Saturday, December 31, 2011

Video highlights of the Stars 7-6 OT win over the Des Moines Bucs

I ran across a YouTube video this morning of highlights from the wild and crazy game last night in Des Moines. The person recording it is a Bucs fan, but I thought the video was very well done. Click play below to watch.  Enjoy.

Friday, December 30, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 12/30: Lincoln 7, Des Moines 6 OT-Shootout

Whew!  What a game!



I'm not sure where to even start with this recap.  Easily one of the craziest hockey games I have ever witnessed.  The Lincoln Stars blew a 6-1 lead tonight, only to come back and win it by a score of 7-6 in an overtime shootout.  Click here to view the mother of all Pointstreak boxscores.


There were so many goals scored tonight I'm not even going to try to remember each one and describe them.  The video quality via FASTHockey from the Bucs rink was horrible to begin with, so it was nearly impossible for me to even see the numbers on jerseys.

In the first period, the Stars did a terrific job with crashing the net and scored a number of "dirty goals."  They outskated, outworked, and outshot the Bucs for the entire first twenty minutes of the game.  The score could have easily been 6-0 at the first intermission.  However, whatever mojo and momentum the Stars had in the first period vanished completely in the second period.

This was basically two games in one.  The Stars dominated the first period, and about 5-10 minutes of the second period.  Lincoln had leads of 5-0 and 6-1 in this game.  With about 5 minutes gone in the second period, Stars defenseman Dax Lauwers fought with Des Moines' Branislav Rapac with the score at 6-1 in favor of Lincoln.  After that, it was all Des Moines.  And when I say it was all Des Moines, it was really ALL Des Moines.  Lincoln lost all composure, took stupid penalty after stupid penalty, and gave up five straight goals to the Bucs.  The Stars scrambled just to take this game into overtime.

In the shootout, Stars forward Jared Hanson and Luke Johnson both scored for Lincoln, while goaltender Charles Williams stopped the two Des Moines shooters he faced to secure the victory.  Incredible ending to an even more incredible game.  Watching this game on FASTHockey probably advanced my death by at least a few weeks.  My nerves were shot by the end of this one.

Jared "Mr. Clutch" Hanson scored three goals, one assist, and was +5 on the night (don't forget his shootout goal, also).  His linemate, Matt Friese, scored 3 points (1g, 2a) and was +4.  Luke Johnson scored 2 points (1g, 1a), had the shootout goal, and was +5.  Surprisingly, with all of the goals scored tonight by Lincoln, USHL scoring leader Kevin Roy was held without a point.  Roy also came up short in the shootout.  Great example of how deep this team is on offense.

Crazy, crazy game.  Like I said, one of the weirdest games I've ever seen.  Lincoln looked all but done after giving up the sixth Des Moines goal two minutes into the third period.  But give credit where credit is due.  The Stars tightened up on defense for the remainder, and held the Bucs scoreless for the rest of the game.  Win it in the shootout.  "I love it when a plan comes together."  It certainly wasn't a pretty victory, but two points is two points.

Stars are back in action tomorrow night in Sioux City against the Musketeers.  Lincoln looking to finish out 2011 with another road win and two points!

Go Stars!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

B³ Weekend Preview: Des Moines and Sioux City

The Lincoln Stars will break in the new year on the road where they will take on the Des Moines Buccaneers on Friday, December 30th, and the Sioux City Musketeers on Saturday, December 31st.  Faceoff for the Friday night game in Des Moines will take place at 7:05pm CST.  Puck drops in Sioux City on New Year's Eve at 7:00pm CST.

If you are unable to attend any of the two weekend road games, you can follow the boxscores online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on KLMS 1480 AM, or watch the games on FASTHockey for a fee.

Lincoln enters this weekend with a record of 16-8-2 (34 points), and are all alone in first place in the USHL Western Conference.  The Stars are 4-1-1 in their last six games, and have impressive road record of 9-4-1 on the season.  Click here to see the current USHL standings.

Surprisingly, the Des Moines Buccaneers (11-11-1, 23 points, fourth place in the USHL Western Conference) are a team that the Lincoln Stars have not yet faced this season.  Friday's nights game will be the first of six meetings between the Bucs and Stars in the 2011-12 regular season.

The Bucs have been and up-and-down team so far this year, and have yet to really find their identity.  For the most part, they are a .500 club both at home and on the road.  Through 23 games, they've scored 74 goals and have surrendered 71.  The have the second-worst powerplay percentage in the league, and the fifth worst penalty kill percentage.  But like Stars head coach Chad Johnson often says, there are no easy games in the USHL.  The Bucs will be ready Friday night, and a rowdy Bucs home crowd will inevitably be fired up.

On Saturday night, the Stars will ring in the new year with a road tilt against the Sioux City Musketeers (11-15-0, 22 points, fifth place in the USHL Western Conference).  This will be the fourth time these two teams will fave each other this season.  Lincoln is 2-1-0 against the Muskies in those three previous games, although in their last matchup, Sioux City beat the Stars by a score of 4-3 at the IceBox on 12/3/11.

Like the Bucs, the Musketeers are a team that have been "Jekyll and Hyde" for most of the season.  It's hard to guess which SC team will show up each night.  Some games they play like world-beaters.  Other nights, they play like a last place team.  One of the areas the Muskies have had issues with this season has been keeping the puck out of their own net.  Through 26 games, Sioux City has given up 96 goals, which is most in the USHL.  They also haven't played well at home, as their 5-9-0 record at the Tyson Events Center indicates.

This should be another good test for the Stars this weekend against two teams looking to work their way up in the western conference standings.  Other than Dominik Shine, the Stars are a 100% healthy team, which is a pleasant surprise.  The Stars looked very good this past Wednesday night in Fargo, so lets hope the boys can keep it going this weekend and bring four more points back to Lincoln.  After these two road games this weekend, the Stars come back to Lincoln where they will play seven of their next nine games at the IceBox.

I know a lot of Stars fans are making the trip up to Sioux City for the NYE game, so I hope to get some comments from them afterwards.  I'm planning on watching the Des Moines game on FASTHockey tomorrow night, so check back here after the game to read my recap article.  Thanks for reading.

Go Stars.

Edit:  I forgot to mention a recent article written by Ryan S. Clark of the Fargo, ND Inforum newspaper in which Ryan talks to Kevin Roy about his recent dealings with the Quebec Major Junior League.  Click here to read the article.  Good stuff as always from Ryan.  It's too bad we can't get him to report on the Stars since the local paper doesn't have a clue.  It's pretty sad when a North Dakota newspaper gives us the scoop before the local rag.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 12/28: Lincoln 5, Fargo 3

The Lincoln Stars began the post-holiday break with a quality road win tonight over the Fargo Force by a score of 5-3.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.



With the win and the two points, the Stars improved to 16-8-2 (34 points) and are now in sole possession of first place in the USHL Western Conference.  The second place Omaha Lancers have 32 points.  Click here to view the USHL standings.

