Sunday, January 30, 2011

Snapshots of the Game: Fargo vs. Lincoln 1/29

Once again, thanks to Brandon Anderson and Jeff White for being kind enough to allow me to share some of their photos from last night with all of you.  If you would like to contact Brandon to purchase any of his photos, you can email him at bapics@live.com.

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

Dominik Shine celebrates his first period goal

B³ Postgame Recap 1/29: Fargo 3, Lincoln 2 OT

Courtesy of Jeff White
It was another heartbreaker for the home fans last night at the IceBox, as the visiting Fargo Force came back from a one-goal deficit in the third period to force overtime, and then won the game in the extra period to defeat the Lincoln Stars, 3-2. Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.  With the loss, the Stars dropped to 16-15-3 (35 points), and are still all alone in eighth place in the USHL Western Conference.  However, the Stars are only two points out of sixth place (last playoff spot), and seven points out of fourth place in the cutthroat western conference.  Every point is important at this point in the season.

The Stars came out very strong in the first period Saturday night and took it right to the Force.  Much like the second period Friday night against the Indiana Ice, the Stars controlled the play in the first twenty minutes against Fargo, but could only get one goal past the opposing goaltender.  While on the powerplay, Stars forward Dominik Shine received a pretty pass from forward Andrew Schmit in the offensive zone, and buried the puck glove-high past Fargo goaltender Ryan Massa.  Shine's PP tally at the 14:26 mark of the first period gave the Stars the early 1-0 lead.  Schmit and defenseman Cole Martin collected the assists on Shine's seventh goal of the season.  The Stars put a lot of pressure on Massa in the first period, but Shine's tally was the only goal of the period.  At the first intermission, the Stars led 1-0, and had out-shot the Force 11-6 in the period.

In the second period, it was all Fargo, as the Force came out of the locker room looking like a different team, and dominated play.  The Force out-shot the Stars 12-3 in the second, but like the Stars in the first period, Fargo was only able to score one goal.  Force forward Nick Oliver scored at the 15:34 mark of the second period to even the game at 1-1.  Lincoln goaltender Kevin Murdock did a great job keeping his team in the game with timely saves while the Stars offense really struggled to get into any kind of rhythm.  At the end of two periods, the score was knotted up at 1-1.

The Stars powerplay unit clicked again early in the third period when defenseman Matt Prapavessis ripped a shot from near the blueline past Massa to give Lincoln a 2-1 lead.  Prapavessis' goal at the 5:22 mark of the third period was assisted by forward Garrett Peterson.  The one goal lead for the Stars would not last long, as Force defenseman Garrett Haar scored on the powerplay less than five minutes after Prapavessis' goal to even the score at 2-2.  Each team would have their share of scoring chances in the final ten minutes of the third period, but neither squad would capitalize.  We would see overtime.  At the end of regulation, the score was tied up at 2-2, and the Force had out-shot the Stars 10-6 in the third period, and 28-21 thru the first sixty minutes.

In overtime, the Force did a great job with puck posession, as the Stars were never able to get a shot on goal.  Fargo was rewarded early in the five-minute overtime period when defenseman Brandon Carlson slapped the puck from the blueline passed a screened Kevin Murdock to give the Force the comeback 3-2 overtime victory.  Carlson's overtime-winner was his first goal of the season.  From my seat, it looked like Murdock never saw the puck.  Doc stopped 27 of 30 shots in the loss, while Ryan Massa wasn't as busy as he stopped 19 of 21 shots to earn the win.  The Stars powerplay unit went 2-for-5, while Fargo's PP unit went 1-for-5.

This was a game I really thought the Stars could get two points out of and salvage the home weekend, but it just didn't happen.  I thought the Force played well enough in the second, third, and overtime periods to earn the victory.  Lincoln came out with their hair on fire in the first period, but I didn't see that sense of urgency in the final two periods, or in overtime.  The competition this weekend was tough, but at times, the Stars dominated both teams.  However, the consistency of play just wasn't there for a full 60 minutes against either team.  The Stars would look like world beaters for one period, and then would disappear into a shell the next period.  That lack of a killer instinct will have to change if they expect to put some wins together, and dig themselves out of the western conference "cellar."  As competitive as the western conference is this season, there will most likely be two pretty good teams on the outside looking in when it comes to playing post-season hockey.

The Stars will return to play next weekend with another two games at the IceBox, this time against the same foe, the Sioux Falls Stampede.  It will be a huge weekend against a team ahead of the Stars in the western conference.  We'll highlight that matchup later in the week.

Go Stars.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Snapshots of the Game: Lincoln vs. Indiana 1/28

Thanks to Brandon Anderson and Jeff White for allowing me to share some of their photos from the game last night.  It is always appreciated!  If you'd like to contact Brandon to purchase any of his photos, you can contact him at bapics@live.com.  

