Musketeers.  I will be posting pics and videos from the Omaha game very soon, so stay tuned for that.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

B³ Thanksgiving Week Preview: Omaha, Sioux City, and Fargo

The Lincoln Stars (8-5-0, 16 points, tied for 4th place in the USHL Western Conference) will celebrate the week of Thanksgiving with games before, on, and after Turkey Day as the black and blue begin a stretch of 6 games in 12 days.  On Wednesday night at the IceBox, the Stars will host their rival to the north, the Omaha Lancers.  The puck will drop at 7:05pm Wednesday evening.  On Thanksgiving, the Stars will go on the road and play the Sioux City Musketeers Thursday evening.  Faceoff for the game against the Muskies will be at 7:00pm.  On Friday, the Stars will travel further north to play the Fargo Force.  Faceoff in Fargo will occur at 7:35pm.  If you can't make it to any of the games this week, you can listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye online at AM 1480 KLMS by clicking here.  You can also pay to watch live video of the game via B2 Network by clicking here.  You can also follow both games via Pointstreak by clicking here

The Omaha Lancers (7-5-2, 16 points, tied for 4th place in the USHL Western Conference) will be looking to snap Lincoln's six-game winning streak Wednesday night in what will be the first time these two teams have faced each other this season.  The Lancers have had a up-and-down start to the season thus far.  At times, they have played like a top five USHL team.  At other times, they haven't looked good at all.  The Lancers have struggled at times to score goals, but they are getting better as of late in that category.  While the offense isn't clicking like in years past in Omaha, the defense and goaltending is.  Omaha traditionally is a team with multiple lines of skilled forwards, and I just don't see that this season.  The Lancers do have a number of very talented forwards, but they are not nearly as deep offensively as they have been the last three seasons or so.  Seth Ambroz of Omaha will probably be a first round NHL draft pick next spring, but the power-forward has not had the best start.  Ambroz, who has committed to play collegiate hockey at the University of Minnesota, is a player who needs a quality, skilled center to feed him the puck on a consistent basis.  Last year, the Lancers had superstars like Matt White and Eric Haula, but that kind of player just hasn't materialized this season on the Lancer's roster.  Regardless, this is still a very dangerous team. Regardless of their record, the Lancers ALWAYS play the Stars tough.  It should be another classic battle Wednesday night at the IceBox.

In a rare Thanksgiving day game, the Sioux City Musketeers (9-6-0, 18 points, tied for second place in the USHL Western Conference) will be looking for a little payback against Lincoln after losing to the Stars this past Friday at the IceBox, 3-2.  In that game, the Stars and Muskies played a very evenly-matched game, but it was the black and blue who took control in the third period to win the game.  The Muskies will play Wednesday night in Cedar Rapids against the league leading Roughriders in what should be a very tough game.  You have to wonder what kind of game will be played in Sioux City Thanksgiving evening considering that both teams will have played the night before in key, emotional games.  Also, I can only imagine how tough it would be to play a game on a holiday like Thanksgiving, when thoughts no doubt will be of home and family.  Which team can set aside those thoughts and feelings and come out strong for 60 minutes?  

The Fargo Force (7-9-2, 16 points, tied for fourth place in the USHL Western Conference) will be the third opponent in three days for the Stars Friday night in Fargo, ND. The Force are coming off two key road victories last weekend, after losing the previous seven straight games.  Last Friday night, the Force beat the Sioux Falls Stampede 3-2, and on Saturday night, the Force waxed the Waterloo Blackhawks by a score of 8-3.  A big reason for that recent seven-game losing streak was that five of their best players were participating in the World Junior A Challenge for Team USA.  Those group of players have been referred to as the "Fargo Five," and they were a big reason why Team USA captured gold.  Without those five key players in the lineup, and with goaltender Ryan Massa nursing an injury, the Force struggled mightily the last month.  However, this team is whole again and have already shown that they are not a last place team.  I have mentioned this previously, but in my opinion...this Fargo team is one of the most talented teams in the USHL.  Top to bottom, they are a very competitive, skilled hockey club.  They are much better than what their record indicates right now, and it would not surprise me to see them near the top of the USHL Western Conference very soon.  The Force will not play any games this week before the Friday night matchup against Lincoln, so they will be well rested and ready to battle the Stars.  In that 8-3 drubbing of the Waterloo Blackhawks last Saturday night, the two teams combined for a whopping 258 penalties and a third period line brawl.  Because of actions in that line brawl , Fargo assistant coach Bryan Pool, forward Nick Oliver, forward Chad Demers, defenseman Willie Corrin, and defenseman Dan Weissenhofer have been suspended one game and will not suit up against Lincoln.