I was able to catch this game on FASTHockey, and I'm glad I did.  The Stars played very physical, fast, and dominated play for much of the game.  The only thing I will say is that at times the Stars played a bit too physical, and took some undisciplined penalties (which led to two Fargo powerplay goals).

The good guys got on the scoreboard first when defenseman Paul LaDue scored at the 6:19 mark of the first period to give the Stars an early 1-0 lead.  With the puck in the Fargo zone, LaDue pinched on the play and after getting a pass from Kevin Roy, Paul skated to the front of the net and stuffed the puck past Force goaltender Zane Gothberg.  Roy earned the lone assist on LaDue's third goal of the season.

The Force would answer later in the first period when Gabe Guertler scored a very odd goal to knot the game at 1-1.  Guertler, who was behind the net, backhanded the puck off of Stars goaltender Jackson Teichroeb and into the open net.  It appeared that the puck may have went off Teichroeb's mask.

At the end of the first period the score was tied up at 1-1.  The Stars dominated the first twenty minutes, out-shooting the Force 15-5.

Despite only putting a total of 5 shots on goal in the second period, the Stars managed to score two goals to take a 3-1 lead.  As a Fargo penalty was ending, Stars forward Brent Tate found himself with the puck along the boards in the Force end.  Tate fired a pass across the ice to a wide-open Tommy Schutt who fired the puck glove-high past Gothberg to give Lincoln a 2-1 lead at the 11:33 mark of the second period.  Tate and Colton Saucerman collected the assists on Schutt's fifth goal of the season.

Less than four minutes after Schutt's goal, Stars forward Kevin Roy intercepted a lazy Fargo pass and skated in alone on Fargo goaltender Zane Gothberg.  Roy deked one way, went to the backhand, and roofed the puck into the open net to give Lincoln a 3-1 lead.  Roy's 21st goal of the season, which leads the USHL, was unassisted.  Stars took a 3-1 lead into the second intermission.  Fargo outshot the Stars 7-5 in the second period.

Whatever momentum the Stars had coming into the final period disappeared quickly when Fargo scored on the powerplay a little over one minute into the third.  Fargo's Taylor Richart fired a blueline wrister past a screened Teichroeb at the 1:11 mark to cut the Lincoln lead to 3-2.  The penalty-kill woes continued for the Stars later in the period when Force forward Dave Gust scored at the 12:45 mark of the third period to tie the game up at 3-3.  Just like that, the Force came back from a two-goal deficit in the third period and were smelling blood in the water.

However, the Stars would answer quickly when Tommy Schutt scored his second goal of the game just 26 seconds after Fargo's third goal to give Lincoln the lead again, this time at 4-3.  This goal was a little hard to follow.  Schutt won a faceoff in the Fargo end and quickly fired a shot that snuck by a surprised Gothberg.  The Fargo crowd was stunned.  Schutt's unassisted tally turned out to be the game-winning goal.

With Fargo netminder Zane Gothberg pulled for the extra-attacker, Stars forward Jared Hanson scored an empty-net goal to seal the Lincoln victory.  Matt Friese earned the only assist on Hanson's goal.  Stars won their second in a row in Fargo against the Force.  Lincoln outshot the Force overall 27-19.

Lincoln goaltender Jackson Teichroeb stopped 16 of 19 shots on net to record his 12th win of the season.  Fargo goaltender Zane Gothberg stopped 22 of 26 shots in the loss.  Fargo finished 2-for-6 on the powerplay, while the Stars went 0-for-2 with the man advantage.  Austin Farley, Fargo's leading scorer, was held scoreless and was -4 on the night.

Very impressed with the overall effort tonight.  With the team coming off the holiday break, I was a bit worried that they might come out and play flat and uninspired.  That was definitely not the case.  The Stars bullied the Force on their home ice, and took advantage of the offensive opportunities given to them.  Credit also goes to the team for limiting the Force to only 19 shots on goal in their own rink.  All-around quality win over a team that had won four out of their last five games coming into this matchup.

Stars continue their road swing with two more games this weekend.  On Friday night, Lincoln will travel to Des Moines, Iowa to battle the Buccaneers for the first time this season.  On New Years Eve (Saturday), the Stars will take on the Musketeers in Sioux City.  I'll highlight those two games late Thursday night.

Go Stars.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

B³ Pregame Report: Lincoln Stars vs. Fargo Force 12/28

The Lincoln Stars will return from the nine-day holiday break with a Wednesday evening matchup against the Fargo Force in Fargo.  The game in Fargo is the first of three road games the Stars will play this week.

The Stars have a record of 15-8-2 (32 points) and are tied for first place in the USHL Western Conference.  Click here to view the USHL standings.

You can follow the boxscore online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on KLMS 1480 AM, or watch the games live on FASTHockey for a fee.

The Force sport a record of 9-12-3 (21 points) and are currently tied for fifth place in the USHL Western Conference.  The Force have been a familiar foe for the Stars so far this season, as this will be the fifth time they have met already.  Each team has a record of 2-2-0 in those four previous games, with each team going 1-1-0 on their home ice.  The least time these two teams faced each other, the Stars blanked the Force in Fargo on 11/19/11 by a score of 2-0.

Despite their subpar record, the Force have been playing very well as of late.  They have won four of their last five, including four straight wins at home.  It's no secret that the Stars have had a hard time winning games against the Force in Fargo, so this should be a very good test for Lincoln, especially considering the players are returning from the holiday break.  Hopefully the Stars still aren't on holiday break mentally.

Sorry for the abbreviated pregame article.  I ran out of time tonight (I'm still mentally on holiday break) but I wanted to get something up.  I'm planning on watching this game on FASTHockey, so I hope to have a postgame recap article up on the blog sometime tomorrow night.  I'll have a preview article for the other two road games this weekend later this week.

Go Stars.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

B³ Prospect Watch: Part One

Throughout this season, I'm going to be highlighting a group of younger players the Stars have previously drafted and are protected on their affiliate list.  This is the first update of many that I will post during the next 6 months or so, leading up to the next tryout camp in June of 2012.

Although some of these names might not be familiar to most fans, the players listed here will most likely be playing for Lincoln sometime in the next season or two.  So get familiar with them, because you will see them soon at the IceBox.  In fact, some of the players below have already worn a Stars uniform.

If you have additional information about any of the players listed below that you would like me to add to the article, or if I have posted inaccurate info, please send me an email at lincolnstarshockey@gmail.com.  

This is kind of a long article, so make sure you click the "Read more" link below to check it out.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kevin Roy courted by the QMJHL - Updated

I ran across a tweet tonight regarding Stars forward Kevin Roy that I thought was very interesting.  According to the tweet (pictured below), Kevin Roy was approached by the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).

Patrick Roy, the former NHL all-star goaltender, is the co-owner, general manager, and head coach for the Remparts.  Patrick Roy is no relation to Kevin Roy.