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



Friday, January 28, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 1/28: Indiana 3, Lincoln 1

The Lincoln Stars fell behind early Friday night and could not recover, as the Indiana Ice skated to a 3-1 victory in front of 3,752 dejected fans at the IceBox.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore. With the loss, the Stars dropped to 16-15-2 (34 points), and are all alone now in eighth place in the USHL Western Conference.  With the road win, the red-out Ice are now 18-2 in the their last 20 games.  Indiana also increased its road-winning streak to 9 straight games.


The Ice came out very strong to start the game, and took the play right to the sluggish Stars.  Ice forward Brian Ferlin scored at the 7:45 mark of the first period, on the powerplay, to give Indiana the early 1-0 lead.  With just about one minute remaining in the first period, Ice forward David Johnstone scored to give his team a commanding 2-0 lead going into the first intermission.  Although the shots on goal were close, 10-9 in favor of Indiana, I thought the Ice clearly outplayed the Stars in the first twenty minutes.

In the second period, the Stars came out with both guns blazing.  They out-played, out-hit, and out-skated the Ice for the entire second stanza.  The Stars out-shot the Ice 17-6 in the second, but were only able to score one goal when at the 13:41 mark, Lincoln forward Teemu Tiitinen deflected a shot from the point past Ice goaltender Jon Gillies to pull the Stars within one goal.  Dominik Shine and Frank Misuraca assisted on Teemu's third goal of the season.  You have to give a lot of credit to Ice goaltender Jon Gillies in the second period, and in the game, for keeping his team from giving up the game in that second period.  At the second intermission, the Stars trailed 2-1.

In the third, the Ice scored the final goal of the game when Austrian-born forward Peter Schneider buried a rebound shot at the 7:45 mark to give Indiana a bit more breathing room at 3-1.  Try as they might, the Stars could not solve Indiana goaltender Jon Gillies in the final twenty minutes of the game.  In my opinion, the Stars did not play as consistent Friday night as the Ice did, and that's why Indiana got the two points.  The Stars played fantastic in the second period, but were a bit flat in both the first and third period.  

Tough loss Friday night, because at times I thought the Stars completely dominated the Ice, especially in the second period.  Give credit to Indiana for coming back in the third period and getting that insurance goal to give the Ice some breathing room...and then shutting the door on Lincoln.  Ice "backup" goaltender Jon Gillies stopped 33 of 34 shots to record his sixth straight win.  Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock stopped 20 of 23 shots in the loss.

Indiana is a very good hockey team, and although they were out-shot tonight by the Stars 34-23, I thought Indiana did enough to earn the win.  No sense in hanging your head after that loss, although I would liked to have seen the Stars come out in the third period with a bit more "jam."  

Stars will return to the IceBox on Saturday night to face the Fargo Force.  Fargo shutout the Des Moines Bucs in Des Moines on Friday night by a score of 2-0.  In that game, the Force out-shot the Bucs 41-19.  Ouch.  The Stars will have their hands full yet again Saturday night.

Go Stars.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Josh Berge out for remainder of season

Courtesy USHL Images
This is definitely not the kind of news I wanted to report, but the Lincoln Stars website made it official tonight.  Here's the quote from the Stars website:
The 2010-11 season for Stars' forward Josh Berge appears to be over after continued complications from a concussion suffered in early December.  The Oklahoma City native had experienced 3-4 previous concussions during his midget and junior career, and battled other injuries since coming to Lincoln in a trade with Tri City last season.  Known for his vision and play-making ability, Berge was selected as captain by his teammates at the start of the 2010-11 season. 
The decision not to return this season was made after consulting with team physicians, Stars' trainer Corey Courtney, and Josh's family.  Josh will remain in Lincoln while continuing his rehabilitation.  A future return to hockey has not been ruled out, but it's unlikely that it would occur this season.

"We'll miss Josh a great deal as a hockey player, but know this is the best decision for him in the long term," said Stars Head Coach Chad Johnson.  "It's obvious what he means to our team, but his health is the most important consideration right now.  We're thankful that he's planning on staying in Lincoln during his rehab, because we know how important he is to this team, even if he's not on the ice.
As a result, the team has selected Brent Tate and Garrett Peterson to wear the "C"s, with John McCarron and Ryan Dzingel selected as alternate captains.

You have to really feel for a kid like Berge.  After battling back from a knee injury late last season, Josh appeared to be ready to finish his last year of junior hockey with the Stars on a high note.  I remember watching him at the tryouts in Omaha back in June of last year, and he was by far the best player on the ice.  I don't believe he was that far removed from knee rehab, yet he was out there busting his ass at tryouts, and setting a good example for the young guys on the team.  He was never the biggest guy on the ice, but he had a huge heart, and he was a warrior.  He will definitely be missed.  This is a big loss for the Stars.

