Friday, December 31, 2010

B³ Postgame Recap 12/31: Lincoln 0, Cedar Rapids 4

The Lincoln Stars ended 2010 with a whimper Friday evening as the black and blue were shutout on the road by the Cedar Rapids Roughriders by a score of 4-0.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.  The loss was the sixth straight for Lincoln.  With the defeat, the Stars dropped to 11-13-1 (23 points), and still occupy last place in the USHL Western Conference.  I did not watch this game, so this recap will be brief.  I was able to listen to most of the radio broadcast, however.

In an all too familiar fashion, the Stars fell behind early tonight as CR defenseman Josiah Didier, who hadn't scored at all this season coming into the game, lit the lamp twice in the first twenty minutes to give the 'Riders the 2-0 lead.  Cedar Rapids added one goal in each of the next two periods to cruise to the 4-0 victory.  Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock started the game, and stopped 24 of 28 shots in the loss.  CR goaltender Brady Hjelle stopped all 26 Lincoln shots to record his league-leading 18th win, and fourth shutout of the season.  

Another frustrating loss.  From listening to Mike Melbye, it sounded that the Stars played pretty well in the second and third periods, but they could not solve CR goaltender Brady Hjelle.  Hjelle, who left the University of Minnesota-Duluth in the offseason, is considered by many as the best goaltender in the league.  He showed why tonight.  In the third period, the Stars really sounded like they were swarming around the CR net, but just could bury the puck.  I think at that point some frustration rose to the top and some players on the Stars acted out with the fights we saw late in the third period.  Listening to head coach Chad Johnson after the game on the radio, it doesn't sound like he was happy with the extracurricular fisticuffs that the Stars initiated at the end of the period.

As usual, the Roughriders had many more powerplay opportunities than their opponent.  Melbye pointed this out on air, but when Cedar Rapids is at home, they seem to always have more PP opportunities than their opponents.  Home cookin' for sure, but it's no excuse.  It's known league-wide that Cedar Rapids will dive to create PP chances, and referee's seem to favor the home team in that barn.  You know that going in, and you have to adapt your game.  Lincoln had only one powerplay opportunity the entire game, and did not score.  Cedar Rapids finished 1-for-6 with the man advantage.

Well, the best part about tonight was that it was the last game of 2010, which was arguably the worst year in the history of the franchise.  Out with the old, in with the new.  9 out of the next 11 games the Stars will play will take place at the IceBox.  Although the Stars have struggled at home this season, it's time to take advantage of the advantages the IceBox gives Lincoln, and put together a winning streak similar to what we saw in November.

Lincoln will take the rest of the weekend off, and return to the IceBox next Friday night (1/7/11) when they host the Tri-City Storm.  More on that matchup later next week.

Have a safe and healthy new year, everyone!  Be safe out there!

Go Stars. 


nutz4puckz said...

That's a typical game in either Waterloo or Cedar Rapids with just the the one powerplay opportunity. What is it with Eastern Iowa, the whistles only blow one way? Can only imagine what that will be like when they play in Dubuque, ugh. Come on boys, get the ship righted and get some W's!!

Yeti said...

Thanks for the comment, nutz. Glad to know someone is out there reading these articles. It has been way too quiet here. I hear from the same few people, and that's it.

I know you're out there, folks! Speak up! What are your opinions of this latest losing streak? What happened to the team that won six in a row in November? How does the team get it turned around?

lincolnfan said...

i don't know what the problem is this year, but it's starting to feel just like last year. lately, it seems like we play well sometimes but we can't seem to play the full 60 minutes. even in at least a few of the games we've won, we haven't played the full 60 minutes. it's unacceptable, and something has to change. is it the coaching? is it the players? is it just bad luck? i don't know, but we have to find a way to score some goals because that's how you win the game. i was hoping we could come back from the break and get a good winning streak, but that just didn't happen. i guess we have to move on and hope that with lots of home games coming up, we can get a winning streak going and hopefully get back to the top of the standings. there's still lots of hockey left to play this season, but it's time to get serious.

Yeti said...

Thanks for the comment, lincolnfan. I appreciate it.

It's been a very strange start to the season. Stars started off a bit slow, then Chad came back from his medical absence and the team went on a tear...winning six straight. They looked like a different team back then. Great defense, quality goaltending, and plenty of scoring. What happened to that team? The talent is there, that much is obvious to me. Is it a mental thing? Have certain players already checked out?

By the way, the Stars have been outscored 25-6 during this current six game losing streak. The opponent is averaging a little more than four goals per game, while the Stars have averaged only one goal per game. That's crazy. It's not like the Stars are losing close games, they are getting blown out.

I wish I had the answers. I'm just a fan who runs a blog. I'm interested to hear what the other fans out there think.

lincolnstars said...

If you want more people to comment, put to blog back the way it was and filter out the comments you don't want to posted. This is a giant pain in the Ar$e. Not sure if you have a hit count setup or not. But I'm guessing that the page hits are going down as well. I enjoy reading the comments as much as the blog.

Yeti said...

t's a giant pain in the ass to take a few minutes to register? I'm not sure I understand how that is a giant pain in the ass, but you're entitled to your opinion.

I don't miss the keyboard warriors attacking people from behind the veil of anonymity. No thanks. I got really tired of wading through that crap, and why should I? People attacking players on the team...coaches...other bloggers...even me. The name-calling and nastiness was out of control. Why? Seriously, this is a game. I never understood why some took it so seriously last season. Tired of adults acting like children. The losing season brought out the worst in some, and I wasn't going to let those folks drag down the blog and scare away those blog regulars who felt like they couldn't voice their opinion without getting shouted down.

