Thursday, September 30, 2010

B³ Pregame Report: Lincoln Stars vs. Tri-City Storm 10/1

The Lincoln Stars will open the USHL 2010-11 regular season on the road this Friday night when they will faceoff against the Tri-City Storm in Kearney, NE.  In five preason games, the Storm finished with a 3-2 record, while scoring 17 goals, and surrendering 16.  One of their three preseason wins came against the Lincoln Stars on 10/16/10 when the Storm skated to a 3-2 shootout victory in Kearney.  The Lincoln Stars finished the preseason with a disappointing 1-3-1 record in five games played, scoring 13 goals and giving up 26.  The puck will drop at 7:05pm at the Viaero Event Center.  You can follow the game online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on KLMS 1480 AM, or watch the game live on B2 Networks for $7.  We will be blogging/chatting live for this game also.

The Tri-City Storm are coming off an impressive 2009-10 campaign where the finished the season with a 29-26-6 record and a playoff berth.  Considering how bad the Storm were in 2008-09 (11-48-1), Tri-City did a lot of good things last year to become relevant in the USHL again.  Having a player like Jaden Schwartz in the lineup certainly helped the Storm last season.  Schwartz, who was drafted in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues, is now playing collegiate hockey for Colorado College.  The Storm will obviously miss Schwartz this season, but they will look to improve on last season's record with returning players such as Rick Pinkston, Cody Murphy, Mario Puskarich, and former Stars forward Tucker Brockett.  Second-year head coach Drew Schoneck has done a great job in Kearney in leading the Storm out of the basement and back into the spotlight.

On the other side of the coin, the Lincoln Stars are coming off a disastrous 2009-10 season in which they finished last in the USHL with a record of 16-36-8, while breaking numerous records that probably should have never been broken.  Former head coach Jimmy McGroarty was demoted to associate head coach, and former Stars assistant Chad Johnson was brought in as head coach to help right the ship.  Assistant coach Nick Fouts resigned to move back home to Washington, and former Stars defenseman Andy Schneider was hired to replace Fouts on the bench.  Head Coach Chad Johnson has since had to leave the team for an indefinite time period due to a personal illness.  Johnson's timetable to return to the team is unknown at this time.  The Stars will return eight players from last year's squad, not including goaltender Kevin Murdock who last played for the Stars in the 2008-09 season. 

The Stars will find themselves shorthanded when they matchup against Tri-City Friday night.  Much like last season, the Stars have suffered a number of early-season injuries that will keep some key players out of the lineup.  Garrett Peterson, Josh Berge, Jared Hanson, Brad Wilhelm, and Cole Martin are injured and will not be in the lineup Friday night.  Forward Bradley Hawkinson, who is a draft pick of the Stars and played one preseason game for Lincoln, has been called up and will play Friday night. 

We will be blogging/chatting live for the game tomorrow night, so if you're not attending the game, check back here around 6:45pm Friday evening to participate in the fun.  I will post that article Friday afternoon sometime.

If you are planning on attending the game Friday night in Kearney, cheer loud and proud for the boys!  Hockey season is here!  GO STARS!!

B³ Meet the 2010-11 Lincoln Stars

We did this last year, so I thought we'd do it again for the fans out there who might not know a lot about this team and want to learn a little more.  It's also nice to put a face to the names and numbers the fans see on the back of jerseys.  Here we go!

Goaltenders:



#1 Kevin Murdock
5'10", 180 pounds
DOB:  8/28/90
Hometown:  Bradenton, FL
Previous team: Univ. of Minnesota-Mankato
2009-10 stats:  1-3 record, 3.46 GAA, .895 S%





#29 Lukas Hafner
6'0", 200 pounds
DOB:  2/6/92
Hometown:  Toledo, OH
Previous team:  Marquette Rangers (NAHL)
2009-10 stats:  11-6 record, 2.07 GAA, .938 S%



Defensemen:



#3 Richie Coyne
6'2", 190 pounds
DOB:  7/22/91
Hometown:  Cave Creek, AZ
Previous team:  Chicago Steel (USHL)
2009-10 stats:  9 points (2g, 7a), 60 PIM's in 43 games




#6 Chris Casto
6'1", 210 pounds
DOB:  12/27/91
Hometown:  Stillwater, MN
Previous team:  Hill-Murray Pioneers High School
2009-10 stats:  33 points (14g, 19a), 22 PIM's in 31 games
College commitment:  University of Minnesota-Duluth




#7 Matt Prapavessis
6'1", 195
DOB:  6/1/91
Hometown:  Oakville, Ontario 
Previous team:  Mississauga Chargers (OJHL)
2009-10 stats:  43 points (8g, 35a), 42 PIM's in 49 games




#8 Ben Oskroba
6'5", 225 pounds
DOB:  8/4/90
Hometown:  Tempe, AZ
Previous team:  Walpole Express (AJHL)
2009-10 stats:  30 points (17g, 13a), 78 PIM's in 42 games
College commitment:  Northeastern University



