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."

Monday, November 28, 2011

Matt Bartkowski NHL.com video

Thanks to the blog reader who brought this to my attention!  Here's a video from PensTV on NHL.com about former Lincoln Stars, and current Boston Bruins defenseman, Matt Bartkowski.  Bart is a native of Pittsburgh, PA, so that's why he was featured on PensTV (Pittsburgh Penguins).

Matt starts talking about his time in Lincoln at the 1:30 mark.  Great quote from Bart about the IceBox at the 2:05 mark of the video.  "To describe Lincoln's hockey rink....it's like a bar with hockey rink in it.  It's an unbelievable atmosphere." 

Ralfs Freibergs named USHL Defensive Player of the Week

More awards for the Lincoln Stars!

Stars defenseman Ralfs Freibergs was named CCM Defensive Player of the Week by the USHL today.  Freibergs shared the weekly award with Green Bay Gamblers defensemen Andrew Welinski.

Click here to read the official press release from the USHL.

Here's an excerpt from the above mentioned article:


Freibergs scored three of the eight goals for the Stars over a three-game span and helped the team kill off 13-of-14 power plays by the opposition.  He scored both goals in the 3-2 overtime loss to Tri-City on Wednesday and then scored the first goal of the game in the 2-1 victory against Sioux Falls on Friday.  He posted a game high plus-two rating in Saturday’s 4-2 win over Tri-City.  The 20-year-old from Riga, Latvia is third among USHL defensemen in scoring with 12 points (4g, 8a) in 18 games while also being second on the Stars with a plus-nine rating.

The native of Riga, Latvia has really turned it on in these past few weeks for the Lincoln Stars.  Much like Matt Prapavessis was last season for the Stars, Ralfs is the very definition of a powerplay quarterback.  He does a great job at running the powerplay and distributing the puck in the offensive zone.  As we saw this past week, he's also good at putting the biscuit in the basket as well.


Congrats to Ralfs!  Very well deserved.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Snapshots of the Game: Lincoln vs. Tri-City 11/26

Thanks to Brandon Anderson for allowing me to share some of his pictures from the Tri-City game last night.  Click here and here to view BA's website and Facebook page.

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

Jackson Teichroeb

Saturday, November 26, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 11/26: Lincoln 4, Tri-City 2

It was a gutsy, workmanlike effort by the Lincoln Stars tonight as they beat the Tri-City Storm in Kearney by a score of 4-2.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the win, the Stars improved to 12-5-1 (25 points) and are still in first place in the USHL Western Conference.  With Cedar Rapids' 3-2 win over the Waterloo Blackhawks tonight, the Stars opened up a four point lead for first place in the west over the Blackhawks.



Due to a number of injuries, Lincoln only dressed 15 skaters tonight (10 forwards, 5 defensemen) against the Storm.  Despite that, the remaining Stars in the lineup took on a rested Tri-City Storm team in their own rink and battled through fatigue and road-weary legs to earn the victory.  Very, very proud of their effort tonight.

Stars forwards Jared Hanson and Luke Johnson scored two goals a piece to lead the team on offense.  The hero of the game without a doubt was goaltender Jackson Teichroeb, who stopped 39 of 41 shots on goal to record his USHL league leading 10th win of the season.

Stars are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games.  So out of a possible 20 points available in the last 10 games, the Stars have earned 17.  Impressive, especially considering the amount of injuries this team has dealt with.

I'll update this blog article with a full recap tomorrow morning when I have more time.  I know there were a lot of Stars fans who were at this game tonight in Kearney, so I hope they will all leave a comment below.  We'd love to hear from you, so don't be shy!  I hope to have photos from Brandon Anderson as well tomorrow.

Enjoy the win!  Go Stars!

B³ Live Chat - Lincoln Stars vs. Tri-City Storm 11/26

Join us as we chat live tonight when the Lincoln Stars take on the Tri-City Storm in Kearney.  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!  Go Stars!

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.

Friday, November 25, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 11/25: Lincoln 2, Sioux Falls 1

It was another close game between the Lincoln Stars and the Sioux Falls Stampede tonight, but for the first time this season it was the road team that got the win as the Stars proved victorious by a score of 2-1.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.



With the win, the Stars improved to 11-5-1 (23 points) and are now all alone in first place in the USHL Western Conference.  The Waterloo Blackhawks, who did not play tonight, have 21 points on the season and are in second place in the west.  Click here to see the current USHL standings.

I only listened to bits and pieces of the radio broadcast tonight, so this recap will be brief.  If you watched the game tonight, or if you were lucky enough to be in attendance, I'd love to hear from you.  Please leave a comment below!

After a scoreless first period which saw Lincoln outshoot Sioux Falls 10-3, it was the good guys who got on the scoreboard first in the second period.  With the Stars on the powerplay, defenseman Ralfs Freibergs scored his fourth goal of the season, his third in the last two games, to give Lincoln a 1-0 lead at the 3:57 mark of the second period.  Defenseman Zach Frye earned the lone assist on Freiberg's powerplay goal.  After two periods, the Stars clung to the 1-0 lead.  Lincoln outshot the 'Pede 14-6 in the second stanza.

The Stars would get the insurance goal at the 6:38 mark of the third period when Zach Aston-Reese scored his third goal of the season to give Lincoln a 2-0 lead.  Aston-Reese's goal, which also came on the powerplay, would turn out to be the game-winning goal.  Defenseman Mike McKee collected the only assist on Aston-Reese's third period goal.  The Sioux Falls Stampede would snap Jackson Teichroeb's shutout attempt late in the third period with an even-strength goal with less than five minutes remaining in the game.

