Thursday, March 10, 2011

B³ Weekend Preview: Fargo Force

The Lincoln Stars (24-19-5, 53 points, fifth place in the USHL Western Conference) will go on the road this weekend to play two games against the Fargo Force, the team directly ahead of the Stars in the standings.  Friday night's game at Scheels Arena in Fargo, ND will start at 7:35pm, while Saturday evening's game will start at 7:05pm. Click here to listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye call the game on AM 1480 KLMS.  You can also watch the game via B2 Network by clicking here. If you want to follow the Pointstreak boxscores, click here.  

The Fargo Force come into this weekend series against Lincoln with a record of 28-18-4 (60 points), and are in fourth place in the USHL Western Conference.  This will be the seventh and eighth times the Stars and Force play each other this season, with Lincoln sporting a 2-3-1 record in the six previous regular season games.  Lincoln is winless in two attempts against the Force in Fargo this season, and were out-scored 12-5 in those two losses.  Fargo is coming off a beatdown at home this past Wednesday at the hands of the Sioux Falls Stampede by a score of 7-2.  The Force out-shot the Stampede overall 33-25, but the Stampede scored three goals in both the first and third period to earn two points and leapfrog the Force in the standings.  

The Force are only seven points ahead of the Stars in the western conference, so the Stars can really make up some ground with two big wins this weekend.  Why is it so important the Stars finish the season in at least fourth place?  The top six teams in each conference make the playoffs.  The top two seeds in both conferences get a first round bye.  The remaining teams are scheduled as such:  #3 seed vs. #6 seed, #4 seed vs. #5 seed.  The first round of playoff games are best of three, and the #3 and #4 seeds in both conferences will host every one of those three games.  The #5 and #6 seeded teams will go on the road and play at least three games all on the road.  Now, let's not get too ahead of ourselves.  The Stars still have 12 games to play, and a lot can happen between now and the end of the regular season.  There are three teams behind the Stars in the standings who could go on a tear and start putting wins together, so a playoff appearance for the Stars this season is not guaranteed.  There is still a lot of work yet to be done to play post-season hockey. 

Lincoln is coming off a very dramatic 4-3 win over the Omaha Lancers this past Tuesday night at the IceBox. The Stars stumbled a bit in the third period of that game, but they never gave up and earned two big points against a very good Omaha squad.  Lincoln hasn't played as well this season against Fargo than some of the other teams ahead of them in the standings like Sioux Falls and Omaha, but I don't think the Force have seen the best of the Stars this season, especially at Scheels Arena in Fargo.  If the Stars show up and play their best game for 60 minutes, I'm confident they can come back to Lincoln this weekend with two big wins.

We will be doing our live in-game chats for both games this weekend, so make sure you check back here both nights to join in on the fun.  Friday night's chat will start up around 7:15pm, and Saturday's chat will begin around 6:45pm.  Hope to see you all there.  Let's get four points this weekend!

Go Stars.

1 comment:

Davvolun said...

Just wanted to highlight that Fargo's record against us is 4-1-1, so if we can win these next two against them without going to OT, we'll completely tie up the season series. It would be nice to beat the team right ahead of us in the standings to tie the series and get a little revenge for how badly we've been beat in Fargo this season.