#14 Nick Cecere
6'0", 190 pounds
DOB:  10/12/90
Hometown:  Des Moines, IA
Previous team:  Alberni Valley Bulldogs (BCHL)
2009-10 stats:  11 points (2g, 9a), 39 PIM's in 60 games
College commitment:  Michigan Tech University



#20 Kyle Quick
6'1", 180 pounds
DOB:  3/13/91
Hometown:  Buffalo, NY
Previous team:  Avon Old Farms (prep school)
2009-10 stats:  24 points (3g, 21a) in 24 games
College commitment:  Brown University




#26 Frank Misuraca
5'11", 195 pounds
DOB:  9/6/91
Hometown:  Clinton Township, MI
Previous team:  Lincoln Stars (USHL)
2009-10 stats:  2 points (2a), 4 PIM's in 10 games





#27 Cole Martin
6'0", 160 pounds
DOB:  3/15/94
Hometown:  Arlington, TX
Previous team:  Team Illinois (MM)
2009-10 stats:  16 points (1g, 15a), 36 PIM's in 31 games



Forwards:


#9 John McCarron
6'3", 215 pounds
DOB:  4/16/92
Hometown:  Macomb, MI
Previous team:  Lincoln Stars (USHL)
2009-10 stats:  26 points (7g, 19a), 114 PIM's in 58 games
College commitment:  Cornell University



#10 Sam Alfieri
5'10", 170 pounds
DOB:  3/10/91
Hometown:  Buffalo, NY
Previous team:  Lincoln Stars (USHL)
2009-10 stats:  25 points (11g, 14a), 41 PIM's in 56 games
College commitment:  Niagara University




#11 Bradley Wilhelm
6'0", 170 pounds
DOB:  6/19/92
Hometown:  Carmel, IN
Previous team:  Detroit Catholic High School
2009-10 stats:  15 points (9g, 6a) in 16 games





#13 Brent Tate
6'2", 180 pounds
DOB:  11/5/91
Hometown:  Canton, MI
Previous team:  Lincoln Stars (USHL)
2009-10 stats:  0 points, 67 PIM's in 23 games





#15 Jake Lynes
6'3", 180 pounds
DOB:  10/12/91
Hometown:  Ellicott City, MD
Previous team:  Team Maryland (U-18)
2009-10 stats:  109 points (66g, 43a), 50 PIM's in 73 games




#16 Dominik Shine
5'11", 165 pounds
DOB:  4/18/93
Hometown:  Pinkney, MI
Previous team:  Lincoln Stars (USHL)
2009-10 stats:  29 points (15g, 14a), 165 PIM's in 54 games
College commitment:  Ohio State University



#18 Ryan Dzingel
6'0", 180 pounds
DOB:  3/9/92
Hometown:  Wheaton, IL
Previous team:  Lincoln Stars (USHL)
2009-10 stats:  26 points (11g, 15a), 38 PIM's in 36 games
College commitment:  Ohio State University



#19 Garrett Peterson
5'11", 190 pounds
DOB:  9/13/91
Hometown:  Manhattan, IL
Previous team:  Lincoln Stars (USHL)
2009-10 stats:  15 points (6g, 9a), 120 PIM's in 56 games
College commitment:  Notre Dame University




#21 Josh Berge
5'9", 160 pounds
DOB:  3/19/90
Hometown:  Oklahoma City, OK
Previous team:  Lincoln Stars (USHL)
2009-10 stats:  20 points (4g, 16a), 30 PIM's in 35 games




#22 Andrew Schmit
6'4", 220 pounds
DOB:  8/22/91
Hometown:  Grafton, WI
Previous team:  Chicago Steel (USHL)
2009-10 stats:  8 points (3g, 5a), 70 PIM's in 45 games




#23 Eric Scheid
5'10", 165 pounds
DOB:  5/5/92
Hometown:  Blaine, MN
Previous team:  Blaine Bengals (high school)
2009-10 stats:  55 points (23g, 32a) in 30 games
College commitment:  University of Alaska-Anchorage




#24 Jared Hanson
6'0", 185 pounds
DOB:  1/24/93
Hometown:  Palmer, AK
Previous team:  Team Illinois (MM)
2009-10 stats:  15 points (3g, 12a), 20 PIM's in 17 games




#25 Austin Hervey
6'2", 220 pounds
DOB:  12/31/92
Hometown:  Brighton, MI
Previous team:  Team USA U-17 (USHL)
2009-10 stats:  2 points (1g, 1a), 4 PIM's in 11 games
College commitment:  Western Michigan University




#4 Matt Esposito
6'0" 170 pounds
DOB:  9/16/92
Hometown:  Fayetteville, NY
Previous team:  Chicago Steel (USHL)
2009-10 stats:  7 points (2g, 5a), 13 PIM's in 25 games





#17 Teemu Tiitinen
5'11", 180 pounds
DOB:  1/1/92
Hometown:  Suwanee, GA
Previous team:  Dallas Stars U-18 (MM)
2009-10 stats:  38 points (22g, 16a), 66 PIM's in 48 games

B³ Linkorama

We're less than 48 hours away from the start of the Lincoln Stars 2010-11 regular season, and I want to briefly hit on a number of topics in this article before I write up a preview article for the Tri-City game tomorrow night.  I'm also considering writing our own "Meet the Stars" article to introduce the fans to the players on the team.  Lastly, I will be posting the live blog/chat article tomorrow sometime for those who won't be able to attend the TC game but want to hang out with other Stars fans while listening to the radio broadcast or watching on B2.