Stars outshot the Stampede in the third period 14-9, and overall 38-18.  Lincoln went 2-for-7 on the powerplay, while Sioux Falls was skunked going 0-for-7 with the man advantage.  Great job by the Stars penalty kill unit and goaltender Jackson Teichroeb tonight, keeping the 'Pede from finding the back of the net on the PP.  Speaking of Teichroeb, he stopped 17 of 18 shots on goal to record his ninth goal of the season, which is tied for first overall in the USHL.  Sioux Falls goaltender Stephon Williams stopped 36 of 38 shots in the loss.

Very, very impressive team effort tonight considering the amount of injured players who missed this game.  For the second straight game, the Stars only dressed five defensemen.  Out of the lineup due to injuries was Brandon Carlson, Paul LaDue, Tommy Schutt, Will Suter, Dominik Shine, and Brad Hawkinson.  The fact that this team has been able to put together wins with some big names out of the lineup this season is very encouraging.  Hopefully we'll get some of the above players back in the lineup soon.  It's scary what this team could do when they get healthy.

What more can you say about the defensive effort tonight.  In Sioux Falls, down to five defensemen, the Stars limited the Stampede to 9 shots through the first two periods, and only 18 shots overall on the night.  Playing shorthanded, the Stars put a blanket on the Stampede tonight and allowed very few pucks to get through to Jackson Teichroeb.

The Stars will be back in action tomorrow night in Kearney, NE where they will battle the Tri-City Storm.  I know quite a few Stars fans will be at that game, so I hope to get some good game reports back from them.  We'll be doing a live chat for that game here on the blog, so make sure you check us out tomorrow evening.  Enjoy the win tonight, folks.

Go Stars.

Congrats to Paul LaDue!

According to Brad Elliott Schlossman, reporter for the Grand Forks (ND) Herald, Lincoln Stars defenseman Paul LaDue has committed to play collegiate hockey for the University of North Dakota.  Click here to read more.



Click here to see the twitter announcement from Schlossman.  The University of North Dakota is located in Grand Forks, ND which also happens to be the hometown of Ladue.

In 15 games for the Stars this season, LaDue has scored 10 points (2g, 8a), is +10 (leads the team), and has two game winning goals on the season.  In my opinion, LaDue has been one of the big reasons why the Stars have played so well this season.  He's a very steady, composed defenseman who is more than capable offensively.

Congrats to Paul!  What an honor to be able to play your college hockey in front of your hometown.  UND is one of the best hockey programs in the country as well.  I have been told that LaDue is planning on attending UND starting the fall of 2013, which means he'd be back in Lincoln next season as well, but that could change depending on player personnel at UND in the next year or two.

B³ Weekend Preview: Sioux Falls and Tri-City

The Lincoln Stars will get back on the bus and hit the road this weekend for two games away from the comfy confines of the IceBox.  On Friday 11/25, the Stars will take on the Stampede in Sioux Falls, SD.  Faceoff for the Friday night game will be at 7:05pm CST.  On Saturday 11/26, the Stars will trek west to Kearney, NE to battle the Tri-City Storm.  Faceoff for the game in Kearney will also be at 7:05pm.

Lincoln enters this weekend with a record of 10-5-1 (21 points), and are tied for first place in the USHL Western Conference with the Waterloo Blackhawks.  The B'hawks, who are riding a five-game winning streak, also have an identical record of 10-5-1.  Click here to see the USHL standings.

If you are unable to attend any of the two 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.

First up for the Stars will be the Sioux Falls Stampede (7-5-1, 15 points, fourth place in the USHL Western Conference).  This will be the fourth time this season these two teams will play each other.  In their previous three head-to-head battles, the Stars are 2-1-0, with the only loss occurring in Sioux Falls on 10/21/11.  Exactly two weeks ago on 11/11/11 at the IceBox, the Stars beat the Stampede by a score of 3-2.

When these two teams face each other, the games are close and low scoring.  I don't expect that to change on Friday night in Sioux Falls.  Both teams have two of the better goaltenders in the western conference in Stephon Williams (SF), and Jackson Teichroeb.  The Stampede come into the game against Lincoln on a bit of a hot streak, having won three in a row.  In fact, the Stampede have not lost a game since falling to the Stars in Lincoln on 11/11/11.

On Saturday, the Stars will take on a familiar foe in the Tri-City Storm (5-11-0, 10 points, tied for last place in the USHL Western Conference).  This will be the third time the Storm and Stars have faced each other this season.  The Stars are 1-0-1 in the two games they've played against the Storm this season.  These two teams just met earlier this week on Wednesday, November 23rd when the Storm beat the Stars in an overtime shootout by a score of 3-2.

Despite the Storm's dismal record, they are on a two-game winning streak entering the weekend games, and have played the Stars very tough this season.  Lincoln had to mount a furious comeback on 11/13/11 to beat the Storm in Kearney by a score of 6-5.  In that particular game, the Stars scored three unanswered goals very late in the period to earn the miraculous come from behind win.

Running out of time today to get this weekend preview up, so I apologize for the briefness.  We will not be doing a live chat for the Stars-Stampede game tonight, but we should have a live chat going for the Stars-Storm game on Saturday night.

Go Stars.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Snapshots of the Game: Tri-City vs. Lincoln 11/23

Thanks to Brandon Anderson for allowing me to share some of his pictures from the Tri-City game last night.  Click here and here to view BA's website and Facebook page.

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

Stars celebrate Ralfs Freibergs' third period goal

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 11/23: Tri-City 3, Lincoln 2 OT SO

The first overtime hockey played by the Stars this season saw the visiting Tri-City Storm squeak by Lincoln in a sudden-death shootout to win by a score of 3-2 in front of a packed IceBox crowd.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the overtime loss, the Stars earned one point, and are still all alone in first place in the USHL Western Conference with a record of 10-5-1 (21 points).  Just behind the Stars are the Omaha Lancers (19 points), who lost tonight to the Des Moines Bucs by a score of 6-0.  The Waterloo Blackhawks also have 19 points in the west, and have one game in hand over Lincoln, and two games in hand over Omaha.  Click here to see the standings.