I also ran across this article (which is in French), that states that Roy had a meeting with the Remparts recently, but appears to be coming back to Nebraska and the Lincoln Stars after the holiday break.  Here's a rough translation (according to Google) of the above linked article:
The scoring of the best known American junior circuit, the USHL, could it be a wall a few weeks? We can now ask the question.
Kevin Roy of Lac-Beauport near Quebec, aligned with the Lincoln Stars. He has not closed the door to 100% to my colleague from VAT Sports in Quebec Stéphane Turcot. An appointment was scheduled between the clan and the Remparts Roy this week. He returned to Nebraska next week.
Roy has passed through the ranks of the Académie Saint-Louis in Quebec before taking the path of USHL. It will probably be drafted by an NHL team in June.
According to the plan A, it will evolve at Brown University next year.
Before you ask the question: no there is no relationship to Patrick Roy.

I really doubt Roy would give up his college scholarship and eligibility to play major juniors at this point in his hockey career, so I think these reports are nothing to be concerned about.  It appears for the time being that Roy is intent on returning to the Stars, and playing at Brown University next season.


Edit: Here's a follow-up to this story, courtesy of Ryan S. Clark of the "Slightly Chilled" blog:

http://slightlychilled.areavoices.com/?p=1339


Here's an excerpt from the article linked above:

Lincoln Stars coach Chad Johnson said this afternoon forward Kevin Roy will not join the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this season.

Johnson said Roy, who leads the USHL in scoring with 38 points this season, was recently approached by a Quebec City television station about doing an interview when he returned home for the Christmas Break. Roy is from Lac-Beauport, which is 15 miles or 25 kilometers from the province’s capital city.

“Both myself and (Stars assistant Jimmy) McGroarty spoke with the family. Jimmy spoke with his father and I spoke with Kevin at length and it started out as a TV station that wanted to do an interview and turned into a local player the Remparts are interested in,” Johnson said by phone. “Now he’s supposedly going to meet with the organization and Patrick Roy with him being the owner. We were told the family is not interested. They are interested in the college route. (The interview) was not blown out of proportion, but it was twisted around into him wanting to play in the QMJHL.”

“They put a kid in a tough spot,” Johnson said. “One thing about Kevin, he’s a loyal player. At 18 years old, that can be overwhelming. But he’s thinking about where he could be at 39 or 40. Academics are important to him and his family. Bottom line is if Kevin keeps progressing, he is going to play in the NHL regardless of where he’s playing.”

Johnson said when he spoke with Roy he asked him what would he rather have on his resume: An education from an Ivy League university or the fact he played Major Junior hockey in Canada.

Here's a link to a video from TVA Sports in Quebec, Canada about Kevin Roy.  Kevin is interviewed in the video, but unless you're fluent in French, you won't get much out of the video.  Click here to view it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 12/17: Lincoln 2, Green Bay 3 OT

Jared Hanson scored a game-tying goal with only 1.3 seconds remaining in the third period to force overtime, but it was the hometown Green Bay Gamblers that won it in the extra period over the Lincoln Stars by a score of 3-2.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the overtime loss (and the one point), the Stars will head into the USHL holiday break with a record of 15-8-2 (32 points), and are now tied for first place in the USHL Western Conference with the Omaha Lancers.  The Lancers have played one more game than the Stars, and have one more loss.  Lincoln has a .640 winning percentage, while Omaha has a .615 winning percentage.  Click here to view the USHL standings.

I decided to watch this game on FASTHockey, and I'm glad I did.  This was a very good matchup between two of the top teams in the USHL right now.

In what has become an unfortunate hallmark for this Lincoln squad, the Stars came out a bit sluggish in the first twenty minutes and fell behind early to the Gamblers.  I'm not sure what it is about this team, but it seems that more often than not, they play uninspired hockey in the first period.  They are certainly not a team that starts strong, but thankfully, they do seem to turn it on and play better as the game progresses.

Green Bay got out to a 2-0 lead in the first period thanks to two different defensive turnovers made by the Stars in their own end.  On GB's first goal, Nick Schmaltz stripped the puck from a Stars defenseman behind the net and then centered it to a wide open Sam Kerr who snapped the puck past Stars goaltender Charles Williams.  

The second GB goal came when Nicholas Schilkey picked the pocket of another Stars defenseman just inside the blueline, and then drove hard to the net before passing it over to Alex Kile who one-timed the puck past Williams to increase the lead to 2-0.  Hard to blame Williams on either of those two goals.  His defensemen left him out to dry for sure.

Lincoln outshot Green Bay 13-11 in the first period, but many of those 13 shots were from bad angles, so Gamblers goaltender Michael Rotolo really didn't have to work too hard to make those 13 saves. 

In the second period, both teams would go scoreless although I thought Lincoln played with more urgency and tested Rotolo with higher quality shots on goal.  Both teams would put up 15 shots on net in the second period.

The Stars would finally get on the board at the 5:55 mark of the third period when Paul LaDue's shot from the point was tipped in by Markus McCrea.  The powerplay goal pulled Lincoln to within one goal at 2-1.  Jared Hanson and Paul LaDue earned the assists on McCrea's fourth goal of the season.  Just like the second period, I thought Lincoln outplayed Green Bay for the most part in the third period, but as the minutes ticked away, it started to appear that Lincoln would not be able to tie the game.

However, Jared "Mr. Clutch" Hanson had other plans.  With only 1.3 seconds remaining in the game, and with Stars goaltender Charles Williams pulled for the extra attacker, Jared Hanson drove hard to the net and knocked the puck past Rotolo on a goal-mouth scramble to knot the game up at 2-2.  At this point of the game, you could say Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye was a happy guy.  Brent Tate earned the only assist on Hanson's tenth goal of the season.  Just when it looked like the Stars would lose their second game of the weekend by one goal in regulation, Hanson came up huge, which seems to be his calling card.  We would go to overtime.

However, just one minute and sixteen seconds into the 4-on-4 five minute overtime period, Gamblers defenseman Jordan Schmaltz ripped a shot past Charles Williams to win the game.  Schmaltz, who was left all alone by the Stars at the blueline, skated a few strides in and snapped the puck glove high past Williams to give his team the 3-2 victory.

Stars outshot Green Bay overall, 39 to 34.  Lincoln goaltender Charles Williams stopped 31 of 34 shots on net in the loss.  Green Bay goaltender Michael Rotolo stopped 37 of 39 shots on goal in the win.  I thought both goaltender played very, very well.  Stars finished 1-for-2 on the powerplay, while the Gamblers went 0-for-3 with the man advantage.  Stars did a great job killing a near two minute 5-on-3 Green Bay powerplay in the second period.

Tough loss, but I thought Lincoln deserved at least a point tonight and they got it thanks to Hanson's heroics.  Hopefully the team can figure out a way to avoid these lazy starts, because if they can, they will continue to win a lot of games.  Lincoln now has the following 10 days off for the holiday break.  The next game for the Stars will be on December 28th in Fargo, against the Force.

I hope everyone out there has a happy and safe holiday season, and thank you for patronizing this blog.  I have plans for some articles this week and next to keep content fresh, so stay tuned for those.  For one of those articles I'm going to highlight some of the younger, up-and-coming players the Stars have drafted recently, and update everyone on where they are playing right now.

