Thursday, October 13, 2011

B³ Weekend Preview: Chicago and Sioux City

After two straight weekends with only one game scheduled, the Lincoln Stars will play finally play back-to-back games this Friday and Saturday evening against the Chicago Steel, and the Sioux City Musketeers.  On Friday night at the IceBox in Lincoln, the Stars will look to temper the Chicago Steel.  On Saturday, the Stars will travel north to Sioux City, IA to take on the Musketeers at the Tyson Events Center.  The game against the Muskies on Saturday night will be Lincoln's first road game of the season after three straight home games.  Faceoff for the game Friday night will be at 7:05pm CST.  On Saturday night in Sioux City, the puck will drop at 7:00pm CST.  If you are unable to make it to any of the games this weekend, you can follow the boxscore online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on KLMS 1480 AM, or watch the game live on FASTHockey for a fee.  

On Friday night, the Stars will play host to the visiting Chicago Steel (2-1-0, 4 points, third place in the USHL Eastern Conference).  This will be the only time these two teams will face each other in 2011-12 USHL regular season schedule.  In years past, the Stars would normally face each of the eastern conference teams twice in a season, but not this year.  The Stars did face the Steel this preseason at the Fall Classic in Sioux City on 9/21/11.  Lincoln won that game by a score of 3-1.  If you are interested in watching that preseason tilt between the Stars and Steel, I found the entire game on YouTube.com.  Click here to view the video.

The 2011-12 Chicago Steel squad is looking to rebound from an utterly nightmarish 2010-11 season.  What could go wrong last year inevitably went wrong for the Steel.  After the 60 game season was over, Chicago had a league-worst record of 9-43-8.  Yup, you read that correct.  Only 9 wins in a 60 game season.  Just three games into this new season, the Steel already have two wins.  One of the big reasons why the Steel are out to a good start, and I emphasize "big," is the play of forward Zach Saar.  The 6'5", 200 pound '93 forward already has four goals in three games played.  Last year for the Steel, Saar only scored a total of four goals in 32 games played, so the youngster is out to a very quick start.  Each of Saar's four goals have come on the powerplay.

The Stars will play their first road game of the season this Saturday night when they face off against the Sioux City Musketeers (1-2-0, 2 points, seventh place in the USHL Western Conference).  The Muskies are 1-0 at home so far this season, after an impressive 5-2 victory on 10/8/11 against the Fargo Force.  On the road, however, the Muskies are 0-2 and have only scored a total of one goal in those two games.  Sioux City will be playing a road game Friday night in Cedar Rapids against the Roughriders, so let's hope the C.R. Olympic Diving Team tires the Muskies out for the game against the Stars the next night.

Lincoln is coming off a home loss to the Waterloo Blackhawks last Friday night by a score of 4-3.  The Stars played very well at times in that game, and not so great at other times.  Against what could turn out to be one of the better teams in the USHL, the Stars outplayed the Blackhawks for most of the game, but Waterloo took advantage of the early opportunities given up by Lincoln.  Both games this weekend should be a good test for the Stars.  Chicago is a team that Lincoln cannot afford to overlook.  Last year, most USHL teams would see the Steel coming up on their schedule and automatically pencil in the win.  Not this year.  With respect to the Muskies, they always seem to play Lincoln hard in their home rink, so that will be no picnic either.


I heard through the grapevine this week that the Stars have a new player in town, and that player is forward Markus McCrea ('92).  The 6'2", 195 pound native of Canyon Lake, CA spent the last three seasons in the WHL playing for the Everett Silvertips.  In 64 games last season with the 'Tips, McCrea scored 6 points (2g, 4a) and accumulated 56 penalty minutes.  Judging by the amount of fight videos on YouTube of McCrea, he seems to have no problems dropping the mitts.  In fact, last season McCrea had more fights (8) than points (6).  Stars trainer Corey Courtney mentioned McCrea on the radio last weekend as a player the team had in town for an informal tryout.   

Hoping for a good turnout Friday night at the IceBox, and a quality effort on the ice by the Stars.  I'm not 100% certain, but I believe we'll have our first in-game chat for the Sioux City game on Saturday night.  Stay tuned for that.  Also, if you are planning on attending the game Saturday night in Sioux City, and you intend on taking some photos, please let me know.  My usual list of photog friends will not be attending the game, so I'd like to find someone who would be willing to share some of their photos.  Send me an email at lincolnstarshockey@gmail.com if you wouldn't mind sharing.

Go Stars.

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