The Storm got on the scoreboard first in this game very late in the first period when Heikki Liedes scored with only 10 seconds remaining to give the Storm a 1-0 lead going into the first intermission.  Sloppy, lazy play by the Stars in their own end allowed a Tri-City forward to collect the puck behind the net and find a wide open Liedes in the slot who one-timed the puck glove high past Lincoln goaltender Jackson Teichroeb.  Stars outshot the Storm 10-7 through the first twenty minutes.

Lincoln got on the scoreboard late in the second period when defenseman Ralfs Freibergs slapped the puck past TC goaltender Adam Wilcox, on the powerplay, to knot the game up at 1-1.  Brent Tate and Colton Saucerman collected the assists on Freiberg's second goal of the season.  Before the fans in the crowd could finish celebrating the first Lincoln goal of the game, the Storm would take advantage again of sloppy play by the Stars in their own end to retake the lead.  Only 13 seconds after Freiberg's goal, Tri-City's Trevor Moore came in alone on Teichroeb and backhanded a shot into the net giving his team the 2-1 lead going into the second intermission.  Stars outshot the Storm 12-9 in the second period.

In the third period, the Stars finally woke up halfway through the stanza and took the play directly to the Storm who seemed to tire at this point in the game.  Lincoln was rewarded with Ralfs Freibergs scored his second goal of the game at the 11:00 mark of the period to tie the game at 2-2.  Brent Tate and Kevin Roy earned the assists on Freiberg's second goal of the game.  Lincoln would pepper Storm goaltender Adam Wilcox with shot after shot, but none would find the back of the net.

After a scoreless 4-on-4 overtime period, the game went to a shootout.  In the shootout, the Storm would score once, while the Stars were held scoreless.  Stars outshot the Storm overall in the game, 42-26.  Lincoln goaltender Jackson Teichroeb stopped 24 of 26 shots on goal in the loss.  TC goaltender Adam Wilcox, who was rightfully named the #1 star of the game, stopped 40 of 42 shots to record his first win as a member of the Tri-City Storm.  Stars went 1-for-6 on the powerplay, while the Storm went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.

The Stars outshot the Storm 42-27 tonight, but Lincoln flat out played some of their worst hockey of the season for the first 50 minutes of the game.  If the Stars had faced a more potent offense, I thought Lincoln could have easily been down 5-1 going into the second intermission.  Not sure what was going on with the Stars tonight, but they looked lost and tired.  Still recuperating from three games in three nights last weekend?  Too much pre-Thanksgiving turkey today?  Thinking about home and the holidays instead of the opponent on the ice?  I'm not sure.  Whatever it was, it wasn't fun to watch.

Considering the effort for the first 50 minutes of the game, I was very happy that this game went into overtime.  I figured one point was better than none.  Credit the Storm for wanting it more and getting the job done in the end.  They deserved the two points and the win.  Chad Johnson mentioned this after the game, but the Stars have to feel pretty lucky after these last two games against the Storm.  Lincoln definitely hasn't played their best hockey against Tri-City, yet they earned 3 out of 4 points against them in these last two games.

Stars will take tomorrow off to celebrate Turkey Day and after that they will jump on the bus for two road games this weekend.  First up on Friday night will be the Sioux Falls Stampede.  On Saturday night, the Stars will head west to once again battle the Tri-City Storm.  More on those two games later in the week.

Wishing all of the blog readers a happy, healthy, and bountiful Thanksgiving.

Go Stars.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

B³ Pregame Report: Tri-City Storm vs. Lincoln Stars 11/23

On Wednesday night at the IceBox, the Lincoln Stars will play host to the visiting Tri-City Storm in a Thanksgiving Eve tilt.  Faceoff for the game will take place at 7:05pm CST.  The Stars have a record of 10-5-0 (20 points), and are in first place in the USHL Western Conference.

If you can't make it to the IceBox tomorrow night, you can follow the boxscores 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 Tri-City Storm enter this game with a record of 4-11-0 (8 points) and are in last place in the USHL Western Conference.  This will be the second time these two teams will face each other this season, with the third time coming up again this Saturday evening in Kearney when the Stars take on the Storm on 11/26.  It was just ten days ago that the Stars pulled off a miraculous comeback in Kearney against the Storm by scoring three straight goals very late in the game to beat Tri-City by a score of 6-5.  The game winning goal, scored by defenseman Paul Ladue, came with only 4 seconds remaining in the regulation.

Just a few days ago, the Storm made a splash in the world of junior hockey by acquiring goaltender Adam Wilcox from the Green Bay Gamblers for a first round draft pick.  Click here to read more about that trade.  Wilcox is a NHL draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and has committed to play collegiate hockey for the University of Minnesota.  Despite having the lowest scoring offense in the USHL, the Storm felt that the addition of Wilcox will help them get out of the western conference cellar and be more competitive.  Having Wilcox in the lineup, who is a proven USHL winning goaltender, will definitely help the Storm, but they will have to address their woeful scoring (statistically last in the USHL).  

TC goaltender Pheonix Copley, who had played 13 games for the Storm and had been their workhorse before the Wilcox trade, actually put up some very decent numbers considering.  Although his record of 4-9-0 wasn't the best, his goals against average of 3.13 and save percentage of .903 was impressive again considering the Storm's lack of offensive punch.  Because of that, the addition of Wilcox seems a bit strange to me.  I thought the need of proven scorers would be more important to the Storm at this point in the season, but they felt differently. Time will tell if the acquisition of Wilcox helps the Storm rejuvenate their season.  I have a good feeling we'll be seeing him between the pipes in Lincoln on Wednesday night.  Wilcox has never faced the Stars in his two seasons in the USHL.