Go Stars.  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 12/16: Lincoln 4, Dubuque 5

A third period comeback by Lincoln came up just short last night in Dubuque, as the hometown Fighting Saints hung on to a 5-4 victory over the Stars.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the loss, Lincoln dropped to 15-8-1 (31 points) but the Stars are still in sole possession of first place in the USHL Western Conference.  The second place Omaha Lancers, who lost 7-1 to the Fargo Force last night, are right behind the Stars with 30 points.  Click here to view the USHL standings.


I only listened to the radio broadcast of this game, so this recap will be short.  If you watched the game on FASTHockey and you'd like to leave a comment, please do so below.

For the most part, this game was lost by the Stars in the first period.  Before they could blink, the Stars found themselves down 2-0 in the first five minutes of the game.  In total, Lincoln surrendered four goals to Dubuque in the first twenty minutes and found themselves down 4-2 at the first intermission.  Dubuque would add a fifth goal in the second period, so the Stars had a three goal deficit (5-2) going into the third period.

In the third, goals from Kevin Roy and Brent Tate pulled the Stars to within one goal at 5-4, but that would be as close as Lincoln would get to tying the game.  Stars have their five-game road win streak snapped by the Saints, who extended their home winning streak to seven games.

Stars outshot the Fighting Saints overall, 26 to 24.  Lincoln finished the game 1-for-3 on the powerplay, while the Saints went 0-for-5 with the man advantage.  Dubuque did score one shorthanded goal in this game, which was the first SH goal the Stars have surrendered this season.  Jackson Teichroeb stopped 19 of 24 shots in the loss.

Kevin Roy and Brent Tate each scored two goals for the Stars to lead the scoring charge for Lincoln.  Roy, who now has scored 37 points (20g, 17a) in 24 games, continues to hold the top spot in scoring in the USHL.

The Stars will travel to Green Bay, Wisconsin tonight to take on the Gamblers, who are considered by many to be the top team in the USHL right now.  However, the Gamblers lost a rare game last night at home to the Youngstown Phantoms by a score of 5-3.  Before the loss last night to the Phantoms, the Gamblers had not lost in regulation in 13 straight games.  In fact, they had a record of 12-0-1 in those thirteen games.  The Stars will certainly have their work cut out for them if they want to earn two points tonight, and finish strong before the holiday break.

Go Stars.

Friday, December 16, 2011

B³ Live Chat: Lincoln Stars vs. Dubuque Fighting Saints 12/16

Join us tonight when we will be chatting live during the Lincoln Stars vs. Dubuque Fighting Saints game. Puck drops at 7:05pm CST. If you aren't familiar with the CoverItLive chat software, it's very simple to use. Around 6:45pm tonight, I will start the blog window below, allowing fans to chat with one another during the game. You don't need to register to chat. Just type in your screen name and post a comment. See you at 6:45pm! 

Click here to listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye call the game on AM 1480 KLMS (online feed). Click here to watch the game via FASTHockey, for a fee.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

B³ Weekend Preview: Dubuque and Green Bay

With only two games remaining until the x-mas holiday break, the Lincoln Stars will go on the road and hopefully extend their current three-game winning streak with contests against two of the top USHL Eastern Conference teams.  On Friday, the Stars will take on the Dubuque Fighting Saints.  On Saturday, Lincoln will battle against the Green Bay Gamblers.  Faceoff for both games will take place at 7:05pm CST.

If you'd like to follow the action this weekend, you can check out the boxscores online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on KLMS 1480 AM, or watch the games on FASTHockey for a fee.

The Stars enter this weekend with a record of 15-7-1 (31 points) and are all alone in first place in the USHL Western Conference standings.  The Stars have a one point lead over the Omaha Lancers who have 30 points and are in second place.  Lincoln has one game in hand over Omaha.  Click here to view the USHL standings.

First up for the Stars on Friday night will be a tilt against the defending Clark Cup champion Dubuque Fighting Saints (14-7-1, 29 points, second place in the USHL Eastern Conference).  Since the Saints joined the USHL at the beginning of the 2010-11 season as an expansion team, the Stars are winless (0-1-1) against Dubuque.  This will be first of two games the Saints and Stars will play against each other this season.  The Saints will come to the IceBox to take on the Stars later on in the regular season on 3/23/2012 for the last matchup.

The Saints are one of the better defensive teams in the USHL, surrendering on average only 23 shots and 2.5 goals per game.  Dubuque goaltender Matt Morris, who was a big reason why the Saints won the Clark Cup last season (playoff MVP), was recently activated from the injured reserve list and should be starting against the Stars on Friday night.  Morris is also a big reason why Stars goaltender Jackson Teichroeb is playing for Lincoln right now.  Teichroeb, who played alongside Morris for the Fighting Saints last season, requested a trade during the offseason.  With Morris returning to the Saints for another season, Teichroeb saw the writing on the wall and requested a trade to a team where he would get more playing time.

The Lincoln coaches thought Teichroeb would be a good addition to the team, so they traded a first round pick in the 2012 USHL Entry Draft for the rights to Teichroeb.  So far, the decision to bring in Teichroeb has paid off for the Stars.  I would assume the Stars will start Teichroeb in net against his former team on Friday night, so it will be interesting to see how he performs.  Dubuque goaltender Matt Morris, has not played in a game since 10/22/11, so let's hope he's rusty and allows some easy goals.

On Saturday night, the Stars will take on arguably the best team in the USHL right now, the Green Bay Gamblers (19-3-1, 39 points, first place in the USHL Eastern Conference).  Unlike Dubuque, this will be the only time this season that the Stars and Gamblers will play against each other.  Green Bay enters this weekend on a seven-game winning streak.

To put it simply, the Gamblers are scary good.  Scary.  They are deep at every position, and have one of the top goaltenders in the USHL in Ryan McKay.  But, like every other team in the USHL, the Gamblers put on their skates the same way as the Stars, so it's not like GB is unbeatable.  They can be beat, and oddly enough, they play much better on the road compared to at home, which is good news for Lincoln.  The Gamblers have an astonishing 13-1-0 road record, and a 6-2-1 record at home.

To say these weekend games will be the biggest test the Stars have faced so far this season is an understatement.  Lincoln currently has the second-best record in the entire USHL, so it will interesting to see how they stack up against the top two eastern conference teams.  If you are thinking about watching any games on FASTHockey this season, I would recommend purchasing both contests.  The hockey on display should be top notch.  Considering the competition, I think getting at least two points this weekend would be great.  Anything more than that would be really great. :)

We will have a live chat running on both nights this weekend, so check us out.  Those chats will start around 6:45pm each night.  Hope to see you there.

Go Stars.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jared Hanson named USHL Offensive Player of the Week

More good news for the Lincoln Stars!

Lincoln Stars forward Jared Hanson was named "CCM Offensive Player of the Week" by the USHL today due to his efforts this past weekend.  Click here to view the official press release from the league.