I've mentioned this a few times on the B³ twitter page, but I want to make sure I mention it here also.  Former Stars defenseman Matt Bartkowski is turning heads with the Boston Bruins and is fighting for a roster spot.  The B's have cut a number of players during training camp, but Bart is still on the roster and playing well in their preseason games.  The B's just recently cut down to 25 players, and will cut down to 23 before the regular season begins.  Bartkowski has earned a spot on the roster and will travel with the team this weekend to Ireland where the Bruins will face the Belfast Giants in Belfast, Ireland this Saturday.  From the articles I've read, Bart has a very good shot at making the Bruins final roster and starting the regular NHL season with Boston.

Former Stars goaltender Jared Coreau looks to compete for the starting goaltender position at Northern Michigan University.  Click here to read more.

Stars forward Austin Hervey is the first 2012 commitment for the Western Michigan University hockey club.  Click here to read more.

Former Stars defenseman Jake Newton played well for the NHL Anaheim Ducks in their preseason games, but was recently reassigned to their AHL minor league club.

Former Stars forward Chris Vande Velde also performed well in the preseason for his NHL club (Edmonton Oilers), but was recently sent down to their AHL club.  Click here to read more.

Video from Channel 10/11 News about the Stars as they look to rebound from the losing season last year.  Click here to view it.

At the "Meet the Stars" event last night at Heidelberg's, there was a new player in attendance that was not in uniform at the Fall Classic.  His name is Teemu Tiitinen ('92), a 5'11" 180 pound forward who lists his hometown as Suwanee, GA but is originally from Finland.  Last season, Tiitinen played for the Dallas Stars (U-18 Midget Major) and recorded 38 points (22g, 16a) in 48 games, along with 66 PIM's.  Recently released Stars forward Jeff McMinimy also played for the U-18 Dallas Stars last season.  Tiitinen, a former USHL draft pick of the Youngstown Phantoms, also played four preseason games for the Phantoms this month.  I am unaware if the Stars traded for Teemu, or if the Phantoms released him and the Stars picked him up.


Click here for photos taken at the "Meet the Lincoln Stars" event last night at Heidelberg's.

ESPN 1480AM will continue to be the broadcast home of the Lincoln Stars.  Click here to read more.

Still no word yet on who will be wearing the "C" and the "A's" for the Lincoln Stars this season.  It was previously reported that the players would vote for the team captains.  Under former head coach Jimmy McGroarty, the coaches picked the team captains.  As soon as that information is released, we will post it here.  

Also, I have not heard anything more in regards to head coach Chad Johnson returning to the team.  I've received a number of emails asking me if I knew anything more, and I don't.  Hopefully Chad can get healthy quick, and rejoin the team.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Great shot from the USHL Fall Classic

A blog reader sent me this picture a few days ago, and I'm finally getting around to posting it here.  It's not related to the Stars, but it did take place at the Fall Classic.  This was the first game Wednesday (9/22) morning at the TEC (Sioux Falls vs. Des Moines).  I was sitting about 12 rows up from where this happened, so I had a fantastic view of it.  I couldn't believe it when it happened.  According to the Des Moines Bucs twitter page, this photo was taken by the DM team photographer, Bryce Loshman.  Fantastic shot.  Anyway, just thought I'd share.  Neither of the two players pictured were injured.  Love the expression of the fan wearing the orange shirt.  Priceless.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Meet the Stars this Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

The Lincoln Stars web site announced that the annual "Meet the Stars" event will be held this Wednesday, September 29 at Heidelberg's North (4620 Bair Avenue) from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Blueline Booster Club members can get in early at 6:30 p.m.

Click here for more information on the "Meet the Stars" event.

To join the Blueline Booster Club or learn more about it, visit their site here.

Thanks to blog reader James for the photo.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

USHL Fall Classic: Lincoln Stars 3, Muskegon Lumberjacks 8

The Lincoln Stars will play their final game of the 2010 USHL Fall Classic Saturday afternoon when they faceoff against the expansion Muskegon Lumberjacks.  Puck drops at 4:00pm at the TEC.  The Stars are 0-2 in the Fall Classic, while the 'Jacks are a surprising 2-0.  I am hoping to blog live during this game, but it all depends on the wifi signal inside the TEC.  There was a good wifi signal Wednesday, but I had no signal on Thursday.  Check back here around 4:00pm to follow along.  If you do not see any updates from me after 4:00pm, you can assume that I don't have internet access.  Check the Pointstreak page to follow along online if that's the case.