The people who want to contribute positively to this blog will take the few minutes it takes to register. Those who want to troll and throw anonymous attacks won't, and I'm fine with that. When I changed up the comments, I heard a ton of positive feedback from people, including many who were/are parents of Stars players. I did not receive any emails at the time saying they were against the change.

Page hits have increased about 40% from this point last season, according to my google analytics account. Wish it was more, but I really don't care too much about the numbers of blog hits. I enjoy doing what I'm doing, and will keep this blog running as long as their is interest. Sure, I'd appreciate more comments...but I have no control over that. The blogger software is limited in that regard, so I'm forced to use what they offer. I know one thing, I will never go back to the way it was before.

In a perfect world, I wouldn't have to censor out all the crap, and everyone would act like adults. I wish that perfect world existed.

Regardless, thanks for the comment.

Yeti said...

New poll question is up. Last poll question was which Stars veteran from last season has shown the most improvement this season. John McCarron was the winner with 44% of the vote, and Brent Tate came in second with 24% of the vote.

Vote away!

starstruck said...

Maybe we need to ask Sioux Fall’s coach if he has any new words of inspiration for our team, since the Stars six game winning streak began immediately following the infamous peer group comment :)

Green Bay and Cedar Rapids are obviously two teams that are hard to beat and can capitalize on whatever comes their way. No doubt our team and the coaching staff will take lessons learned from these games and make whatever adjustments are needed to work their way out of this slump. With the lop-sided schedule the USHL has come up with, Stars will only meet these teams twice during the season – hope to see our guys step up and provide some payback when GB and CR show up for their turn at the Ice Box. In the meantime looking forward to next weekend and hopefully a couple W's – Go Stars !!

lincolnfan said...

it will be interesting to also see how attendance is now... overall the crowds at the Ice Box this season have seemed very sparse compared to how it usually is. it looks like we are still leading the league in attendance at 3,533 but that number seems low. i'm not sure if it's the mediocre season so far combined with a bad season last season, or if the parking charges have something to do with it. i know someone said that they decreased the seating in the Ice Box by about 350 seats, but that shouldn't affect the attendance.. it's not like the number of fans have decreased. there isn't much going on in Lincoln now with the Husker football season over and everything, so maybe attendance will pick up these months.

Yeti said...

I think attendance will pick up a bit now that high school and Husker football is over. I hope it does, at least. The Stars are still in first place in the USHL in attendance, but not by much. To be honest, I've been surprised at a lot of home games this season when I look around during the game and see a lot of empty holes in certain sections. Is it parking? Is it the lackluster start after an abysmal season last year? Not sure. Considering all of the above, I think we should be pretty lucky we have the numbers we have. Certain USHL teams struggle to put butts in seats, even when they are winning. Our fan base is pretty hearty, especially when you consider we led the league in attendance last season, and had the worst win-loss record.

Regarding the new poll question, I'm very surprised that Eric Scheid hasn't received any votes yet. He's been a bright spot for the offense this season. I'm a big fan of his. Wish we had him next season as well. I can see why he already has a college scholarship lined up.

nutz4puckz said...

It seems like it has been so long since we have seen the guys play, maybe that is the absence of votes for Eric Scheid. I think with some of the struggles the guys have had as of late, some of the bright spots might be getting lost in the mix. Looks like there is a vote there for him now.

Just a few more days and we get some hockey back at the box!

Unknown said...

I believe the Stars have a few options to turn their season around. The first thing they can do is threaten to trade players, which it sounds like Coach Johnson has already done. Hopefully that can get players to play better. Unfortunately, it is difficult to make trades in the USHL because to get talented players the Stars would probably have to give up draft picks or future prospects which wouldn’t be in their best interest.

Another option is to try and snag a few players from other leagues such as the NAHL, EJHL, East Coast prep teams or Minnesota High School teams. The Stars have had success with this in the past bringing in players like Gino Guyer, Chris Vande Velde, and Brian Lee once their high school seasons were over.

I don’t know how the USHL works with ’95 born players. Mike McCarron (John McCarron’s brother) is a ’95 birth year and a very talented kid. The Stars could bring a guy like him in or another ’95 born player and potentially avoid having to draft them in the Future’s Draft in the spring. This is more building for the future rather than this season.

Lastly, it would be in nice to get a player like Austin Wuthrich from Team USA Under-18. It doesn’t look like he’s played in any games for them this year (I’m not sure if he is injured or not). While it is an honor to play for Team USA, it is probably more important that he gets ice time as he tries to get a Division-I scholarship.

Yeti said...

Thanks for the comments thus far...really appreciate it.

Brian...Austin Wuthrich was injured in one of the opening games of the season (broken leg), so I don't think he'll be back on the ice for Team USA U-18 until Feb or March. He has committed to play college hockey for Notre Dame, starting the fall of 2011. Here's an article with a little more information:

Like you said, it would have been nice to have him in Stars uniform after he would have aged out of the Team USA U-18 program, but that looks like it's not going to happen.

Paul Pate said...


I honestly have not had much to say this year. The vindictive part of my what to scream out, but out of respect for what has been built here I will not. Of course, I don't mind saying who I am when I say it, and registering has not kept me off the blog. I am a little taken aback by the so called fans that bailed on their tickets after last season. Maybe they will come back when the economy turns around. I don't know, for the money I would rather have Stars tickets than Husker tickets anyway. Hockey is much more exciting than football. I for one, am hoping the guys have a good weekend. Have not decided if we are going to Omaha or not. Will have to see how it goes on Friday, and by that I don't mean they have to win for me to go. Just don't know yet.

Go Stars.