This article is already way too long, so I'm going to keep this short.  Pointing out the obvious here, but this will be a great test for the Stars this week.  Three games in three days is going to test the resolve and fortitude of this team.  Can they keep the winning streak going?  Honestly, I'd be happy with two wins this week, considering the quality of teams the Stars will face in the next three days.  Defenseman Matt Prapavessis has missed the last two games with an undisclosed injury, so I'm hoping he'll be healthy enough to play in these three games.  Of course, Wednesday night at the IceBox will be intense (duh).  Arguably, the game against the Lancers will be the biggest the Stars have played this season.  I really hope to see a sellout crowd tomorrow night!  

Keep the train rollin'!  Go Stars!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

B³ Linkorama; Murdock named USHL GotW

Courtesy of Brandon Anderson
Not a whole lot of articles in this week's B³ Linkorama.  The Stars will play three games this week on consecutive days (Wed, Thu, Fri), so stay tuned for that weekend preview article.  Also, BT will be posting his USHL power rankings article soon, so keep an eye out for that.  As always, if you have any Stars related news you'd like for me to share on the blog, please send me an email at    

Congrats to Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock for being named the USHL Goaltender of the Week! Click here to read the press release from the USHL.  Considering how well Doc has played the past few weeks, this award is certainly deserved.  Honestly, you could argue Doc should have been named GotW for the past three weeks.  Regardless, it's nice to see the USHL finally give Doc (and the Stars) some recognition.  

The Omaha Lancers and the City of Ralston are close to a new arena agreement.  The $25 million-dollar facility would hold two sheets of ice, with the Lancers playing on one sheet.  The new rink would hold 3,500 people, which seems small in my opinion, especially for a team like the Lancers.  Stick-tap to the Omaha Hockey Talk blog for the link.  Click here and here to read more.  I assume the Lancers would still remain the "Omaha Lancers" if they move to the new rink, and not the "Ralston Lancers."

Video highlights from the 11/19 Sioux City vs. Lincoln game courtesy of 10/11 KOLN-KGIN.  Nice butcher job of Eric Scheid's last name:

Remember to get your tickets for the Omaha Lancers game this Wednesday night at the IceBox!  I have a feeling this game will sell out, so don't procrastinate!

Josh Berge Article

I thought the blog readers out there would enjoy this well written article on Stars forward, and Oklahoma native, Josh Berge by Neal Livingston of the "The Copper & Blue" SBNation blog.  Honestly, this was one of the best in-depth articles I've read on a member of the Lincoln Stars.  Josh talks about his road to the USHL, his time with the Stars, and his future collegiate plans.  Hats off to Neal Livingston for a great piece of reporting.

Click here to read the story.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I traveled up to the Qwest Center in Omaha last night to watch the second game of the University of North Dakota vs. University of Nebraska-Omaha hockey series, and it turned out to be one of the wildest finishes I've ever seen.  On Friday night, the Sioux scored three goals in the third period to come from behind and beat UNO 6-5, and gain a 1-0 lead in the series.  UNO, desperate to salvage a series tie, played UND much tougher defensively Saturday night.  In that game, it was 0-0 going into the finals few seconds of the game, when Mavs forward Alex Hudson (formerly of the Tri-City Storm) scored with less than one second remaining to give UNO the dramatic 1-0 win.  Here's video of the last few seconds of the game:

Saw a number of Stars fans in attendance last night at Qwest, including a few wearing Stars jerseys.  Regardless if you were a UNO fan, a UND fan, or just a Jason Gregoire (UND) fan, it was a very well-played game to watch.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Snapshots of the Game: Sioux City vs. Lincoln 11/19

Once again, thanks to Brandon Anderson and Jeff White for letting me use some of their great photos from the game tonight.  It is much appreciated!  If you would like to purchase any of Brandon's photographs, you can contact him at  Click the "Read more" link below the picture to see all of the photos.

Ryan Dzingel

Friday, November 19, 2010

B³ Postgame Recap 11/19: Sioux City 2, Lincoln 3

Six in a row!