Pregame:
Welcome!  The Stars are now warming up before their game against the Muskegon Lumberjacks.  Scratched for the Stars are Garrett Peterson, Josh Berge, Brad Wilhelm, Cole Martin, and Jared Hanson.  Hanson looks like his right hand is bandaged up, so I'm guessing he injured it in the fight he had in the Green Bay game on Thursday.  Kevin Murdock led the team onto the ice, so I am assuming he'll start in net.  There is a mystery player wearing #4 for the Stars today.  It could be forward Matt Esposito, formerly of the Chicago Steel.  There have been rumors floating around the past few days that the Stars acquired Esposito in a trade.  The Stars are the "home" team today, so they will be wearing their white jerseys.

First Period:
Here we go!  Kevin Murdock is starting in net for Lincoln.  Starting lineup for the Stars:  Prapavessis, Cecere, Scheid, Hervey, Shine.  17:07 remaining, and the Stars will go on the PK first.  Andrew Schmit with the penalty (hooking) for Lincoln.  Back to even-strength as the Stars did a great job killing the penalty.  Back and forth action so far.  Both teams have had some good chances, but no goals yet.  11:39 left in the period, and Muskegon strikes first.  1-0 Lumberjacks.  Stars defense was asleep on that one, and a Muskegon player broke in alone on Murdock and slipped a backhand shot past him.  9:05 remaining, and the shots on goal are Muskegon 7, Lincoln 3.  The Lumberjacks have controlled play for most of the period.  With 6:16 remaining, the Stars will go on the PP.  Holding penalty on Muskegon.  2:53 remaining, and the Stars are down 2-0.  Stars get sloppy in their own end again and the Lumberjacks capitalize with a rebound goal past Murdock..  Stars look slow and asleep thus far.  Goal!  1:05 remaining and Brent Tate scores a very nice goal for Lincoln.  Tate skated in alone, went to his backhand and roofed the shot.  Very nice goal.  Stars down 2-1.  End of the first period.  Austin Hervey received an elbowing penalty at the very end of the period, so the Stars will start the second on the PK.  2-1 Lumberjacks.  Shots on goal:  Muskegon 10, Lincoln 9

Second Period:  
Looks like Kevin Murdock is done for the day.  Lukas Hafner is now between the pipes for Lincoln.  Stars kill the Hervey penalty, although Muskegon hit a pipe.  15:55 remaining, and the Stars will go on the PP.  Muskegon whistled for holding.  Lumberjacks get a shorthanded breakaway, but Hafner makes the save.  11:23 remaining, and the Stars will go on the PP.  Esposito passed it to Dzingel who was skating in alone for the shot, but was dragged down from behind.  Dzingel got the shot off, but it was saved.  Muskegon kills the penalty.  8:54 remaining, and it will be Muskegon's turn on the PP.  Richie Coyne gets the penalty (elbowing).  Stars kill the penalty.  6:33 remaining, and the Lumberjacks score.  Goal-mouth scramble and the Stars now trail 3-1.  Ensuing faceoff, and we have a fight.  Andrew Schmit drops the gloves with a Muskegon player.  Not much of a fight, as both players fell to the ice within seconds.  4:20 remaining, and the Lumberjacks score again.  Muskegon had a 2-on-1, and Hafner saved the initial shot but gave up the rebound.  Stars down 4-1.  Goal!  1:44 left in the second period, and the Stars are within two goals.  Matt Prapavessis gets the goal for Lincoln.  Slapshot from the blue line gets past the Muskegon goaltender.  4-2 Muskegon.  1:08 remaining, and the Stars will go on the PP.  21.5 seconds remaining, and Muskegon scores a shorthanded goal to increase their lead to 5-2.  End of the second period .  Shots on goal:  Lincoln with 17 and Muskegon with 22.  Stars are not playing as well as they did against Green Bay this past Thursday.  Stars defense looks lost.

Third Period:
We're underway in the third.  17:35 remaining, and we have a number of penalties.  Brent Tate looked like he ran the Muskegon goaltender, which the Lumberjacks didn't like very much.  Tate gets a minor for roughing and a 10 minute misconduct.  Coincidental penalties so we'll play 5-on-5.  12:53 remaining and the Stars will go on the PK.  Hooking penalty on defenseman Chris Casto.  12:15 left in the period and Muskegon scores on the PP.  Slapshot gets past Hafner who looked like he was screened.  Muskegon leads 6-2.  8:41 remaining and the Stars still trail 6-2.  Stars have had a few more opportunities to score this period, but nothing is getting past the Muskegon goaltender.  Lumberjacks still look like they are a faster team than Lincoln to me (a common view the past few days in my opinion).  Goal!  6:38 remaining and Dominik Shine gets the goal for Lincoln.  Pretty move in close on the Muskegon goaltender gets the goal for Shine.  Stars down 6-3 now.  5:40 left in the third and the Stars will be on the PK.  New guy Matt Esposito gets the tripping penalty (weak call).  3:59 remaining and the Lumberjacks score on the PP.  Muskegon up 7-3 now.  Hafner was hung out to dry yet again by his defense.  'Jacks player was left all alone in front of the net for the easy one-timer.  Another penalty on Lincoln.  This time Kyle Quick gets the penalty for hooking.  2:24 remaining and Muskegon scores another PP goal.  Hafner had no chance on this one as it was deflected over his shoulder.  Great hand-eye coordination on that goal.  Stars down 8-3 now.  Another game that can't end soon enough.  We have a final.  Stars lose 8-3 to the expansion Muskegon Lumberjacks.