Here at the B³, we wish him all the best with his recovery, and with his future endeavors.  

B³ Weekend Preview: Indiana and Fargo


The Lincoln Stars (16-14-2, 34 points, tied for seventh place in the USHL Western Conference) will start another four-game home-stand this weekend with games against the Indiana Ice on Friday night, and the Fargo Force on Saturday night.  The puck will drop at 7:05pm at the IceBox for both games.   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.

First up for the Stars this weekend will be the Indiana Ice (21-11-2, 44 points, third place in the USHL Eastern Conference), who are one of the hottest teams in the USHL.  This team is so hot right now you'd expect them to rename the team to the "Indiana Fire" (lame joke).  After starting the regular season very slowly, the Ice are 17-2 in the last 19 games, and have rocketed up the standings.  What has driven the Ice up the standings has mainly been their very potent offense.  Through 34 games played, the Ice have scored 130 goals (most in the USHL), which averages out to 3.8 goals scored per game (also tops in the USHL).  They have four players on their roster with at least 30 points scored (the Stars have one - Ryan Dzingel), and the Ice have 3 players in the Top 10 in overall scoring in the USHL.  They aren't the 1983 Edmonton Oilers, but this team can plain put the puck in the net.

The Ice have found a lot of success away from home, which their 10-5-1 road record indicates.  They have also won their last 8 straight road games.  Indiana is led on offense by forward Blake Coleman, whose 54 points (16g, 38a) leads the USHL in scoring.  Right behind Coleman on the Ice roster is the Russian sniper, Daniil Tarasov.  The '91 native of Moscow is second in the USHL in goals scored, with 20 scored through 31 games.  I watched Tarasov at the USHL Fall Classic back in September, and at the time, I said he was the best offensive player I had seen on any team in the entire tournament.  To say that the Ice will be a huge test for the Stars is an understatement.  Having said that, we've seen some very good teams come into the IceBox for the first time and lay some big eggs.  The players on the Ice roster put their skates on just the same as the Stars, so anything is possible.  Lincoln must play aggressive on the forecheck and take the play to the Ice instead of playing back and waiting for Indiana to make a move first.  This will be the first time this season these two teams have faced each other.

Saturday night at the IceBox, the Stars their divisional foe to the north, the Fargo Force (19-14-4, 42 points, second place in the USHL Western Conference).  Like the Ice, the Force are a team that are playing much better right now than earlier in the season.  Going into their matchup against the Omaha Lancers on the road this past Wednesday night (which they lost 5-2), the Force had won 5 straight road games, and were 9-3-0 in their last twelve games.  Also like the Ice, the Force are more than comfortable on the road, as Fargo sports an impressive 11-7-1 away record.  These two teams have faced each other three times this season, with Fargo winning two of the three games.  The last time they knocked heads, it was 12/10/10 in Fargo, and the Force shut out the Stars by a score of 3-0.

Like I mentioned above, the Force are coming off a Wednesday night game in Omaha in which they lost 5-2.  The Force will play Friday night in Des Moines, before traveling back to Nebraska on Saturday to face the Stars.  One can hope that by Saturday night the Force will be worn out emotionally and physically after a long week on the road.  I don't expect that, and the Stars shouldn't either.  This is a very good all-around team.  They have a ton of young, fast forwards, and two of the better goaltenders in the USHL.  The Force always seem to play the Stars tough at home, regardless of records.

The Lincoln Stars are also a team on the rise as of late, having won 5 of their last 7 games.  In the two games they lost (one in overtime), the Stars had the lead going into the third period against two very good teams (Cedar Rapids and Dubuque).  One concerning aspect of how the Stars have played in the past 10 games or so has been their team defense, specifically the amount of shots allowed on net.  In the each of the last six games played, Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock has made at least 36 saves.  Now, just because a team puts a ton of shots on goal doesn't mean they deserve to win, or have outplayed their opponent.  Quality over quantity wins every time.  Having said that, against teams like Indiana and Fargo, the Stars will be facing some top-notch offensive talent.  They cannot afford to give up 40+ shots per game and expect to pull four points out of the weekend.

On the injury front, Stars forward Josh Berge and defenseman Kyle Quick are still out of the lineup due to concussions.  There have been some rumors floating around that Berge will not be back this season, but until I hear it directly from the Stars, I wouldn't put much faith in that kind of talk.  The symptoms related to concussions can sometimes linger for a long time, so unlike other injuries, it's impossible to really anticipate when a player could be healthy enough to return.  It's a waiting game for sure.  The important thing right now is that both players take the time needed to get healthy.  When it comes to concussions, hockey is an afterthought.  