In one of the better games played at the IceBox in a long time, the Stars used a strong third period effort to beat the Sioux City Musketeers, 3-2.  The Stars have now won six straight games, and five straight at home.  With the win, the Stars improved to 8-5-0 (16 points) on the season, which now puts them in a tie for third place in the USHL Western Conference.  In less than a month, the Stars have dug themselves out of last place in their conference, and are now only two points out of second place, and four points out of first place.

The Muskies got off to a quick start in this game when Ryan Carpenter wristed the puck past Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock to give Sioux City the early 1-0 advantage.  Carpenter's goal came at the 4:31 mark of the first period, ending Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock's shutout streak at 90 minutes over three games.  After the SC goal, the Stars generated a lot of quality chances on offense, but Musketeer goaltender Jake Hildebrand stood tall and made a number of very good saves.  Toward the end of the first period, the Stars finally got a puck past Hildebrand when Eric Scheid scored on a well put together play to even the score at 1-1.  Assisting on Scheid's fourth goal of the season was John McCarron and Josh Berge.  At the end of the first period, the score was all tied up at 1-1.  The Stars out-shot the Muskies 11-9 in the period.

Sioux City came out a little stronger in the second period and they were rewarded with a goal when Max Gaede scored with about five minutes left.  Gaede's goal came on the powerplay, and gave the Muskies a 2-1 lead late in the period.  Just when you thought the Stars would go into the second intermission down a goal, they dug down and were able strike back.  With less than two minutes remaining, Stars forward Garrett Peterson drove to the net and batted a rebound past Hildebrand to even the score at 2-2.  Petey's goal was his third in as many games.  Andrew Schmit and Kyle Quick collected the assists on Peterson's goal.  At the second intermission, the score was 2-2.  The Muskies out-shot the Stars 14-8 in the period.

In the third period, the Stars proved they were the stronger, and hungrier team by shutting the Muskies out and scoring one goal to win the game.  Stars forward Josh Berge gobbled up a juicy rebound in front of Hildebrand halfway through the period, and slipped the puck past him to give the Stars a 3-2 lead.  John McCarron and Chris Casto got the assists on the game winning goal by Berge.  The Muskies were able to put some good pressure on the Stars and Murdock after the Berge goal, but they were denied.  Final score:  Sioux City 2, Lincoln 3.  Shots were even for the game at 29-29.  Sioux City went 1-for-2 on the powerplay, while the Stars only had one powerplay opportunity and were held scoreless.  Kevin Murdock stopped 27 of 29 shots to record his seventh win of the season, and his sixth straight victory.

Wow....what a game!  I remarked to a good friend of mine sitting next to me in the third period that this game had a playoff feel to it.  Very few penalties (thanks, ref!), great back and forth action, physical play, and outstanding goaltending.  As a hockey fan, it doesn't get much better than that.  It was fun to watch two very good teams trade punches for 60 minutes.  The Stars proved in the third period that they wanted it more, and it showed.  They say in hockey that good things happen when you go to the net, and all three goals scored by the Stars were a good example of that.  Stating the obvious here, but this team is a lot of fun to watch live.  They forecheck like demons, and pass the puck so much better than earlier in the season.  They don't rattle easy, and they never look lost or dejected when down a goal.  This group never quits.

The Stars will have Saturday off, but will return to the IceBox next Wednesday evening (day before Thanksgiving) to battle their long-time rival, the Omaha Lancers.  Folks, if you don't have tickets to this game....BUY THEM NOW.  No doubt that this game will sell out.  You won't want to miss it.

Let's get seven!  Go Stars!! I want to hear from you guys!  Thoughts of the game?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

B³ Pregame Report: Sioux City Musketeers vs. Lincoln Stars 11/19

Hey everyone, either before or after you read Yeti's wonderful pregame story, check out the new USHL Power Rankings posted below to see how far up the Lincoln Stars have moved. - BT
Friday night at the IceBox, the Lincoln Stars will play host to the Sioux City Musketeers in what will be the first time these two teams have faced each other this season. The Stars are riding a five-game winning streak coming into this game, having outscored their last five opponents 21-6. Faceoff for the game Friday night will be at 7:05pm. This will be the only game the Stars play this weekend. You can listen to Mike Melbye call the game on AM 1480 KLMAS by clicking here. You can also watch the game via B2 Network by clicking here. If you want to follow the Pointstreak boxscore, click here.