The Stars didn't get much rest this week after spending this past weekend on the road in Fargo with back to back games against the Force.  Going into the weekend series with Fargo, the Stars were riding a five-game winning streak.  That all came to a quick end Friday (11/18) with a  5-2 loss to the Force.  Lincoln bounced back the next next with an impressive 2-0 shutout win on 11/19.  Forward Jared Hanson, who had missed five straight games due to an injury he obtained on 11/5 against Fargo, returned to the lineup for the Saturday game and scored the game-winning goal against the Force.  Speaking of injuries, Stars head coach Chad Johnson mentioned last weekend that co-captain Brent Tate could be healthy enough to crack the lineup soon, and hinted that it could happen this week.  We'll have to wait and see if that happens tomorrow night.

The Stars made a roster move this week when they traded forward Ryan Cole to the Indiana Ice for a fifth round pick in the 2011 USHL Entry Draft.  Cole, who was a third round pick by the Stars in the 2010 USHL Entry Draft, scored two points (all assists) in 12 games with Lincoln this season.  We'd like to wish Ryan the best of luck in Indianapolis with his new team.

Well, that's about it for me.  Before I sign off, I like to point out that the BlueLine Booster Club (the best booster club in the USHL), will have 2011-12 Lincoln Stars team hockey cards available for the first time starting Wednesday night at the IceBox.  You can purchase the complete sets at the BLBC booth, which is located just inside the south entrance to the IceBox.  The sets (which includes all of the players on the team) will be sold each for $5 for non-BLBC members, and $4 for members.

What's really nice about this is that the first 150 sets will be in hard cases and each individual set will have an autographed card or a metal press plate that was actually used to make the cards.  This would be a great x-mas present for the Stars fan in your family.  Click here for an example of how each card will look like.  The BLBC also has a very limited number of high gloss sets of the cards that will also be available for $10.00 each.  So make sure you drop by the BLBC booth tomorrow, support the best fan club in the USHL, and pick up some hockey cards!  

See you all at the IceBox tomorrow night!

Go Stars.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Snapshots of the Game: Lincoln vs. Fargo 11/19

Thanks to Brandon Anderson for allowing me to share some of his pictures from the Fargo game last night.  Click here and here to view BA's website and Facebook page.

Also, click here to see photos from both games this weekend taken by "mjoy Photography," who is the main photographer for the Fargo Force.

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

Jackson Teichroeb

Saturday, November 19, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 11/19: Lincoln 2, Fargo 0

The Lincoln Stars bounced back from a disappointing loss last night with an impressive shutout win against the Fargo Force by a score of 2-0.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.



With the win, the Stars improved to 10-5-0 (20 points), and are still all alone in first place in the USHL Western Conference.  Click here to see the USHL standings.

Lincoln goaltender Jackson Teichroeb stopped all 24 shots on goal to record his USHL league leading eighth win of the season, and his first shutout as a member of the Stars.  Jared Hanson (GWG) and Luke Johnson scored the two goals for Lincoln on the night.

I will update this article with a full recap tomorrow sometime when I have time.  Enjoy the win tonight!

Go Stars.

Edit:  Ran out of time this past weekend to get this done.  Sorry, guys.  It's not much of a recap but it's better than nothing.

B³ Live Chat - Lincoln Stars vs. Fargo Force 11/19

Join us as we chat live tonight when the Lincoln Stars take on the Fargo Force.  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 around 6:45pm!  Go Stars!

Click here to listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye call the game on AM 1480 KLMS (online feed).  The radio feed of the game tonight will be carried on internet only.  Click here to watch the game via FASTHockey, for a fee.

Snapshots of the Game: Lincoln vs. Fargo 11/18

Thanks to Brandon Anderson for allowing me to share some of his pictures from the Fargo game last night.  BA will also be at the game tonight, so I should have pictures to share from the Saturday night matchup as well.  Click here and here to view BA's website and Facebook page.

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

Stars bench

B³ Postgame Recap 11/18: Lincoln 2, Fargo 5

Courtesy of Brandon Anderson
The Lincoln Stars saw their five-game winning streak snapped on the road Friday night when they fell to the Fargo Force by a score of 5-2.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.  With the loss, the Stars dropped to 9-5-0 (18 points), but with Omaha's loss last night to the Des Moines Bucs, Lincoln still occupies first place in the USHL Western Conference.

I was not able to listen to the radio broadcast of this game, nor did I watch the FASTHockey feed, so this recap will be brief.


The Stars started off strong in the first period by scoring the first goal of the game at the 7:01 mark when Zach Aston-Reese potted his second goal of the season to give Lincoln an early 1-0 lead.  Matt Friese and Mike McKee added the assists on ZAR's goal.

Whatever momentum the Stars had at that point quickly disappeared as the Force scored four unanswered goals over the course of the first, second, and third periods to take a 4-1 lead.  Stars forward Luke Johnson, playing in front of his hometown, scored at the 12:08 mark of the third period to give Lincoln a little bit of life, down two goals at 4-2.  Zach Frye and Markus McCrea earned the assists on Johnson's third goal of the season.

Fargo would put the nail in the coffin with their fifth goal later in the third period to complete the scoring.  Stars finished 0-for-3 on the powerplay, while Fargo went 0-for-6 with the man advantage.  Stars outshot the Force 30-22 overall.  For the second straight game, the Stars gave up five goals, which is a little concerning.

