Thursday, February 17, 2011

B³ Weekend Preview: Fargo and Omaha

The Lincoln Stars (20-16-4, 44 points, tied for fifth place in the USHL Western Conference) are back in action this weekend with two very important games against western conference divisional foes.  On Friday night at the IceBox, the Stars will host the Fargo Force.  On Saturday evening at the Civic Auditorium in Omaha, the Stars will do battle against the the Omaha Lancers.  Faceoff for both games will take place at 7:05pm.   Click here to listen to Mike Melbye call the games on AM 1480 KLMS.  If you have money to burn, you can also watch the games via B2 Network by clicking here.  If you want to follow the Pointstreak boxscore, click here.

The Stars will look to win their fourth straight home Friday night at the IceBox when they play host to the Fargo Force (24-25-4, 53 points, third place in the USHL Western Conference).  It will be the fifth time these two teams will have faced each other this season, with Fargo holding a 3-0-1 record in the previous four meetings.  The Force have outscored the Stars 14-7 in those four games.  Like the Green Bay Gamblers, the Force have two quality young goaltenders who share duties in net.  Ryan Massa (who is a UNO recruit) has a record of 13-4-3, a 2.10 goals against average, and a .912 save percentage.  Zane Gothberg sports a record of 11-6-0, a 2.18 goals against average, and a .909 save percentage.  Massa is 2-0 against the Stars this season, with an eye-popping 0.99 goals against average and an impressive .946 save percentage in those two games.  Don't be surprised if you see Massa starting Friday night, considering his impressive play against Lincoln this season.  The Force are riding a three-game winning streak, and have won four in a row on the road.

On Saturday night, the Stars will travel north to face their long-time rival, the Omaha Lancers (.  Tthe Lancers are also riding a three-game winning streak, and have won six in a row at home.  The Stars and Lancers have knocked heads a total of five times this season, with Lincoln holding 3-2-0 record in those five meetings.  The last time these two teams faced each other at the Civic Auditorium, the Stars won by a score of 4-3 in front of 7,764 fans on 1/8/11.  Less than a week after that game, the Stars beat the Lancers yet again, this time at the IceBox, by a score of 5-2.  After losing two straight to the Stars, the Lancers have been one of the hottest teams in the USHL.  Since losing to the Stars on 1/14/11, the Lancers are 9-1-1 and have rocketed up to the top of the standings in the western conference.  Lancers goaltender Todd Mathews will be out of the lineup this weekend due to a team violation, so John Keeney will likely start in net against the Stars on Saturday night.  Surprisingly, Keeney has never faced the Stars in 35 USHL games played the past two seasons.  Keeney is also the only player I'm aware of in the USHL who has his own website, which you can view here.  As hilarious as his website his, Keeney is putting up some good numbers this season for the Lancers.  Keeney is 14-4-2 with a 2.11 goals against average, and a .925 save percentage.

The Stars of course are coming off one of their best games of the season, a 4-3 thumping of the league-leading Green Bay Gamblers.  Considering how well Lincoln looked Wednesday night, there's no reason why the Stars can't come out this weekend and get four points against two teams ahead of them in the western conference standings.  The Stars are getting contributions from different players every game, which is encouraging to see.  They've shown that they can roll four lines and each line can hurt you.  They're playing as deep as they have all season.

Sorry for the abbreviated weekend preview article....just ran out of time tonight.  If you're at the IceBox on Friday night, make sure you stop by the north concourse area to bid on the autographed sports memorabilia up for auction which supports the LIHA.  Click here to read more about the LIHA auction.

Go Stars.


nutz4puckz said...

BIG BIG game tonight. Hope everyone is ready to be loud and get behind the guys tonight. Need two more points!!

lincolnstars said...

Anyone know what's up with Rasmus Juell? If he's hurt? When will he be back? Is Zach Frye going to suit up this weekend?

Yeti said...

Good questions, lincolnstars. I assume we'll see Frye tonight, but I'm not sure.

I've heard that Juell is injured, but I don't know what the injury is.