Here's an excerpt from the article linked above:

Hanson scored five points (3g, 2a) and earned a plus-five rating as the Stars won three games in three nights.  He dished out two assists in the 5-2 win vs. Sioux Falls on Friday.  The 18-year-old from Palmer, Alaska then scored three goals, including the winner in overtime, during the 4-3 victory over Waterloo on Saturday.  It was the first hat trick of his USHL career as he fired a game high seven shots on goal.  Hanson is playing in his second USHL season and has collected 16 points (9g, 7a) through 18 games, already equaling his goal total from 53 games last season.

Congrats to Jared!  Very well deserved.  Hanson is one of those players who has a motor that doesn't quit, and is the type of teammate who would sacrifice just about anything to win a game.  What he lacks in size he makes up with the size of his heart.  Nice to see Jared get the recognition he deserves.  Well done!

"Lincoln Stars Success" video from Channel 10/11 KOLN-KGIN

Thanks to the blog reader who brought this to my attention.

KOLN/KGIN 10/11 did a recent story on the success of the Lincoln Stars franchise over the years.  That video is below.  Very interesting piece, I thought.  Stars President Jim Pflug is interviewed, along with former Stars fan favorite Derek Reynolds and current Stars defenseman Dax Lauwers.  Here's the link to the story on the 10/11 website if you cannot play the video below.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 12/11: Lincoln 2, Waterloo 1 OT Shootout

It's a clean sweep for the Lincoln Stars!  3-for-3!



Tonight in Waterloo, Iowa, the Lincoln Stars did something that hadn't been done since April of 2007.  The Stars won a game at Waterloo Young Arena against the Blackhawks.  Stars win tonight, 2-1 in an overtime shootout over the Waterloo B'hawks.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the win this evening, the Stars earned six out of a possible six points available to them this weekend.  Lincoln has won three in a row, and swept the Blackhawks in their home-and-home series.  Lincoln improved their record to 15-7-1 (31 points), and are now all alone in first place in the USHL Western Conference.  The Omaha Lancers, who currently have 30 points, were bumped out of the top spot.  Click here to view the USHL standings.

I didn't get a chance to listen to the broadcast tonight, so this "recap" will be brief.  If anyone out there had an opportunity to watch the game on FASTHockey, and you'd like to give us your take, please leave a comment below.  We'd love to hear from you.

In the first period, Waterloo scored their only goal of the game at the 15:40 mark when Mike Huntebrinker scored at even-strength to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead.  Waterloo would take that 1-0 lead into the first intermission.  Waterloo outshot the Stars 16-5 through the first twenty minutes.

The Stars would score their only regulation goal in the second period when forward Kevin Roy potted his league-leading 18th goal of the season at the 13:54 mark.  Dax Lauwers and Matt Friese earned assists on Roy's even-strength goal.  Stars outshot the B'hawks 12-9 in the second period.

After a scoreless third period, this game would go to a five minute 4-on-4 overtime period.  Stars outshot the Blackhawks 12-8 in the third period.  In the five minute overtime period, the Stars outshot the Blackhawks 4-1, but neither team would score.

In the shootout, the Stars would score three times, while Waterloo would only score twice.  I'm going to copy the shootout results from Pointstreak below.  As you can see, Stars defenseman Colton Saucerman scored what would turn out to be the game-winning shootout goal.


Stars goaltender Charles Williams stood on his head tonight and stopped 33 of 34 shots to record his fourth win of the season.  The Waterloo organization decided to give all of the three stars to their own players (lame), but the true number one star of this game was Charles.

Huge win tonight to get the six points in three games, and earn their first win Waterloo since 2007 to get the monkey off their backs.  The next five games the Stars will play are all on the road, so this weekend should be a big confidence booster for the team as the get back on the bus.  Lincoln will face the top two teams in the USHL Eastern Conference next weekend when they take on the Dubuque Fighting Saints (29 points) on Friday, and the Green Bay Gamblers (39 points) on Saturday.  Big test for the team.  The two road games next weekend will be the final two games before the Stars go on x-mas break.

Go Stars.

Snapshots of the Game: Waterloo vs. Lincoln 12/10

Thanks to Carl Kacvinsky and Jeff White for allowing me to share some of their photos from the Waterloo game last night.  Click here and here to view Carl's Facebook page and website.  Also, check out Jeff's "Depicted Image" Facebook page.  If you're on Facebook, make sure you "Like" both pages so you can see all of their Stars photos throughout the season.

Click the "Read more" link underneath the photo below to see all of the pictures in this series.

Jared Hanson goes down to one knee to celebrate his game-winning OT goal

Saturday, December 10, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 12/10: Waterloo 3, Lincoln 4 OT

Courtesy of CK Photography
Wow!  What an amazing atmosphere tonight at the IceBox!

In front of 4,123 rabid fans tonight at the IceBox, Jared Hanson scored his third goal of the game in overtime to give the Stars a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Waterloo Blackhawks.

 Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.



With the win, their second in a row, the Stars improved to 14-7-1 (29 points) and are in second place, one point behind first place Omaha, in the USHL Western Conference standings.  Lincoln has two games in hand over the Lancers.  Click here to view the USHL standings.



The Stars got on the scoreboard halfway through the first period when forward Jared Hanson scored his first of three goals on the night, at the 10:06 mark to give Lincoln a 1-0 lead.  Kevin Roy and Matt Friese earned the assists on Jared's even-strength goal.  Roy set up the play with a pretty pass to a breaking Hanson who one-timed the puck into the net.  The 1-0 lead wouldn't last long for the Stars as Waterloo's Tyler Zepeda scored at the 13:54 mark to knot the score at 1-1.  Stars Jackson Teichroeb misplayed the puck behind his own net, and the puck squirted out to a wide open Zepeda who tapped it into the open net.  Probably the easiest USHL goal Zepeda will ever score.  Stars outshot the Blackhawks 6-3 in the opening period.

In the second stanza, Waterloo would strike first when Mark Naclerio scored at the 13:20 mark to give the Blackhawks their first lead of the game at 2-1.  Less than three minutes later, the Stars would score on the powerplay to even the score at 2-2.  Lincoln defenseman Colton Saucerman found himself with the puck close in on Waterloo goaltender Jay Williams.  Saucerman skated in front of the netminder, held onto the puck and waited for Williams to commit, then roofed a backhand shot to score.  Zach Aston-Reese picked up the lone assist on Saucerman's third goal of the season.  Saucerman has now scored in back-to-back games, and all three of his regular season goals have come on the powerplay.  Stars outshot the Blackhawks 15-8 in the second period.

Just like in the first two periods, the Stars and Blackhawks would both score once in the third period.  Waterloo didn't waste any time when Tony Cameranesi scored a powerplay goal just 14 seconds into the third to give the B'hawks their second lead of the game, this time at 3-2.  Both teams exchanged scoring chances throughout the third, but it was the Stars who found the back of the net at the 11:12 mark.  Jared Hanson scored his second goal of the game, this time when he tipped a Brandon Carlson shot past goaltender Jay Williams to even the score at 3-3.  Carlson and Zach Aston-Reese earned the assists on Hanson's even-strength goal.  At the end of regulation, the score remained 3-3.  Stars outshot the Blackhawks 13-8 in the third period.