The Force did a good job shutting down Lincoln leading scorer Kevin Roy, who was held scoreless in this game, and had three shots on goal.  Stars goaltender Jackson Teichroeb gave up five goals for the first time this season, stopping 17 of 22 shots on goal in the loss.  It wouldn't surprise me to see Charles Williams start the game tonight against Fargo.

Stars veterans Brent Tate and Jared Hanson were scratches again last night.  Still not sure what is going on with those two.  Haven't heard anything about what injuries they might have, and when they might return to the lineup.  Hard to get any information from the non-existent local newspaper either.

We'll be chatting again tonight during the game, which starts at 7:05pm.  I should have the chat up and running around 6:45pm.  Hope to see you there.

Go Stars.

Friday, November 18, 2011

B³ Live Chat - Lincoln Stars vs. Force 11/18

Join us as we chat live tonight when the Lincoln Stars travel to Fargo, ND to take on the Force.  If you aren't familiar with the CoverItLive chat software, it's very simple to use.  Around 7:15pm tonight, we 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.  I won't be available to host the chat tonight, so Layla has been nice enough to volunteer her time.  Make sure you thank her if you stop by the chat tonight.  See you around 7:15 pm!  Go Stars!

Click here to listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye call the game on AM 1480 KLMS (online feed).  The radio feed of the game tonight will be carried on internet only.  Click here to watch the game via FASTHockey, for a fee.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

B³ Weekend Preview: Fargo Force

The Lincoln Stars will look to improve upon their current five game winning streak this weekend with back-to-back road games against the Fargo Force.

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


Whereas the Stars are playing their best hockey of the season right now, the Fargo Force (4-8-2, 10 points, tied for sixth place in the USHL Western Conference) are struggling to say the least.  They are winless in their past three games, and have only won one game in their last ten played.  Surprisingly, the Force have had better luck on the road.  Fargo enters the weekend series with Lincoln having lost six in a row at home.  

This will be the third, and fourth times these two team will face each other this season.  Two weekends ago in Lincoln, the Stars hosted the Force in back-to-back games at the IceBox.  Fargo won the first game of that weekend series with a 4-2 victory on 11/4.  The Stars bounced back from that loss with a fury the next night, spanking the Force by a score of 8-3.  That win started the current five-game winning streak the Stars are currently riding.

The Stars made some roster moves this week that I will detail below:
  • Stars forward Jonathan Grebosky was activated from the injured reserve list on 11/13.  I do not know if he will be in the lineup this weekend in Fargo.
  • Stars defenseman Richie Coyne was traded to the Langley Rivermen of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL).  Wishing him the best with his new team
  • Stars affiliate forward Alex Schoenborn ('95) has been called up by Lincoln to play in the weekend games in Fargo this weekend.  Alex was a 2011 Futures draft pick of the Stars, and is currently playing for the Omaha AAA U-16 squad.  The native of Minot, ND is a big kid (6'2", 195 pounds) for only being 15 years old.  Alex was one of many players that impressed me at the Stars' tryout camp this past June.  Like Vinni Lettieri, Schoenborn is a highly talked about recruit with a bright future.
Before I end this article, I wanted to point out a recent story written by Ryan S. Clark, reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.  The article highlights head coach Chad Johnson, and forward Luke Johnson "going home."  Click here to read it.

Sorry for the short weekend preview.  I've been sick all week so I haven't had a lot of energy to devote to the blog.  We will be doing live in-game chats for both games this weekend.  The Friday night game starts at 7:35pm CST.  We should have the chat up and running around 7:15pm that night.  The Saturday night game in Fargo starts at 7:05pm.  The chat for that game should be running around 6:45pm.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stars related video from NewsNetNebraska.org

I just ran across this short video on the NewsNetNebraska website, which is run by students attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The title of the video is, "Stars’ player balances school, hockey." It features Stars forward Luke Johnson, and head coach Chad Johnson. Push play below.  Enjoy.

Paul Ladue and Jackson Teichroeb earn USHL weekly awards

Congrats to Lincoln Stars defenseman Paul Ladue, and goaltender Jackson Teichroeb for winning two weekly awards from the USHL today!  Paul was named "CCM Defensive Player of the Week," while Jackson was named "Reebok USHL Goaltender of the Week."  Click here to read the official press release from the USHL.  Here's an excerpt:

Ladue recorded six points (1g, 5a) and a plus-four rating to help the Stars win all four of their games during the week and take over the top spot in the Western Conference standings.  He assisted on the game-winning goal in three straight games – Tuesday’s 6-2 win vs. Sioux City, Friday’s 3-2 win over Sioux Falls, and again during Saturday’s 2-1 victory against Omaha.  The 19-year-old then was the hero on Sunday as he scored the game-winning goal with just four seconds remaining in the third period to give the Stars a 6-5 victory over Tri-City.  Ladue, a native of Grand Forks, North Dakota, is second among USHL defensemen with 10 points (2g, 8a) and is tied for third overall in the League with a plus-nine rating.


Teichroeb posted a 1.67 goals-against-average and a .936 save percentage while earning three victories for the Stars.  He opened the week stopping 22 shots in Tuesday’s 6-2 win at Sioux City.  The 19-year-old from London, Ontario then earned victories in consecutive nights, making 26 saves in the 3-2 win over Sioux Falls on Friday and then stopping 25 shots in the 2-1 victory against Omaha on Saturday.  Teichroeb has won his last four starts and now leads all USHL goaltenders with seven victories this season and is third with a 2.08 GAA.   