Be aware that there is a UNL womens basketball game Saturday night at the Devaney Center, so leave a little early that night than you normally would.  I really hope to see another full IceBox this weekend.  The talent the Stars will be facing this weekend will be very good, so the black and blue will need all of our support.  Be loud!

Go Stars.

Note:  Stars forward Ryan Dzingel was recently featured on the "This Week in the USHL Radio Show."  Click play below to listen to the interview.  Great job by Ryan who represents the Lincoln Stars very well.



Monday, January 24, 2011

B³ USHL Power Rankings: January 24

It's been a while since I've done this, but I thought I'd give it a shot again. Since I don't have a whole lot of time to devote to the power rankings (and since I know Yeti is swamped with many things, and he knows as well as I do how long these can take), what I want to do is a last 10 games type of thing. So the next time I plan to update these is when teams have played 10 more games (give or take a couple depending on how hectic life is). It's been too long since the last rankings, so no previous rankings are included. Consider this a fresh start for the second half of the season.

Yeti always says he doesn't want to include Team USA in these rankings, and I don't either anymore. It's too tough to judge a team that is split into two teams. So I'll just put a blurb about them at the end.


1. Green Bay Gamblers (25-8-2, 52 pts, 1st East, Last 10: 7-3-0, 14 pts)
The Gamblers are four points up on Cedar Rapids in the race for the Clark Cup and continue to set the pace. They are 13-0-1 at home, and that one loss was their home opener. If you are playing at Green Bay any time soon, don't expect to come away with a win.

2. Indiana Ice (20-11-2, 42 pts, 3rd East, Last 10: 9-1-0, 18 pts)
This team hovered near the bottom of the East early in the season in a very underachieving fashion. But now they can do no wrong, having won 16 of their last 18 games. The top three in the East (Green Bay, Cedar Rapids, Indiana) have clearly separated themselves from the rest of the East once again. It's still early, but if it holds, those three would be the top three in the USHL East for the third straight year.

3. Cedar Rapids Rough Riders (22-6-4, 48 pts, 2nd East, 6-2-2, 14 pts)
The Forest Rang...err Rough Riders have slipped a bit off the torrid pace they started the season at, but still remain just four points out of the lead for the Anderson Cup with three games in hand on Green Bay.


4. Fargo Force (19-13-4, 42 pts, 2nd West, Last 10: 7-3-0, 14 pts)
The Force just continue to win and climb the standings. Now just three points behind Dubuque for first in the West, this is a team that will be very dangerous in the playoffs. Ryan Massa has the second-best GAA in the league (1.95). They've played 36 games right now, though, which is far more than everyone else in the West, so their point total is a bit skewed.

5. Des Moines Buccaneers (18-10-2, 38 pts, 4th West, Last 10: 8-2-0, 16 pts)
Des Moines played Dubuque five times in the last 11 games in a very uncommon USHL scheduling quirk........anyway, in those five games, Des Moines went 3-2. The Bucs are a solid team and with only 30 games played, they could very easily be in second place in the West right now with just a couple more games played. Their schedule helps them a lot though. For example, besides the three wins against Dubuque and one over Tri-City, the other wins in their last 10 games came over Waterloo (twice), Muskegon and Youngstown.

6. Sioux Falls Stampede (18-11-4, 40 pts, 3rd West, 7-2-1, 15 pts)
The Stampede had won seven in a row before Saturday's loss at Team USA U-17s. They've climbed all the way up to third in the West.

7. Dubuque Fighting Saints (20-8-5, 45 pts, 1st West, 3-4-3, 9 pts)
The "Saints" have slipped recently. They lost four in a row and three in a row in their last 10 games. In those seven losses, Dubuque has scored two or fewer goals. If this keeps up, look for the other West contenders to pass them soon. Dubuque has held the top spot for the majority of the season.

8. Omaha Lancers (17-10-4, 38 pts, 5th West, Last 10: 5-4-1, 11 pts)
The Lancers have given up a league-low 75 goals this year, but are only in fifth place in the West...their 91 goals scored isn't a great total, but it's not awful. So that means they must lose a lot of close games. Eight of their 14 losses are by one goal.

9. Lincoln Stars (16-14-2, 34 pts, 7th West, 5-4-1, 11 pts)
The Stars got five out of six points last week against Western competition. Although in seventh, they are just a three or four game winning streak out of potentially being in the top four. Eight points separate last from second in the West right now. That's incredible.