The Sioux City Musketeers (9-5-0, 18 points, 2nd place in USHL Western Conference) have one of the better road records in the league at 4-1, although each of those four wins were by only one goal. The Muskies are very much reborn this season compared to last year, as evident by their overall record. New players this season such as Caleb Herbert (F), Max McCormick (F), and Jordan Schmaltz (D) are just three rookies who have stepped up and provided some excitement in Sioux City. The three players I just mentioned were all on the Team USA squad which won gold at the World Junior A Challenge in Canada. The Muskies have still struggled a bit at times this season in terms of scoring goals. Despite having played two more games than Lincoln so far this season, the Musketeers have scored 37 goals, as opposed to 42 for Lincoln. SC is averaging 2.6 goals scored through 14 games, while the Stars are averaging 3.5 goals scored through 12 games played. The Muskies have had a few games where they have been blown out, but for the most part, they are a team which relies more on team defense and goaltending than they do trying to outscore their opponents.

The Lincoln Stars (7-5-0, 14 points, 5th place in USHL Western Conference) are one of the hottest teams in the league right now, winners of five in a row and six out of their last seven games. Winning at home is something the Stars have done well also, as the black and blue have won four straight in front of the Lincoln fairthful at the IceBox. The Stars have combined great goaltending, solid defense, improving special teams, and timely offense in this recent winning streak to propel themselves out of the cellar in their conference. If the Stars can win Friday night against the Muskies, it will be six wins in a row, which has not happened since the 2008-09 season when Lincoln won six straight in November and December of 2008. Unlike last season at this time, the Stars are lucky to have a near 100% healthy roster at the moment, which has certainly helped the team gel on and off the ice. Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock has played lights-out the past month, as it seems like the Bradenton, Florida native has found his "groove" and is playing with much more confidence now than earlier in the season. In the last five games, Doc has faced 150 shots on net, and as only allowed 6 goals. Incredible.

This should be a very good test for the Stars' offense in this game. Defensively, the Muskies are one of the better teams in the league, so the Stars will have to keep generating shots on goal and hope that they'll eventually find the back of the net. Stars assistant captain Garrett Peterson played this past Tuesday night against the Tri-City Storm, so there is a good possibility he will rest against the Muskies on Friday night. Considering that the Stars don't play Saturday night, and won't play until next Wednesday night, there is a chance Petey could play against SC. In his two games back from off-season shoulder surgery, Petey has scored two goals, two assists, and is +3. Oh yeah, both goals scored by Peterson have been game winners. No big deal. It's nice to see him healthy, scoring points, and supplying toughness and swagger on the ice for Lincoln.

I'm not sure if this game is a sellout, but I've heard that tickets are selling briskly, so if you don't have tickets the Stars ticket office at 474-7827, or buy your tickets online by clicking here. It would be really great to see a full barn Friday night. Hope to see all of you there. Let's get six! Go Stars!

B³ USHL Power Rankings

Previous week's ranking in parentheses

I'm sorry for not getting this out sooner. I started a new job and have been extremely busy. Nonetheless, I still wanted to get this out before the weekend's games begin.

1. (1) Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (10-2-0, 20 pts)
Last Week: 3-0-0
W, 3-2 at Fargo
W, 4-0 at Sioux City
W, 4-3 (OT) at Indiana

Three road games, three wins. Cedar Rapids just continues to rack up points. Jayson Megna leads the USHL with 54 shots attempted. Every player except for one on the RoughRiders' roster has a positive +/- rating. Their 25 goals allowed is fewest in the USHL.

2. (2) Dubuque Fighting Saints (9-3-1, 19 pts)
Last Week: 2-0-0
W, 7-1 vs. Chicago
W, 4-1 vs. Muskegon

Dubuque has now won four straight. The Fighting Saints have scored a league-leading 55 goals. 

3. (5) Des Moines Buccaneers (7-1-2, 16 pts)
Last Week: 2-0-0
W, 5-4 (OT) vs. Muskegon
W, 7-2 vs. Waterloo

Make that six straight wins for the Bucs. Des Moines was 1-1-2, and now they are on fire. Seven wins in 10 games gives them the second-best winning percentage in the USHL. Eight of their 10 games have been played at home, so their schedule should get a little bit more difficult. However, the Bucs are 2-0 on the road.