Stars finish winless at the Fall Classic with a 0-3 record.  Stars were outscored 20-7 in those three games.  In the last three games at the TEC, the Stars have been outscored 25-6.  Bleh.  Another long ride home to Lincoln for the Stars and their fans.  Thanks for reading, everybody.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall Classic Game Photos: Stars vs. Gamblers 9/23

Thanks once again to blog reader "Crazy Carl" for taking these great pictures and letting me use them on the blog.  Much appreciated!

Stars goaltender Lukas Hafner is surrounded by his teammates.
Brent Tate dropping bombs.
Ryan Dzingel scores!
Andrew Schmit scores!
John McCarron scores!
Jared Hanson completing the "Gordie Howe hat trick."
Game over.

USHL Fall Classic: Lincoln Stars 4, Green Bay Gamblers 5

The Lincoln Stars will play their second game of the 2010 USHL Fall Classic Thursday evening when they faceoff against the Green Bay Gamblers.  This game will take place at the IBP Ice Center at 6:00pm.  Depending on how strong the wifi signal is inside the IBP, I hope to be blogging live while this game is being played.  I will update this article during the game, so keep hitting refresh to follow along.  Click here for the Pointstreak boxscore.  Go Stars!


Pregame:
Welcome!  It is 5:20pm, and I am sitting inside the IBP Ice Center in Sioux City waiting for the Stars-Gamblers game, which will begin at 6:00pm.  Scratches for Lincoln are Peterson, Alfieri, Berge, Shine, and Wilhelm.   Josh Berge is walking around with his arm in a sling, which isn't good.  I can't confirm this, but I've heard it's a separated shoulder.  I've heard rumors today that the Stars acquired forward Matt Esposito from the Chicago Steel.  Not sure if the Stars traded for Esposito, or if the Steel dropped him and the Stars picked him up.  Also, defenseman Tyler Amburgey is no longer on the team.  Warmups will begin soon...stay tuned for more updates.  Stars wearing the white uniforms today.

First Period:
Lukas Hafner starting in net for Lincoln.  Starting lineup for the Stars:  Oskroba, Coyne, McCarron, Guzik, Tate.  First penalty of the game goes to Richie Coyne (cross-checking).  Gamblers will go on the PP.  Gamblers strike first, just as the penalty to Coyne expired.  Gamlbers up 1-0 with 16:50 remaining.  Hafner looked like a little confused as he looked in his glove after the goal went in.  Andrew Schmit commits another Lincoln penalty, so the Gamblers will go back on the PP.  Stars kill the penalty.  Green Bay is playing very aggressive thus far.  GB is all over the Stars.  Hafner has had to make two huge saves already.  12:54 remaining, and Tate drops the gloves with a GB player.  Both players landed some bombs, but Tate gets the decision.  12:34 remaining, and the Stars will go on the PP.  Another penalty on GB, and the Stars will get a 5-on-3 man advantage.  Goal!  11:45 remaining, and the Stars get the PP goal.  Dzingel gets the rebound goal in front of the net.  Assists go to Ben Oskroba and Jake Lynes.  We're past the halfway point of the period, and the Stars are playing with more intensity.  8:08 remaining, and Green Bay scores on an odd man rush.  Hafner was beat glove high.  Gambers lead 2-1.  6:10 remaining in the period, and GB will go back on the PP.  Prapavessis gets the penalty for Lincoln.  Eric Scheid skates in on a breakaway shorthanded for the Stars, but is denied.  4:50 remaining in the first period, and GB scores on the PP.  Gamblers up 3-1 now.  Goal!  1:12 remaining, and Andrew Schmit wrists it past the GB goaltender to bring the Stars within one goal.  Gamblers up 3-2.  Ryan Dzingel gets the lone assist.  :43 seconds remaining, and we have another round of fisticuffs.  This time John McCarron drops the mitts.  Gotta give that fight to the GB player, although it was close.  End of the first period with the Gamblers in the lead, 3-2.