The current five-game winning streak has been a total team effort, but both Ladue and Teichroeb have certainly stood out and are playing their best hockey of the season right now.  You could argue that the Stars could have earned a clean sweep of the awards since forward Kevin Roy scored 8 points (6g, 2a) in the four games last week that Lincoln won.  Casey Bailey of the Omaha Lancers, who won the offensive player of the week, scored 7 points (6g, 1a) in three games last week.  The Lancers went 1-2 in those three games, however.

Regardless, it's nice to see the league acknowledge the efforts made by some of the Stars players.  Congrats once again to Paul and Jackson!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 11/13: Lincoln 6, Tri-City 5

Five game winning streak!
On the strength of a furious third period comeback, the Lincoln Stars rallied tonight to beat the Tri-City Storm on the road by a score of 6-5, and in turn extended their winning streak to five games.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.



With the win, the Stars improved to 9-4-0 on the season (18 points), and are still all alone in first place in the USHL Western Conference.  I wasn't able to attend this game, nor was I able to listen to the radio broadcast, so this recap will be very brief.  If there any blog readers who went to the game tonight and would like to leave a comment, please do so below.  If you'd rather stay anonymous, you can send me an email at lincolnstarshockey@gmail.com, and I can add it later myself.

Surprisingly, especially when you look at the final score, there was only one goal scored in the first twenty minutes of the game.  Kevin Roy scored his first of three goals on the night at the 6:38 mark of the first period.  Tommy Schutt and Will Suter earned the assists on Roy's goal.  Stars outshot the 15-6 in the first period.

In the second period, both teams exploded for a total of five goals.  Three of those goals were scored by the Storm, while the other two were scored by the Stars.  Lincoln forward Kevin Roy would score both goals in the period for the Stars to complete the hat trick.  Roy's first goal of the second period came on the powerplay, with assists going to Paul Ladue and Luke Johnson.  Roy's second goal of the period came at even-strength, with assists going to Ralfs Freibergs and Will Suter.  At the end of two periods, the Stars and Storm were all tied up at 3-3.  Tri-City outshot Lincoln 16-8 in the second stanza.

The Storm would come out early in the third period and score two straight goals to take a commanding 5-3 lead over the Stars.  Down two goals with less than four minutes remaining, the Stars would kick it into an extra gear to score three straight goals to win the game.  All three goals would come on the powerplay, also.  Here are the last three Lincoln goals:

Lincoln - Luke Johnson (powerplay) (Paul LadueRalfs Freibergs) 16:22
Lincoln - Tommy Schutt (powerplay) (extra attacker) (Kevin RoyLuke Johnson)19:14

Lincoln - Paul Ladue (powerplay) (Ralfs FreibergsKevin Roy) 19:56

Looks like the Stars pulled goaltender Charles Williams around the one minute mark for the extra attacker, and capitalized when Tommy Schutt scored with only 46 seconds remaining to tie the game.  And with only four seconds remaining, Paul Ladue scored his first goal of the season to give Lincoln the win.  Wow, wow, wow.  I really wish I could have been there in Kearney tonight to see this game in person.

Charles Williams stopped 28 of 33 shots on goal to record his second win of the season for the Stars, and first since the home opener on 9/30/11.  Lincoln's special teams shined tonight as the Stars went 4-for-7 on the powerplay.  Lincoln outshot Tri-City overall tonight, 42-33.

The Tri-City Storm website has posted video highlights of the game, so click here to see those.  Thankfully, they include five of the six goals scored by the Stars, so it's definitely worth the watch.  The highlights for the Lincoln game should automatically open, but if they don't, look for the "11/13 Storm vs. Lincoln" link on the right hand side of the page.

The players should really be proud of their hard work tonight.  It may not have been their best defensive effort of the season, but they never conceded defeat, and fought like hell until the end.  A win like the Stars got tonight shows a lot of heart.

The Stars will be back in action next weekend with two games in Fargo against the Force.  More on that matchup later in the week.

Go Stars.

Snapshots of the Game: Omaha vs. Lincoln 11/12

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 salute to the crowd after the big win

Saturday, November 12, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 11/12: Omaha 1, Lincoln 2

Gooooooooaaaaal!
The Lincoln Stars won their fourth game in a row tonight after beating the Omaha Lancers at the IceBox by a score of 2-1.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.



With the win and the two points, the Stars improved to 8-4-0 (16 points) and are all alone in first place in the USHL Western Conference.  Click here to see the standings.

For the second game in a row, the Stars scored first when Teemu Tiitinen batted the puck past Omaha goaltender Alex Lyon at the 12:18 mark of the first period.  Forward Vinni Lettieri and Markus McCrea collected the assists on Teemu's fifth goal of the season.  Tiitinen has scored 6 points (5g, 1a) in his last four games, and is riding a four-game goal scoring streak.

The Lancers would respond to the Tiitinen goal in a hurry when forward Tanner Lane broke in on Jackson Teichroeb and backhanded the puck into the net to knot the game up at 1-1.  Lane's goal came 1:40 after Tiitinen's tally.  Little did the Lancers know at the time, but that would be the only goal they would score that night.  Omaha outshot the Stars 12-10 in the first period.

In the second period, the Lancers came out and dominated play in my opinion.  They won the puck possession war, and put a number of shots on goal, although many of the shots were not high percentage scoring opportunities.  At times, the Lancers seemed to play like they were on the powerplay in the second period even though the action was at even-strength.  Omaha outshot the Stars 10-6 in the second period, but neither team would score.

The third period saw the Stars come out and play much better defensively, as they limited the Lancers to only four shots on goal in the final twenty minutes.  Midway through the period, Stars foward Matt Friese would step up and be the hero thanks to a nice cross ice pass from defenseman Colton Saucerman.  As you can see from the picture posted above, Friese one-timed the puck just between Lyon and the post to give Lincoln the 2-1 lead, and the eventual win.  Along with Saucerman, defenseman Paul Ladue collected the other assist on Friese's second goal of the season.  After going scoreless in his first eight games of the season for the Stars, Friese now has four points (2g, 2a) in his last four games.