4. (3) Sioux City Musketeers (9-5-0, 18 pts)
Last Week: 1-1-0
W, 1-0 at Fargo
L, 0-4 vs. Cedar Rapids

A narrow win over last-place Fargo and a one-sided loss at home to Cedar Rapids drops the Muskies. Sioux City is in second place in the Western Conference, but has played at least two more games than all the teams right behind them.

5. (4) Sioux Falls Stampede (8-4-0, 16 pts)
Last Week: 1-1-0
W, 2-1 vs. Omaha
L, 3-4 vs. Lincoln

The Stampede split games against two members of their West Division peer gro.....oh wait, sorry, they beat one team in their peer group. They lost another game to some other team.

6. (12) Lincoln Stars (7-5-0, 14 pts)
Last Week: 3-0
W, 3-0 vs. Tri-City
W, 4-3 at Sioux Falls
W, 8-0 at Tri-City

The Stars have won five games in a row and have moved well out of the cellar and into fifth place in the Western Conference. Their 42 goals scored are the second most in the Western Conference, and their power play is far and away No. 1 in the USHL at 27.08 percent.

7. (6) Green Bay Gamblers (8-3-2, 18 pts)

Last Week: 2-0-0
W, 4-2 at Waterloo
W, 3-2 (OT) vs. Chicago

Green Bay got two big wins over conference opponents to move them into sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference. The only bad thing is Waterloo and Chicago went a combined 0-4 last week.

8. (8) Omaha Lancers (6-4-2, 14 pts)
Last Week: 1-1-1
L, 1-2 at Sioux Falls
W, 5-2 at Fargo
L, 5-6 (SO) at Muskegon

Omaha earned three points in three road games last week. The Lancers come to the Ice Box on Wednesday, Nov. 24 for the first time this season.

9. (7) Waterloo Blackhawks (6-4-1, 13 pts)
Last Week: 0-2-0

L, 2-4 vs. Green Bay
L, 2-7 at Waterloo

Waterloo's four-game winning streak came to an abrupt halt with two losses, including a 7-2 pasting at Des Moines.

10. (13) Muskegon Lumberjacks (6-5-3, 15 pts)
Last Week: 1-1-1
L, 4-5 (OT) at Des Moines
L, 1-4 at Dubuque
W, 6-5 (SO) vs. Omaha

Somehow, despite giving up the most goals in the USHL (60), Muskegon is in third place in the Eastern Conference. A lot of that has to do with the other teams playing very poorly.

11. (9) Tri-City Storm (4-4-4, 12 pts)
Last Week: 0-2-0
L, 0-3 at Lincoln
L, 0-8 vs. Lincoln

The Storm should be glad Lincoln isn't on their schedule again until January. Tri-City got taken to the woodshed by the Stars 11-0 in two games last week.

12. (14) Chicago Steel (5-8-2, 12 pts)

Last Week: 0-1-1
L, 1-7 at Dubuque
L, 2-3 (OT) at Green Bay

The Steel have now lost five in a row and seven of their last eight, but move up by default.

13. (11) Indiana Ice (4-6-2, 10 pts)
Last Week: 0-1-1
L, 3-6 vs. Youngstown
L, 3-4 vs. Cedar Rapids

Indiana has lost four in a row, and even worse, they were the team that let Youngstown win for the first time in nine games. The Ice aren't living up to their preseason hype to say the least.

14. (15) Youngstown Phantoms (5-8-1, 11 pts)
Last Week: 1-0-0
W, 6-3 at Indiana

Youngstown only played once, but only needed one game to snap its nine-game losing streak. It's about time the Phantoms won a game.

15. (10) Fargo Force (5-9-2, 12 pts)
Last Week: 0-3-0
L, 0-1 vs. Sioux City
L, 2-3 vs. Cedar Rapids
L, 2-5 vs. Omaha

Fargo has lost seven games in a row, including three home games last week. The Force are really struggling right now. Even with 2, 3, 4 and 6 games in hand on the rest of the Western Conference, they are still in last place.

16. (16) Team USA (3-8-1, 7 pts)
Last Week: 0-0-0 Bye

Team USA didn't play with the World Junior Championships going on. They host Omaha and Indiana this weekend.