In overtime, the hero was Jared Hanson, who has a knack for scoring dramatic game-winning goals at the IceBox. Last season, on 3/8/11, Hanson scored with only 33 seconds remaining in the third period to propel the Lincoln Stars past the Omaha Lancers by a score of 4-3.  This time, Jared scored 2 minutes and 19 seconds into the overtime period to give Lincoln the two points.  Colton Saucerman started the play with an outlet pass up to Luke Johnson, who brought it into the Waterloo zone.  Johnson then passed it over to a breaking Hanson, who drove hard to the net and chipped the puck past goaltender Jay Williams, into the open net.  The IceBox went nuts.  I hope you like my hat, Jared!

Stars outshot the Blackhawks 35-21 overall.  Jackson Teichroeb stopped 18 of 21 shots to record his 11th win of the season.  Jay Williams, who in my opinion was Waterloo's best player of the game, stopped 31 of 35 in the loss.  Stars went 1-for-7 on the powerplay, while the Blackhawks went 1-for-4 with the man advantage.

Gutsy win by the Stars.  I thought Lincoln did a fantastic job with playing the body all night long and wearing the Blackhawks down physically.  Waterloo has a very fast team, but they don't have a lot of size, especially up front with the forwards.  I'm not sure if this was the game plan, but I thought the Stars took advantage of the size advantage they had, and wore down the Blackhawks with hit after hit.  He doesn't show up on the scoresheet with any points, but I thought Zach Frye, who was playing forward last night, had a very good game.  Frye hit anything that moved, and caused a lot of havoc.

Lincoln goes for the weekend sweep tonight against the Blackhawks in Waterloo, Iowa.  The rink in Waterloo is olympic size, which is bigger than your typical NHL sized rink, so that means more ice and a quicker pace.  The Blackhawks, with their smaller, quicker forwards, take advantage of that extra space that the olympic ice surface offers.  Should be a tough one again tonight for the Stars.  Faceoff for that game is at 5:05pm.  Can the Stars earn 6 out of 6 points available this weekend?  We'll find out soon enough.

Go Stars.

Friday, December 9, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 12/9: Lincoln 5, Sioux Falls 2

The Lincoln Stars started their three-games in three-nights weekend with an impressive 5-2 road victory over the Sioux Falls Stampede tonight.  The win snapped the Stars' two-game losing streak.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.



With the win, the Stars improved to 13-7-1 (27 points) and are in second place in the USHL Western Conference.  Lincoln is only one point behind the Omaha Lancers (28 points), who are in first place.  The Stars have two games in hand over the Lancers, however.

Scoring for the Stars tonight was Kevin Roy, Markus McCrea (2), Colton Saucerman (PP), and Ralfs Freibergs.  Kevin Roy finished the game as the leading scorer with 3 points (1g, 2a).

Stars goaltender Charles Williams stopped 19 of 21 shots to record the win, his third of the season and his second against the Sioux Falls Stampede.  Stars handily outshot the Stampede, 40-21 overall.  Lincoln went 1-for-2 on the powerplay, while Sioux Falls finished 1-for-1 with the man advantage.

Stars are back at the IceBox tomorrow (Saturday) night to face the Waterloo Blackhawks.  Be there, and be loud!

Go Stars.

B³ Live Chat: Lincoln Stars vs. Sioux Falls Stampede 12/9

Join us tonight when we will be chatting live during the Lincoln Stars vs. Sioux Falls Stampede game. Puck drops at 7:05pm CST. If you aren't familiar with the CoverItLive chat software, it's very simple to use. Around 6:45pm tonight, I will start the blog window below, allowing fans to chat with one another during the game. You don't need to register to chat. Just type in your screen name and post a comment. See you at 6:45pm! 

Click here to listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye call the game on AM 1480 KLMS (online feed). Click here to watch the game via FASTHockey, for a fee.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

B³ Weekend Preview: Sioux Falls and Waterloo²

The Lincoln Stars will look to rebound after a disappointing homestand last weekend with three games in three nights this weekend against western conference foes.  On Friday, the Stars will travel to Sioux Falls, SD to take on the Stampede.  On Saturday, the Stars will return to the IceBox to battle the Waterloo Blackhawks.  On Sunday evening, the Stars will get back on the bus and take on the Waterloo Blackhawks once again, but this time in their rink.  Faceoff for both Friday and Saturday night games will take place at 7:05pm.  Faceoff for the Sunday game in Waterloo will take place at 5:05pm.

If you are unable to attend any of the three weekend games, you can follow the boxscores online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on KLMS 1480 AM, or watch the games on FASTHockey for a fee.

Lincoln enters this weekend with a record of 12-7-1 (25 points), and are in second place in the USHL Western Conference.  The Omaha Lancers, who are riding a three-game winning streak after firing their head coach, are in first place with 26 points, although they have played two more games than the Stars at the time of this article.  Click here to see the USHL standings.

First up for the black and blue will be the Sioux Falls Stampede (8-8-1, 17 points, sixth place in the USHL Western Conference), a team that the Stars are very familiar with.  Lincoln has played twenty games this season, and four of those twenty games have been against the Stampede, more than any other USHL team.  The Stars are 3-1-0 against the Stampede in those four games, although each game has been tightly contested.  Three of the four games have been decided by one goal, and the other game was decided by two goals.  In their previous four tilts, neither team has scored more than three goals.

A big reason why each of the four previous meetings have been low scoring, and tightly contested, is the fact that both squads have some of the better goaltending in the USHL.  The big dog in Sioux Falls is goaltender Stephon Williams.  Although Williams is 1-3-0 against Lincoln this season, his individual numbers are very, very respectable.  Williams has a 2.03 goals against average, and a .947 save percentage in those four games.  On the other side of the coin, Stars goaltender Jackson Teichroeb is 2-1-0 against Sioux Falls with a 1.67 goals against average and a .936 save percentage.  Stars goaltender Charles Williams is 1-0-0 against Sioux Falls after stopping all 25 shots he saw on opening night in Lincoln's 2-0 shutout victory over the Stampede on 9/30/11.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Stars will get very familiar with the Waterloo Blackhawks (10-7-2, 22 points, third place in the USHL Western Conference) when they play a home-and-home series.  This will be the second and third times these two teams will face each other this season.  In their only previous matchup, the Blackhawks earned a quality 4-3 win over the Stars at the IceBox on 10/7/11.  In that game, Waterloo broke a 3-3 tie late in the third period with powerplay goal to win it.

Waterloo is a very young, fast, talented team that is right behind the Stars in the USHL Western Conference standings.  Leading the way for the B'hawks is the youngster Taylor Cammarata, who just happens to be the youngest player on the team (DOB 5/13/95).  Cammarata was picked #1 overall by Waterloo in the 2011 Futures Draft after he scored 139 points (71g, 68a) in only 54 games last season for the Shattuck-St. Mary's U-16 prep hockey team.  Through 19 games for Waterloo this season, Cammarata has 24 points (12g, 12a) and is third overall in USHL scoring.  It's hard to believe that a 16-year old is racking up points like Cammarata has, and is near the top of the USHL scoring chart.