10. Muskegon Lumberjacks (14-14-6, 34 pts, 4th East, Last 10: 4-5-1, 9 pts)
The Lumberjacks are hanging on to fourth in the East. They saw Indiana pass them up, and now Team USA is threatening to do the same. Muskegon is always kind of just hovering around .500, which is exactly what they are right now. They've allowed 137 goals (4.0 per game) and somehow are still in fourth place. That's just strange. Their offense is very good...if they'd ever just learn to play some defense, they could be a real threat in the playoffs.

11. Tri-City Storm (14-12-6, 34 pts, 8th West, Last 10: 3-5-2, 8 pts)
The Storm are at the bottom of the West right now, but by the time I do the next rankings, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them in fourth or something like that. That's just the way the West is this year. Tri-City does need to score more goals though. They only have 76 on the year, 15 fewer than the next lowest Western teams.

12. Sioux City Musketeers (16-15-3, 35 pts, 6th West, Last 10: 3-6-1, 7 pts)
The Muskies have struggled to get wins of late. They are in sixth with 35 points, but have played two more games than Lincoln and Tri-City below them.

13. Youngstown Phantoms (13-18-3, 29 pts, 6th East, Last 10: 4-4-2, 10 pts)
The Phantoms split overtime games this past weekend, but still give up way too many goals and don't score nearly enough to be a consistent threat.

14. Waterloo Blackhawks (11-16-5, 27 pts, 7th East, Last 10: 2-6-2, 6 pts)
Waterloo started the season 6-2-1, but since then is 5-14-4. They had 13 points in their first nine games and have 14 points in their last 23 games. Ouch. Mike Montagna, who didn't make the Stars, has 7 goals and 12 assists. I wonder what he could've done for Lincoln this year.

15. Chicago Steel (7-22-5, 19 pts, 8th East, Last 10: 0-9-1, 1 pt)
17 losses in a row. Do I need to say any more? Remember how far back Thanksgiving was? Chicago's last win came the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Yikes.


NR. Team USA (14-16-3, 31 pts, 4th East, Last 10: 6-3-1, 10 pts)
Their 18s are very good. Their 17s are OK. Team USA would muddy up the playoff picture pretty good. It could be interesting.

Congrats to Ryan Dzingel and Matt Prapavessis!

Trophy time!  Congratulations to Lincoln Stars forward Ryan Dzingel, who was named USHL Offensive Player of the Week (17th week), and defenseman Matt Prapavessis, who was named USHL Defensive Player of the Week (17th week).  Click here to read the news release from the USHL.  Here's an excerpt from the article: 

Dzingel scored seven points (4g, 3a) and posted a plus-six rating as the Stars captured five of a possible six points in the standings during the week.  The 18-year-old tallied three points (1g, 2a), including an assist on the overtime winner, in Wednesday's 4-3 win over Sioux City.  Dzingel then notched his first USHL career hat trick and dished out an assist for a four-point game in Friday's 8-4 victory against Sioux City.  The big night extended his point streak to six games (6g, 6a).  He also posted a plus-five rating in the contest which equaled a League season high.  The native of Wheaton, Illinois is playing in his second USHL season and is currently 11th overall in League scoring with 34 points (15g, 19a) through 26 games played.


Prapavessis tallied six points (2g, 4a) and a plus-two rating in three contests for the Stars.  He had a hand in all four goals (2g, 2a), including the overtime winner, in Wednesday's 4-3 win against Sioux City.  The 19-year-old defenseman then dished out two assists in Friday's victory.  Prapavessis is a native of Oakville, Ontario and competing in his first USHL season.  He is 10th among USHL defensemen in scoring with 16 points (5g, 11a) despite being limited to just 20 of his team's 32 games this season.  He has posted an even-or-better plus/minus in each of his last seven games.




Congrats to both players!  Nice to see the Stars get some good publicity from the USHL.  Dzingel and Prapavessis are certainly deserving!

UPDATED: Cedar Rapids Roughriders guilty of logo theft?

Courtesy of puckdrawn.com

I know a number of blog readers are closely following this story, so I thought I'd give it a quick update.

The CEO of the Cedar Rapids Roughriders was contacted today by Ryan Clark, who runs the "Slightly Chilled" blog, which is devoted to the Fargo Force.  Clark reached out to CEO Jeff Jauch after reading the article on Puck Drawn yesterday.  Here's the synopsis from the Puck Drawn blog admin:

UPDATED: Ryan S. Clark, of the blog Slightly Chilled, reached out to the president and CEO of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, Jeff Jauch, who had this to say about the logo infraction: “We actually purchased the logo from a source that had no idea the same logo existed,” Jauch said by phone. “So the real dispute is between the source that we purchased it from and Chad Stilson.”
You can read Ryan's blog post on the matter here.
As I mentioned in my original post, teams often times don't know that they are purchasing a logo from a less-than-honest designer. So, based on what Jeff Jauch has said, the team is looking to gets a pass. The full brunt of our frustration should now be directed at the thieving designer...Whoever THAT is.
Of course, the designer who created the RoughRiders' third jersey logo is absolutely lying when they say they had no idea the same logo existed. There is absolutely ZERO chance that the similarities between the two logos are coincidental. Zero, as in NONE.
I have an email out to Chad Stilson to see if he has any updates on his end.