The Lancers would pull goaltender Alex Lyon in the waning moments of the game for the extra attacker, but I don't believe they managed to get a shot on Teichroeb in the final minutes.  Stars win 2-1, and leapfrog the Lancers in the USHL Western Conference standings into first place.  Lincoln goaltender Jackson Teichroeb stopped 25 of 26 shots on goal to record his seventh win of the season, which is tops in the entire USHL.

Wow....what a great game.  It definitely had a playoff feel to it.  Give credit to the Lancers for slowing the game down and limiting the amount of shots Lincoln had.  Omaha held Lincoln under 30 shots on goal for the first time this season (11 straight games).  Also, Omaha outshot the Stars overall  26-22, which was the first time all season that Lincoln was outshot by their opponent.  However, shots on goal really don't mean a whole lot in terms of the quality of chances.  Omaha may have outshot the Stars, but they really didn't generate a lot of high percentage scoring chances.

The Stars were without a number of key players in this game including Richie Coyne, Bob Kinne, Brent Tate, Dominik Shine, Jonathan Grebosky, Brad Hawkinson, and Jared Hanson.

Wins over the Lancers always feel a little better than wins over other USHL teams.  Great atmosphere last night at the IceBox with the sellout crowd.  A total of 4,327 fans were treated to one heck of a game.  Wearing their specially designed pink jerseys which were auctioned off after the game, the Stars raised over $26,000 towards "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" and the American Cancer Society.

I thought the line of Lettieri-Tiitinen-McCrea was one of the best lines of the weekend, and it shows on the boxscore.  Vinni Lettieri is a special player, and it's a shame he has to go back to Minnesota to play high school hockey.  I think over the weekend Vinni proved he is ready for the USHL.  In two games, Lettieri collected two assists, was +2, and had four shots on goal.  Chad Johnson mentioned after the game last night that they might not have Lettieri in the lineup tonight against Tri-City because he has to travel back to MN today since he has school Monday morning.  There's a good reason why as a 16 year old, Lettieri earned a scholarship offer from the University of Minnesota.  I really like his speed, and puck sense.  He's a special player that hopefully will be with the Stars full-time next season.

As I just mentioned, the Stars will finish up the long weekend with a game tonight against the Tri-City Storm in Kearney, NE.  Faceoff for that matchup will be at 5:05pm.  The Stars and Storm are two teams going in opposite directions.  The Storm have lost six in a row, including three in a row at home.  Lincoln cannot take the Storm for granted tonight.  I know a lot of Stars fans are making the trek west for the game tonight, so I hope to get some good comments from them later.  Unfortunately, I will not be able to go to the game nor listen to it on the radio.  We won't be doing a live chat tonight either.  The radio feed of the game tonight will be internet only, so make sure you click here and listen to the 1480 AM feed online to follow the Stars.

Go Stars!

*Thanks to blog reader "Starstruck" for letting me use the picture you see above.  Great shot of Matt Friese scoring the game winning goal in the third period.  You can click on the picture to enlarge it.

Snapshots of the Game: Sioux Falls vs. Lincoln 11/11

Thanks to Brandon Anderson and Jeff White for letting me post some of their photos from the Sioux Falls Stampede 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.

My favorite shot of the night.  Pregame national anthem.

Friday, November 11, 2011

B³ Postgame Recap 11/11: Sioux Falls 2, Lincoln 3

Courtesy of Brandon Anderson Photography
It was a bit of a bizarre ending tonight at the IceBox, but the Stars were victorious by a score of 3-2 over the Sioux Falls Stampede.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.



With the win, the Stars improved to 7-4-0 (14 points), and are in second place in the USHL Western Conference.  Lincoln is now riding a three-game winning streak going into their game tomorrow night against the Omaha Lancers.

Lincoln goals came from Kevin Roy, and Teemu Tiitinen (2).  Tiitinen's third period goal with a little more than five minutes remaining proved to be the game winner.  Sioux Falls was awarded a penalty shot with .5 seconds remaining in the third period, but Sioux Falls forward Todd Skirving appeared to shoot the puck wide.

Stars outshot the 'Pede 33-28 overall.  Lincoln goaltender Jackson Teichroeb stopped 26 of 28 shots on goal to record his sixth win of the season.  Stars went 1-for-2 on the powerplay, while the Stampede went 1-for-4 with the man advantage.

I'll try to update this blog article tomorrow sometime with a full recap.  I probably won't get to it until tomorrow afternoon, after the Nebraska football game.

Enjoy the win tonight, everyone!  Go Stars!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

B³ Weekend Preview: Sioux Falls, Omaha, Tri-City

It will be a busy weekend for the Lincoln Stars coming up as they will play three games in three consecutive nights, each game against a divisional foe.  The first two games of the weekend will take place at the IceBox against the Sioux Falls Stampede (Fri) and the Omaha Lancers (Sat).  On Sunday, the Stars will travel west to Kearney, NE to take on the Tri-City Storm.  Faceoff for the two games at the IceBox on Friday and Saturday will be at 7:05pm CST.  Faceoff for the Sunday evening matchup in Kearney against the TC Storm will be at 5:05pm CST.

If you are unable to make it to any of the 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 games live on FASTHockey for a fee.  

*A reminder, the UNL mens basketball team is scheduled to play a game Friday night at the Devaney Center starting at 7:00pm.  Plan accordingly because traffic could be a mess.