The two games against Waterloo will be a huge test for the Stars, considering the B'hawks are right behind the Stars in the standings.  Waterloo is traditionally a team that the Stars haven't not had a lot of luck against in the past five years or so.  Going back to the start of the 2007-08 season, the Stars and Waterloo Blackhawks have played a total of 13 times in the regular season.  The Stars have a record of 3-6-4 in those thirteen games.  Only three wins in 13 games against Waterloo.  Overtime hasn't been kind to the Stars against the B'hawks over the years either.  

The game against Waterloo at the IceBox this Saturday will be the last home game in the month of December for the Stars, so make sure you attend and get your live hockey fix because you won't see it for almost a month.  The next home game after the Waterloo game is on Friday, January 6th.  Eight of the next ten games the Stars will play are on the road, so in order to stay near the top of the standings, Lincoln will have to win a number of games away from the comfy confines of the IceBox.

Go Stars.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Snapshots of the Game: Sioux City vs. Lincoln 12/3

Thanks to Brandon Anderson and Jeff White for letting me post some of their photos from the Sioux City game last night.  Check out Brandon's "BA Photos" Facebook page and website, and also check out Jeff's "Depicted Image" Facebook page also.  If you're on Facebook, make sure you "Like" both pages so you can see all of their Stars photos throughout the season.

Click the "Read more" link underneath the photo below to see all of the pictures in this series.

Pregame starting lineup

B³ Postgame Recap 12/3: Sioux City 4, Lincoln 3

Courtesy of Depicted Image - Jeff White
The Sioux City Musketeers came into the IceBox on Saturday night and extended the Stars' home losing streak to three games with a gritty 4-3 victory.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the loss, the Stars dropped to 12-7-1 (25 points) and despite their current two-game losing losing streak, the Stars are still all alone in first place in the USHL Western Conference.  Click here to see the current USHL standings.



The Muskies got on the scoreboard early in the first period when Nikita Sirotkin scored at the 4:45 to give SC the 1-0 lead they would take into the first intermission.  The Stars would outshoot the Muskies 8-5 in the first period, but they were not able to get any shots past SC goaltender Matt Skoff.

In the second period, both teams really amped up the scoring chances as the two teams combined for 33 shots on goal.  It was Lincoln who scored first in the period when Kevin Roy scored his league-leading 16th goal of the season (on the powerplay) to even the score at 1-1.  Brent Tate and Colton Saucerman earned the assists on Roy's PP wrap-around goal, which came at the 7:05 mark of the period.

Sioux City would answer at the 10:29 mark when David Henry scored for the Muskies.  The Stars kept fighting and scored another PP goal late in the period to knot the game up at 2-2.  Ralfs Freibergs muscled the puck past Skoff in a goal-mouth scramble at the 16:47 mark of the period.  Brent Tate and Zach Aston-Reese collected the assists on Freibergs' 5th goal of the season.  Sioux City outshot Lincoln 17-16 in the second period.

The Stars struck early in the third period when Matt Friese scored a very impressive individual effort goal at the 4:49 mark to give the home team its first lead of the game at 3-2.  Jared Hanson and Zach Aston-Reese earned the assists on Friese's even-strength goal.  That 3-2 Lincoln lead only about a minute, as David Goodwin of the Muskies scored at the 5:55 mark of the third period to tie the game at 3-3.

Sioux City would score the game-winning goal late in the third period thanks to a Brad Robbins' PP tally with less than four minutes remaining in the game.  Robbins brought the puck in from the blueline and ripped a glove-high shot past Stars goaltender Jackson Teichroeb.  The Stars would have their own late powerplay opportunity late in the game, when SC's Jose Delgadillo was whistled for tripping at the 17:27, but the Stars were unable to convert.

Lincoln finished 2-for-5 on the powerplay, while the Muskies went 1-for-4 with the man advantage.  Sioux City outshot Lincoln overall, 32-29.  Jackson Teichroeb stopped 28 of 32 shots in the loss.

Stars obviously played better on Saturday night against Sioux City than they did Friday night against Omaha, but I felt that they let the Muskies control the play for large portions of the game.  I really expected the Stars to come out in that first period and really play inspired hockey, but I just didn't see that sense of urgency.  The momentum swings in this game were constant, but it seemed like whenever Lincoln had "mo" on its side, the Muskies would quickly score a goal or do something to take the crowd out of the game and deflate the Stars.

Losing three in a row at the IceBox is rare for this team, so maybe it's good that they go on the road for seven of their next eight games.  The Stars have five games before the x-mas break, four of those on the road, and each will be against some of the better teams in the USHL.  Two games against Waterloo, one game against Sioux Falls, one game against Green Bay, and one game against Dubuque.  Not one of those four teams has a losing record as of today.  With Omaha and Waterloo sneaking up behind them in the western conference ratings, the Stars are going to have to win some key games on the road in the next month to keep that top spot in the standings.

Lincoln will return to action next weekend with three games in three days.  Friday night they will go on the road to face the Sioux Falls Stampede.  On Saturday night, the Stars will be back at the IceBox to knock heads with the Waterloo Blackhawks.  On Sunday afternoon, the Stars will take on the Blackhawks again, but this time in Waterloo, Iowa.  Great opportunity for the Stars to get back on track and earn 6 points next weekend.  We'll talk about those three games later in the week.

Go Stars.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Snapshots of the Game: Omaha vs. Lincoln 12/2

Thanks to Brandon Anderson and Jeff White for letting me post some of their photos from the Omaha Lancers game last night.  Check out Brandon's "BA Photos" Facebook page and website, and also check out Jeff's "Depicted Image" Facebook page also.  If you're on Facebook, make sure you "Like" both pages so you can see all of their Stars photos throughout the season.

Click the "Read more" link underneath the photo below to see all of the pictures in this series.

Stars celebrate Kevin Roy's second period goal....and the teddy bears begin to fly

B³ Postgame Recap 12/2: Omaha 7, Lincoln 2

Courtesy of Brandon Anderson Photography
The Omaha Lancers stunned a near sellout IceBox crowd Friday night with a 7-2 thumping of the Lincoln Stars.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.  The win for Omaha was their first against the Lincoln Stars in seven straight games dating back to last season.  The Stars were 6-0 against the Lancers going into their matchup last night, which didn't end well for the good guys.

I don't have a lot of time to devote to this recap, so this will be short.  I'm going to post some photos from the game courtesy of Brandon Anderson and Jeff White right after this.

Omaha came out in the first period and simply outworked and outskated the Stars for the first twenty minutes of the game.  They were rewarded with a 3-0 lead going into the first intermission.  Lincoln could not keep up with Omaha's speed, and they looked tired and a little lost.  Unfortunately for the Stars, the damage had already been done by the three Omaha goals.