*************************************************************************************************************

I was tooling around on the internet yesterday, looking at photos on Facebook of some of the other hockey teams in the USHL, specifically the Cedar Rapids Roughriders.  I came across some pictures of a new third jersey the Roughriders have worn a number of times this season, and thought the logo on the jersey looked VERY familiar to a concept created by graphics artist Chad Stilson, which was first posted on the Puck Drawn blog last year.  I emailed the administrator of the Puck Drawn blog, and presented the evidence I found.

Click here to read what the folks at Puck Drawn say about this.  The author of the original concept has said he was never contacted by anyone representing the Cedar Rapids Roughriders about his design.  Very interesting read if you have time.

As the author of the Puck Drawn blog stated in the article I linked above, the Cedar Rapids organization may be unaware of the logo theft.  The artist they hired certainly did, however.

What say you?  Looking at the two logos, is it a blatant rip-off?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 1/22: Lincoln 3, Dubuque 4 OT SO

The Lincoln Stars let a three goal lead disappear in the third period tonight in Dubuque, Iowa, as the hometown Fighting Saints came from behind to beat the Stars 4-3 in the overtime shootout.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.  With the overtime loss, the Stars earned one point, and have a record of 16-14-2 (34 points).  The Stars are now tied for seventh place in the USHL Western Conference with the Tri-City Storm.  With 34 points, the Stars are only four points out of fourth place, and six points out of third place in the western conference.  The Stars earned five points out of a possible six this week with two wins over Sioux City, and the overtime loss to the Dubuque Fighting Saints.

Lincoln got off to a very quick start in this game when forward Garrett Peterson scored his 12th goal of the season at the 1:42 mark of the first period to give the Stars the early 1-0 lead.  Forward Rasmus Juell earned the lone assist on Petey's goal.  The Stars increased their lead to 2-0 at the 11:45 mark when forward Sam Alfieri scored, with assists going to defenseman Chris Casto and forward Dominik Shine.  At the first intermission, the Stars had an impressive 2-0 road lead against a quality Dubuque club.  Stars outshot the Saints 8-7 in the first period.


In the second period, Stars forward Eric Scheid scored at the 10:22 mark to give Lincoln a commanding 3-0 lead.  Forward Jared Hanson and defenseman Nick Cecere collected the assists on Scheid's ninth goal of the season.  Despite being outshot 12-9 in the second stanza, Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock saved every shot he saw through the first forty minutes.  Lincoln held a 3-0 lead going into the second intermission.

In the third period, it was all Dubuque as the Saints scored three unanswered goals to send it into overtime.  Luke Curadi, Vinny Saponari, and Joakim Ryan all scored for Dubuque in the third period to pull the Saints right back into the game.  Ryan's game-tying goal came on the powerplay with only 2:23 remaining in the third period.  The Saints totally outshot the Stars by an incredible margin of 18-3 in the third period.  At the end of regulation, the score was tied up at 3-3, and Dubuque held a 37-20 lead in shots on goal.

After a scoreless 5 minute overtime period in which the Stars were outshot 5-4, the game went to a shootout. The first four shooters for Lincoln all were unable to score for the Stars, while the first two shooters for Dubuque scored to give the Saints the come from behind 4-3 victory.  Lincoln went 0-for-3 on the powerplay, while Dubuque went 2-for-5 with the man advantage.  Kevin Murdock stopped 39 of 42 shots in the loss.

Well, it would have been nice for the Stars to hold onto that three goal lead in the third period, but it just didn't happen.  It sounded like the Stars went into a prevent defense late in the game, which just allowed the Saints to get that many more shots on goal.  You can't expect Kevin Murdock to stand on his head every game.  Doc is doing a great job as of late keeping his team in games in which they are getting outplayed, and outshot.  Despite winning five out of their last seven games, a disturbing trend seems to be that the Stars are giving up a lot of shots on goal.  Lincoln has surrendered 40+ shots on goal per game in their last four straight games.  

The Stars will begin another four-game homestand at the IceBox next weekend when the black and blue host the Indiana Ice on Friday night, and the Fargo Force on Saturday night.  This will be a very good test for the Stars as both Indiana and Fargo are two of the better teams in the USHL.  More on those games later in the week.

Go Stars.