Second Period:   
Second period underway, and Steve Johnson is standing only a few feet away from me watching the game.  Back and forth action so far, 3 minutes into the second period.  Defenseman Cole Martin is out of the game and watching from the stands...not sure why.  Lincoln with some good opportunities on offense thus far.  Kyle Quick, a defenseman, is playing forward.  Hafner makes a save, and the puck went over his shoulder and landed on the top of the net.  13:28 remaining and the Gamblers will go on the PP.  Ben Oskroba with the penalty.  Stars commit another penalty so GB will have a 5-on-3 PP.  Richie Coyne had the penalty.  Fast paced action so far with very little time for typing...not a lot of whistles in this period.  3:19 remaining in the second period, and the score is still 3-2 Green Bay.  Goal!  3:03 remaining, and Jared Hanson buries a wrister past the GB goaltender.  The game is tied up at 3-3.  Beautiful goal by Hanson.  Hanson faked a shot which got the GB defender to fall to the ice, and Hanson brought the puck back into his body and then wristed the puck top shelf.  Kacper Guzik gets the assist.  Less than 2 minutes remaining, and the Stars are back on the PK.  Ben Oskroba with the penalty.  Stars had all kinds of momentum before the penalty.  Hafner has made some huge saves on this PK.  End of the second period, and the game is tied at 3-3.  The large contingent of Stars fans in attendance give the team a big round of applause as they leave the ice.  The Stars played much better that period.

Third Period: 
We're underway in the third period!  Goal!  17:18 remaining in the third period and John McCarron scores for the Stars.  Jared Hanson with the assist.  McCarron looked like he was on his knees when he scored that goal.  Great individual effort.  Stars now lead for the first time in the game, 4-3.  Ben Oskroba playing forward now for Lincoln.  14:10 remaining in the third, and Andrew Schmit drops the gloves for Lincoln.  Not much of a fight...more of a hug-fest.  Schmit was more active so I'll give him the win.  Stars now on the PP as a GB player is called for holding.  10:47 left in the period and GB will go on the PP.  Kneeing penalty on Kacper Guzik of Lincoln.  10:14 remaining, and GB scores on the PP.  Not much Hafner could do on that one.  Gamblers made a couple of well-timed passes and Hafner is beat high on the glove side.  We're tied at 4-4.  On the ensuing faceoff, Jared Hanson drops the gloves with a GB player.  Jared was not as big as the GB player, but he gets the win.  With the fighting major, Jared now has a Gordie Howe hat-trick (one goal, one assist, one fight).  Stars need to pick it up a bit here, as GB is skating and passing much better this period.  7:53 left in the period, and the Stars are back on the PK.  This time Kacper Guzik gets two minutes for checking from behind and a 10 minute misconduct.  7:00 remaining, and Green Bay scores on the PP.  The Gamblers now lead 5-4.  Hafner appeared to have control of the puck, but it snuck under his pad and into the net.  Less than five minutes to go now in the game and the Stars are pressing for that game tying goal.  We have a final.  Stars lose 5-4 to the Green Bay Gamblers.  Shots on goal:  Green Bay with 43, Lincoln with 30.

Despite the loss to GB, the Stars played much better today.  Late in the third period when the Stars were down one goal, the Stars just couldn't get the puck into the offensive zone and keep possession.  Seemed like the Stars just ran out of gas.  Green Bay wanted it a little more in the third period, especially late.  Considering how bad the Stars looked yesterday against the Roughriders, this was definitely an improvement.  Hopefully they can build on today and come back strong against the Muskegon Lumberjacks this Saturday.  Thanks for reading, everybody.  I'm heading back to Lincoln tonight, but I will be back up here Saturday for the Stars game against Muskegon.  See you then.  Go Stars.

Fall Classic Game Photos: Stars vs. Roughriders 9/22

Thanks to blog reader "Crazy Carl" for taking these pictures from the game yesterday and allowing me to share them on the blog.  I appreciate it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

USHL Fall Classic: Lincoln Stars 0, Cedar Rapids Roughriders 7

The Lincoln Stars will begin the 2010 USHL Fall Classic on Wednesday afternoon when they faceoff against the Cedar Rapids Roughriders.  This game will take place at the Tyson Events Center at 4:00pm.  Like I mentioned earlier in the Fall Classic Preview article, I hope to be blogging live while this game is being played.  I will update this article during the game, so keep hitting refresh to follow along.  If you have any questions for me while the game is being played, please leave a comment below.  Click here for the Pointstreak boxscore  Go Stars!

Pregame:
Welcome!  I am sitting in the TEC waiting for the Stars to take the ice for their game against the Cedar Rapids Roughriders.  The Stars are wearing their black jerseys, the 'Riders are wearing  their white jerseys.  Scratches for Lincoln are Dominik Shine, Sam Alfieri, and Garrett Peterson.  The Stars will dress 8 defensemen for this game, which is a bit odd, imo.  I don't see defenseman Tyler Amburgey #4 on the scratch list, nor did I see him on the ice during warmups.  Breaking news today is that head coach Chad Johnson is taking an indefinite leave of absence due to a medial condition.  You can read more about that by clicking here.  We're about 5 minutes away from faceoff!  Stay tuned for more updates!