As we've seen more than a few times this season after a slow start, Lincoln came back and played much better in the second period.  They limited the amount of Omaha chances, and was able to get one goal past Lancers goaltender Alex Lyon.  Stars forward Kevin Roy scored his USHL leading 15th goal of the season at the 8:06 mark of the period.  Brandon Carlson collected the only assist on Roy's even-strength goal.  Omaha took a 3-1 lead going into the second intermission.

The Stars battled for the first part of the third period, and kept the game within two goals, but the Lancers scored two late empty-net goals to seal the victory.  Scoring for the Stars in the third period was Brent Tate, with the only assist going to Kevin Roy.  Omaha outscored Lincoln 4-1 in the third period.

I thought the Stars played a little better than the final score indicates.  It certainly was an ugly loss, but it's not like the Lancers dominated play for the full 60 minutes.  However, this game was lost in the first twenty minutes when the Lancers ran out to the 3-0 lead and the Stars could not recover.

Stars outshot the Lancers 31-28 overall.  Lincoln went 0-for-2 on the powerplay, while the Lancers went 1-for-4 with the man advantage.  Stars goaltender Jackson Teichroeb stopped 7 of 10 shots before he was pulled after the third Omaha goal late in the first period.  Charles Williams, who came into the game in relief of Teichroeb, stopped 14 of 16 shots on net.

What's nice about having another game at the IceBox tonight is that the Stars will get a quick chance at redemption, and hopefully will bounce back in a big way against the Sioux City Musketeers, a team that Lincoln is 2-0 against so far this season.  It will be interesting to see how the Stars players react tonight against SC after the loss last night.  I expect them to come out in that first period and play very inspired hockey.  

Be safe driving to and from the IceBox tonight.  The snow is really coming down out there.  Give yourself plenty of time, and drive safe.

Go Stars.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

B³ Weekend Preview: Omaha and Sioux City


The IceBox in Lincoln, NE will be the place to be this weekend as the Lincoln Stars return home for two games against western conference divisional foes.  On Friday (12/2), the Stars will take on their rival to the north, the Omaha Lancers.  On Saturday (12/3), the Stars will battle the Sioux City Musketeers.  Faceoff for both games this weekend will be at 7:05pm CST.

If you are unable to attend any of the two weekend games this weekend, you can follow the boxscores online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on KLMS 1480 AM, or watch the game on FASTHockey for a fee.

Lincoln enters this weekend with a record of 12-5-1 (25 points), and are all alone in first place in the USHL Western Conference.  The Stars are on a two-game winning streak, and went 2-0-1 in three games last week.  In their last 10 games, the Stars have a record of 8-1-1.  Lincoln has outscored their opponents 37-23 in those ten games.  Click here to see the USHL standings.

First up for the Stars this weekend will be the Omaha Lancers, who have a record of 9-8-2 (20 points) and are in third place in the USHL Western Conference.  This will be the second time this season that the Stars and Lancers have faced one another.  Back on 11/12, the Stars beat the Lancers by a score of 2-1 at the IceBox in a tightly contested, playoff-like game.  The Lancers are on a bit of a slide as of late, having lost three in a row and four of their last five.

The big news out of Omaha this week was the firing of Lancers head coach Bliss Littler.  Click here to read more about that.  Basically, the president of the Lancers told Littler that he had no confidence in him anymore, and sent him packing.  The move surprised many USHL fans and pundits, although Littler's departure was considered a positive move in the right direction by many Omaha fans.  Littler's style of hockey (low scoring, non-aggressive, trap) wasn't received well by Lancer fans, and his teams generally were looked upon as underachieving.  A 5-9 postseason record didn't help either.  

Current Omaha assistant coach Mike Aikens will assume the interim head coaching position until the end of this season.  Assistant coach Michael Zucker will assume the "associate head coach" role.  Aikens' first task as assistant turned head coach?  Beat the Stars at the IceBox this Friday night. It should be interesting to see how the Omaha players respond to this drama-filled week.  Will they come out with their hair on fire and play hard to win a game for their assistant coaches?  Or will they be distracted and play with no inspiration?  We'll find out Friday night.

On Saturday night, the Stars will play host to the Sioux City Musketeers who currently have a record of 7-11-0 (14 points) and are in sixth place in the USHL Western Conference.  This will be the third time these two teams will face each other this season with the Stars going 2-0 in their two earlier head-to-head battles.  In both of those games, all in Sioux City, the Stars dominated play winning 4-1 on 10/15, and 6-2 on 11/8.  In those two games against the Muskies, Stars forward Kevin Roy has scored six points (5g, 1a) and scored the game-winning goal in both games.

The Stars have certainly had Sioux City's number this season, but they have yet to face the Muskies in Lincoln.  The Musketeers have been playing better on the road this season, but the Stars are 6-2-1 playing in front of the home fans at the IceBox.  After going a dismal 2-7-0 in the month of October, the Muskies have turned it around and are playing much better as of late, as their 5-4-0 record in November indicates.  The hot hand for the Muskies has been forward Brad Robbins, who is on an eight-game point scoring streak, and an four-game goal scoring streak.

As for the Stars, they will be coming home after playing 5 of their previous 6 games on the road.  Lincoln went 4-1-0 in those five road games.  After these two home games this weekend, the Stars go back on the road with 7 of their next 8 games away from the IceBox.  Every game is important, but the Stars really need to take care of business this weekend, take advantage of the home crowd, and earn four points before they have to spend the rest of December on the road.

Don't forget that the Friday evening Omaha Lancers game is "Teddy Bear Toss" night at the IceBox.  Bring your new stuff animal(s) to the game and throw then onto the ice after the Stars score the first goal of the game.  All of the stuffed animals collected by the Stars that night will be donated to the 104.1 FM The Blaze's Kampout for Kids campaign.  This event is always a favorite of the fans, and should make for some great photos.

Hope to see you all at the IceBox this weekend!

Go Stars.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bliss Littler Fired After Three Seasons at Omaha

Bliss Littler won't be behind the bench when the Omaha Lancers play the Lincoln Stars at the Ice Box Friday night.

That's because Littler was fired on Wednesday just a couple months into his fourth season in Omaha. The former Tri-City coach was 9-8-2 with the Lancers this season. Omaha is in third place in the Western Conference, just five points behind Lincoln.

Littler had a 117-60-22 record with Omaha, the best of any Western Conference team since he arrived. Owner and president Ben Robert basically told the Omaha World-Herald that he "lost confidence in Littler."

I wonder if this decision was more of a personal thing or something...call me shocked. It's rare enough to see USHL coaches lose their jobs in the middle of the year, but for a team that was just a few points out of the standings lead? Crazy. Omaha assistant Mike Aikens will fill in for the rest of the year as interim head coach.


Edit:  Click here to read an article about Littler's dismissal from the Omaha World Herald.  Interesting quote from Littler that BT mentioned above:  ""They just told me I was relieved of my duties," Littler said. "He (Robert) said 'I've lost confidence in you, you're relieved of your duties immediately.' It was short, sweet, he said what he had to say, got up and left."