B³ Live Chat: Lincoln Stars vs. Dubuque Fighting Saints 1/22

I'm a little late getting this article up today, so I apologize for that.  The puck will drop at 7:00pm CST this evening, but we'll be chatting live around 6:45pm. For those who are new to our live game chats, you do not have to register to talk with other Stars fans during the game. Just type in a user name, and chat away. This is a great way to interact with other Lincoln fans during road games. Hope to see you all there!

Click here to listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye call the game on AM 1480 KLMS (online feed).  Click here to listen to the B2 audio feed.


Snapshots of the Game: Sioux City vs. Lincoln 1/21

Thanks to Brandon Anderson and Jeff White for the photos once again.  Great work as always, gentlemen.  If you would like to contact Brandon to purchase any of his photos, you can reach him at bapics@live.com.

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

Ben Oskroba celebrates his second period goal

Friday, January 21, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 1/21: Sioux City 4, Lincoln 8

Courtesy of Brandon Anderson
My arm is tired from high-fiving so much tonight!!



The Lincoln Stars scored a whopping six goals in the third period tonight at the IceBox to beat the Sioux City Musketeers, 8-4.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.  Stars forward Ryan Dzingel continued his hot streak as he scored three goals (hat trick!) and one assist to lead the Stars on offense.  Zinger was also +5 on the night.  Dzingel has scored seven points (4g, 3a) in the last two games against the Muskies.  Brent Tate got the "Gordie Howe hat trick" tonight with one goal, three assists, and one fight.  John McCarron added one goal and three assists also.  The Tate-Dzingel-McCarron line accounted up 5 goals, 7 assists, and were a combined +11 tonight against Sioux City.  Wow, wow, wow.

I'm going to update this blog article Saturday morning with a full recap, so check back here tomorrow for that.  I'll post pictures from the game tomorrow morning also.

The Stars will go on the road tomorrow night to face the Dubuque Fighting Saints.  I believe we'll be chatting live here on the B³ for that game, but I'm not 100% sure.

Enjoy the win tonight!  Keep that train rollin'!  

Go Stars!

Please leave a comment and tell me what you thought of the game tonight!

B³ Weekend Preview: Sioux City and Dubuque

The Lincoln Stars (15-14-1, 31 points, eighth place in the USHL Western Conference) will play one game at home, and one on the road this weekend when the black and blue face off against the Sioux City Musketeers at the IceBox on Friday, and then against the Dubuque Fighting Saints in Dubuque, Iowa on Saturday.  Faceoff for the game Friday night at the IceBox will be at 7:05pm CST.  Faceoff for the game Saturday night in Dubuque will be at 7:00pm CST.  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 Pointstreak boxscore, click here.

The Sioux City Musketeers (16-13-3, 35 points, sixth place in the USHL Western Conference) will return to the IceBox tonight just two days after getting beat in overtime on the same sheet of ice by the Stars on Wednesday night.  In that game, the Muskies dominated play for the first 40-50 minutes, but it was the Stars who eventually prevailed in OT thanks to some late game heroics by Ryan Dzingel, Matt Prapavessis, Kevin Murdock, and company.  The Muskies are only four points ahead of Lincoln in the standings, although the Stars have two games in hand compared to Sioux City.  The Muskies have played 32 games, while the Stars have played 30 games.  You have to figure that the Wednesday night game left the Muskies a little sour, and upset, so I expect them to come out strong once again Friday night.  The game Friday night at the IceBox will be the last game of a four-game home-stand for the Stars in which they are 2-1-0 so far.

The Stars will go on the road Saturday night to face the Dubuque Fighting Saints (18-8-5, 41 points, first place in the USHL Western Conference) for the last time in the regular season.  In their lone previous matchup on 12/11/10 at the IceBox, the Saints squeaked by the Stars by a score of 2-1.  The Saints have been in first place in the western conference for the majority of the season, but their lead is shrinking rapidly.  Coming into this weekend, the struggling Saints have lost three games in a row, and seven of their last eight.  This could be a great opportunity for the Stars to march into Dubuque and take two points away from a team that seems to have lost a lot of confidence as of late.  Although they are still in first place in the west, the Fargo Force are only one point behind them in the standings, and the Sioux Falls Stampede are only three points behind.

The Stars are winners of four of their last five games coming into the game Friday night against the Sioux City Musketeers.  In my opinion, one of the big reasons why the Stars are playing winning hockey is due the play of goaltender Kevin Murdock.  It has been pointed out by a few comments left here by blog readers, but the Stars have been giving up a ton of shots on net in the last four games.  Murdock has faced a total of 163 shots on net in the last four games, which averages out to 40.8 shots per game.  That number is way too high.  Without his play in net, the Stars wouldn't be above .500 right now.  The Stars need to figure out quickly why they are allowing so many shots on goal, and how to correct it.  This past Wednesday night, Lincoln forwards and defenseman left Kevin Murdock out to dry....big time.  That will have to change if the Stars want to continue to dig themselves out of last place in the western conference.