First Period:
Starting lineup for the Stars:  Murdock, Oskroba, Cecere, Hervey, Tate, and Scheid.  2 minutes in, and the Stars are controlling play in the Cedar Rapids end.  Good pressure by the Stars.  4 minutes in, and the Stars commit the first penalty....Richie Coyne for roughing.  Roughriders strike first on the PP.  1-0 Cedar Rapids over the Stars...15 minutes remaining in the first period.  Wow.  Roughriders score again, only a few seconds after the first goal.  2-0 Roughriders over the Stars.  14:30 remaining in the first period.  Past the halfway point of the first period, still 2-0 Cedar Rapids.  The 'Riders are starting to show how quick they are.  Murdock just made a nifty save on a CR 2-on-1.  Stars need to pick it up...started the period fast, but CR is playing better.  Cedar Rapids leads in shots on goal, 6-2.  4 minutes to go in the first period, and Cedar Rapids will go back on the PP.  Ryan Dzingel with the penalty (hooking).  Less than a minute remaining, still 2-0 CR.  End of the first period, Stars down 2-0 to the Roughriders.  Shots on goal:  Cedar Rapids 8, Lincoln 7.  Stars came out and looked very strong in the first five minutes, but faded as the period progressed.  Cedar Rapids controlled play for most of the period with their team speed.  The Stars had a few legit scoring chances, while Cedar Rapids had multiple chances.

Second Period:
Second period is underway.  McMinimy with a backhand scoring chance for the Stars early in the period.  CR comes right back with a goal past Kevin Murdock.  Score is now 3-0 Cedar Rapids over the Stars.  Murdock was beat high stick side.  Murdock responds a few minutes later with a point blank save.  Josh Berge comes in on a breakaway, gets the shot off but it is saved.  Berge draws a hooking penalty, and the Stars will be on the PP.  Stars don't score on the PP, but they put a ton of pressure on the CR goaltender.  12 minutes remaining in the second period, shots on goal are Lincoln with 12, and Cedar Rapids with 11.  8:28 remaining in the second period, and the Roughriders will go on the PP.  Stars penalty on Richie Coyne (holding).  Score is still 3-0 CR.  Stars kill the PP, but will go right back on the PK.  Stars penalty on Kyle Quick (holding).  Murdock with some huge saves on the PK so far.  3 minutes remaining in the second period, shots on goal are Cedar Rapids with 17, Lincoln with 15.  The Stars have had a hard time maintaining puck possession in this period.  This game could easily be 5-0 if it wasn't for some big saves by Murdock.  End of the second period, score is still 3-0 Cedar Rapids.  Shots on goal:  Cedar Rapids 20, Lincoln 16.   You can tell Cedar Rapids is a veteran-heavy team.  They are a much faster team than Lincoln.

Third Period:
Stars escaped a close one early on in the third period.  Murdock was down on the ice, and the puck laid just outside the goal line.  Close call.  16:27 left to go in the third period, and the Roughriders will go back on the PP.  Penalty on Jared Hanson (Interference).  CR scores on the PP, and the score is now 4-0.  Fluke deflection past the shoulder of Kevin Murdock.  Seconds after the goal, CR hits a pipe.  The Roughrider forwards are skating around the Stars d-men way too easily.  CR commits a penalty, and the Stars will go on the PP.  Stars PP is ineffective, and will be short.  Penalty on Cole Martin (tripping).  CR players are too quick for the Stars, and are drawing penalties.  Murdock with another point blank save.  Just impressed with the team speed of Cedar Rapids today.  10:17 to go in the period, and the Stars will go on the PP.  Defenseman Frank Misuraca was hit after the whistle, and draws the roughing penalty.  7:21 to go in the third period, and the score is now 5-0.  CR scores on a goal-mouth rebound.  The Stars could not get the puck out of their own zone.  This is getting ugly fast.  With 7 minutes remaining, Cedar Rapids scores on a 2-on-none, and the score is now 6-0.  No help at all for Kevin Murdock.  Shots on goal:  Cedar Rapids with 29, Lincoln with 21.  The Stars are getting out-worked, period.  Wow.  Cedar Rapids scores yet again on a goal-mouth scramble.  Cedar Rapids leads 7-0 with five minutes remaining in the third period.  This game cannot end soon enough.  Cedar Rapids forwards have skated around Lincoln d-men all afternoon.  Less than a minute remaining, and the Stars have had only a few legitimate scoring chances in this period.  That's a final, with Cedar Rapids getting the win, 7-0 over the Lincoln Stars.  Shots on goal for the game:  Lincoln 24, Cedar Rapids 32.  Kevin Murdock was visibly upset, and skated right to the bench, avoiding his teammates in the process.  Can't say I blame him at all.

Well, this was a very ugly game.  The Stars had no answer to the overall team speed of the Roughriders.  I can't count how many times that CR forwards beat Lincoln defensemen on the outside.  In the third period, I did not see much fight at all from the Stars.  Cedar Rapids was even more physical than Lincoln tonight, which was surprising to see.  This ice at the TEC has not been kind to Lincoln the past couple of games.  Before today, the last time the Stars played here was the very last regular season game last season in which they were beat 10-3 by the Sioux City Musketeers.  So in the past two games at TEC, the Stars have been outscored 17-3.  TEC is bad mojo for the Stars.