I ran out of time last night/this morning to get this weekend preview done, so I apologize for how short it is.  See you all at the IceBox tonight!

Go Stars.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Snapshots of the Game: Sioux City vs. Lincoln 1/19

Once again, thanks to Brandon Anderson and Jeff White for allowing me to post some of their great photos here on the B³.  If you would like to contact Brandon to purchase any his photos, you can email him at bapics@live.com

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

Stars win!

B³ Postgame Recap 1/19: Sioux City 3, Lincoln 4 OT




It certainly wasn't pretty Wednesday night at the IceBox, but the Stars came back from a two-goal deficit late in the third period to beat the Sioux City Musketeers in overtime, 4-3.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.  Stars defenseman Matt Prapavessis had an absolute monster game, as the native of Oakville, Ontario Canada scored four points (2 goals, 2 assists), including the game-winning goal in OT.  Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock saved the day for the Stars, as he stopped 39 of 42 Sioux City shots on goal to record the win.  Without Doc in net tonight, the Stars never would have had the opportunity to come back late in the third period to win this game.  With the victory, the Stars improved to 15-14-1 (31 points), and are just five points out of fourth place in the USHL Western Conference.

In the first period, the Stars came out very sluggish and the Muskies were able to capitalize at the 7:36 mark when SC forward Caleb Herbert scored to give his team an early 1-0 lead.  The Muskies outshot the Stars 11-7 in the first twenty minutes, and thoroughly outplayed Lincoln, but Kevin Murdock kept the Stars in the game by only giving up the one goal. 

The Stars finally got on the scoreboard late in the second period when forward Ryan Dzingel scored on the powerplay to even the score at 1-1.  Dzingel's goal at the 17:07 mark of the second came with assists from Brent Tate and Matt Prapavessis.  At the end of two period, the scored was 1-1, but the Muskies continued to outplay the Stars through forty minutes.  SC outshot the Stars 15-5 in the second period.  Again, Lincoln looked sluggish, tired, and not playing with any kind of urgency.  Sioux City was awarded a penalty shot early in the second period, but Doc came up with a big save when he poke-checked the puck away from the SC player before he could get a shot off.

Midway through the third period, the Muskies finally got a puck past Kevin Murdock when Alex Velischek scored at the 9:23 mark to give Sioux City a 2-1 lead.  Things didn't get any better for Lincoln three minutes later when Brad Robbins scored on a 5-on-3 powerplay to increase the Sioux City lead to 3-1.  Robbins' goal came at the 12:37 mark of the third period.  Just when it looked like the game was over, and the Muskies would cruise to victory, the Stars kicked it into gear.

Matt Prapavessis would score on a 5-on-3  powerplay with a little more than five minutes remaining to pull the Stars within one goal at 3-2.  Assisting on Prapavessis' goal was Ryan Dzingel and Eric Scheid.  Suddenly, the Stars were awake and fighting.  Previously sluggish, tired Lincoln legs came alive as the Stars swarmed around Sioux City goaltender Matt Skoff, as they peppered him with shot after shot.  With only 1:03 remaining in the third period, and Stars goaltender Kevin Murdock pulled for the extra-attacker, Garrett Peterson wristed the puck past Skoff to tie the game up at 3-3.  The IceBox erupted!  John McCarron and Matt Prapavessis collected the assists on Petey's game-tying goal.  The brave souls who weathered the snowstorm to witness the game in person were treated to one heck of an ending.  At the conclusion of the third period, the score was tied at 3-3.  The Muskies outshot the Stars 42-30 through sixty minutes.

With less than two minutes remaining in the five-minute overtime period, Stars defenseman Matt Prapavessis received a pass from Ryan Dzingel in the offensive zone and wristed the puck past a surprised Matt Skoff to give Lincoln the 4-3 overtime victory, and two points in the standings.  The most improbable ending to a very ugly game by the Stars.  Wow, wow, wow.  What a comeback.  

Simply put, the Stars were very lucky to escape this game with two points.  Without Kevin Murdock in net, the Stars could have easily lost by 4 or 5 goals tonight.  Despite the sluggish play for the majority of the game, the Stars never gave up late in the third period, which was really fun to watch.  In prior seasons, you may have expected the Stars to pack their bags down two goals, roll over, and take the loss.  Not this time.  Two points is two points, no matter how ugly the win.  Credit the Stars for never giving up. 

The Stars will return to the IceBox this Friday night against the very same Sioux City Musketeers.  Puck drops at 7:05pm.  Should be another great matchup.  More on that game later in the week.  Enjoy the win!

Go Stars.