 I will do this again tomorrow evening at 6:00pm when the Stars battle the Green Bay Gamblers at the IBP Ice Center.  Thanks for reading, and I hope I didn't bore you all today.  Go Stars.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

McCarron and Hervey commit

Thanks to the reader who brought this to my attention.

The official Lincoln Stars website is reporting that forwards John McCarron and Austin Hervey have committed to colleges.  Here's the quote from the article:

Stars forwards John McCarron and Austin Hervey have committed to D-I schools following their USHL careers. McCarron has committed to Cornell for the 2011-2012 season and Hervey has committed to Western Michigan for the 2012-2013 season.

Congrats to John and Austin!  Well deserved!

Note:  In an unrelated story, the Stars have announced that season ticket holders can begin picking their tickets up at the IceBox on Monday, September 27th.  Click here to read more.

Monday, September 20, 2010

B³ Lincoln Stars Fall Classic Preview

The 2010-11 Lincoln Stars will continue their exhibition season this week when they travel to Sioux City, Iowa to participate in the 2010 USHL Fall Classic.  The Stars will play a total of three games over the course of four days, all against USHL Eastern Conference teams.  For the second straight Fall Classic, the Stars will faceoff against the returning Clark Cup champions (this year it will be the Green Bay Gamblers).  Along with the Gamblers, the Stars will also play the Cedar Rapids Roughriders, and the expansion Muskegon Lumberjacks.  These three games will be the final preseason matches the Stars will play before they start the USHL regular season on Friday, October 1st in Kearney, NE against the Tri-City Storm.

For those who might not know, this tournament is held at two different rinks in Sioux City:  the Tyson Events Center (TEC), and the IBP Ice Center.  All of the USHL Fall Classic games played at the TEC will be broadcast on B2 Networks. Games played at the IBP Ice Center will NOT be broadcast on B2 Networks. That means that the Stars games on 9/22 (Cedar Rapids), and 9/25 (Muskegon) will be available for purchase. The 9/23 game (Green Bay) will not be available to view online due to that game being played at the IBP Ice Center. Click here for more info on watching these games on B2 Networks.  I believe the cost of each game is $7 (that's what it was last year). You can also follow the games online via Pointstreak. I do not believe these game will be available on the radio.  I will be blogging live from each of the Stars games, but I will touch on that later.  Let's get to the individual matchups.

                               4:00pm Wednesday, 9/22: Lincoln Stars vs. Cedar Rapids Roughriders
The Cedar Rapids Olympic Diving Team Roughriders return 15 players from last year's squad which finished 38-19-3 and in second place in the USHL east division.  This will be a very good test for the Stars as they will face a veteran, quick, skilled hockey club.  The Roughriders are traditionally a team that doesn't play very physical, but rely more on speed, skill, and special teams.  Some call it euro-hockey, I call it boring.  This game will be played at the TEC.


                               6:00pm Thursday, 9/23:  Lincoln Stars vs. Green Bay Gamblers
As mentioned above, the Gamblers are the reigning USHL Clark Cup (and Anderson Cup) Champs.  The Gamblers roared through the regular season last year beating up anyone (literally) in their path.  However, this is a much different team this season.  Gone is head coach Jon Cooper who accepted a head coaching position in the AHL.  Gone is goaltender Steve Summerhays (31-2-3 record last season) to college.  Gone are 5 of the top 6 scorers from last season.  This game will be played at the IBP Ice Center.


                               4:00pm Saturday, 9/25:  Lincoln Stars vs. Muskegon Lumberjacks
The Lumberjacks are one of the two expansion teams to enter the USHL this season, the other being the Dubuque Fighting Saints.  I know very little about this team, so I'm not sure what to expect.  A few nights ago, the Indiana Ice cut down the Lumberjacks by a eye-popping score of 12-2.  The 'Jacks rebounded the very next night and beat the Ice 3-2 in overtime.  Talk about bipolar.  Muskegon has some good young talent on their roster, but very little USHL experience.  This game will be played at the TEC.  

I will be in attendance for all three of these games, and hopefully blogging live, also.  I have been told that both rinks (TEC and IBP) have free wifi inside, so I will be bringing my laptop with me and providing live updates on the blog as the games are occurring.  I'm really looking forward to this as it's something I've never tried before.  I've confirmed that I can bring my laptop in, so I'm hoping the available wifi signal is strong enough to provide live blog updates.  I'll start a blog game article about 15 to 30 minutes before each game, and then provide live updates as the games are played.  So keep checking the B³ blog this week for in-depth information about these games.  I will also be wearing some B³ t-shirts I had made up, so if you see me walking around, please stop me and introduce yourself.  I always enjoy meeting the people who read this blog.  The t-shirts say "B³" on the front, and "www.lincolnstarsblog.com" on the back.  

I am really looking forward to this event!  For hockey crazed nuts like myself, this tournament is nirvana.  Non-stop hockey for four straight days!  It doesn't get any better than that.  Sound off if you are planning on attending!  Hope to see a LOT of Stars fans there.  

Go Stars.