First up for the Stars will be a Friday night matchup against the Sioux Falls Stampede (4-4-1, 9 points, fourth place in the USHL Western Conference) at the IceBox.  Surprisingly, this will be the third time these two teams will face each other already this season.  We're barely past the 10 game mark, yet these two teams will have played each three times.  Back on 9/30/11 at the IceBox, the Stars and goaltender Charles Williams shutout the 'Pede by a score of 2-0.  On 10/21/11 in Sioux Falls, the Stampede returned the favor with a 2-1 win over the Stars.

I normally would expect to see Sioux Falls start goaltender Stephon Williams in this game, but backup netminder Charlie Lindgren is coming off a game in which he stopped 38 of 40 shots in a 3-2 'Pede victory over the TC Storm.  For his efforts, Lindgren was named USHL goaltender of the week.  I still believe Stephon Williams is one of the top goaltenders in the Western Conference, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Lindgren in net against the Stars this Friday.

Along with the Tri-City Storm, the Stampede are one of the lowest scoring teams in the USHL (2.33 goals scored per game).  The Stars are averaging 3.60 goals scored per game, which is tops in the Western Conference.  Sioux Falls scores most of their goals by committee, and don't score a lot of them on the powerplay.  The 'Pede are dead last in the USHL in powerplay percentage with 7.09% (3 powerplay goals scored in 38 PP opportunities).  It doesn't get any better on the other end of the ice on special teams, as the Stampede have the 13th worst penalty kill percentage at 78.69%.

On Saturday night, the Stars will play host to rival Omaha Lancers (7-3-1, 15 points, first place in the USHL Western Conference).  This will be the first time this season that the Stars and Lancers will knock heads.  Omaha is on a bit of a hot streak having won three in a row coming into the weekend games.  The Lancers will play Friday night at home against the Des Moines Bucs before traveling down I-80 to face the Stars on Saturday.  The MVP of the Lancers so far this season has been goaltender Alex Lyon.  The rookie from Baudette, MN is 5-1-1 on the season with a 1.94 goals against average and a .935 save percentage.  Two of his five wins have been shutouts.

Stating the obvious here, but when these two teams meet on the ice....sparks fly.  Year in, and year out, the players on these two teams will always hate each other.  Every game has a playoff type feel to it.  Every game is World War III.  Disregard the win-loss record of each team, because when these two rivals meet, each team plays their best.  Well, not so much for the Lancers last season.  During the 2010-11 USHL regular season, the Stars went 6-2-0 in eight games against the Lancers.  Lets hope that trend continues this season.

A reminder, the Stars will be wearing special jerseys on Saturday night to raise awareness for breast cancer and help benefit the American Cancer Society.  The jerseys will be auctioned off to the fans after the game.  Make sure you stick around afterwards and contribute to a great cause.  Click here to read more.

Finally on Sunday, the Stars will bus it west to face the Tri-City Storm (3-7-0, 6 points, seventh place in the USHL Western Conference).  This also will be the first time that these two teams will face each other this season.  Unlike the Lancers, the Storm are struggling as they enter the weekend games.  Tri-City has lost four games in a row overall, and three in a row at home.   Just like last season, the Storm are having issues putting the biscuit in the basket.  Through 10 games, the Storm have only scored 21 goals, averaging 2.10 goals scored per game (dead last in the USHL).  

Leading the way for the Storm is forward Nick Lappin,. who has been one of the only bright spots on a dismal TC offense.  Lappin, who is a Brown University recruit like Lincoln Stars forward Kevin Roy, is leading the Storm in scoring with 12 points (8g, 4a) in 10 games.  Lappin is riding a five-game point scoring streak, and has 8 points (5g, 3a) in those five games.  Lappin's 8 goals accounts for 38% of all goals scored by the Tri-City Storm so far this season.

Also playing well for the Storm this season has been goaltender Pheonix Copley.  Although his win loss record isn't the greatest (3-6-0), his goals against average (2.92) and save percentage (.908) is impressive considering his team is so offensively challenged.  Copley, who was at the Stars' tryout camp in Minneapolis this past June, has been a workhorse for the Storm this season having played in all but one game.  His 553 minutes played so far this season is second-most in the entire USHL.

As we all know, the Stars are coming off two big wins in which they exploded for a total of 14 goals.  This past Saturday, Lincoln beat the Fargo Force by a score of 8-3.  Just a few days later on Tuesday (11/8), the Stars unleashed the fury against the Sioux City Musketeer on the road by a score of 6-2.  After scoring six points last weekend in two games against Fargo, forward Kevin Roy was named USHL Offensive Player of the Week.  Roy celebrated his second USHL award of the season by scoring two third period goals against the Muskies this past Tuesday.  Roy is now tied for first place in scoring in the entire USHL with 17 points (10g, 7a) in 10 games.

According to the Lincoln Stars' twitter page, affiliate forward Vinni Lettieri ('95) is in town practicing with the team and could play in the three weekend games.  Lettieri is a 2011 Futures Draft pick of the Lincoln Stars, and will be a junior for his Minnetonka (MN) Clippers high school hockey team.  Current Stars forward Tommy Schutt was teammates with Lettieri last season on the Minnetonka squad.  Lettieri is already attracting the attention of a number of scouts, and recently committed to play collegiate hockey for the University of Minnesota (2013 or 2014) after his high school/junior career.  His high school's regular season doesn't start until late November, so it sounds like Lettieri is here to get a taste of the USHL before heading back to Minny.  I don't believe we'll see Vinni here full-time this season, but there is a good chance he will play in Lincoln next season.  Lettieri was at the Stars' tryout camp this past June, and I was really impressed with his play after watching him in person.  He's a bit undersized, but he's very shifty and extremely gifted with the puck.

Hope to see two big crowds yet again this weekend.  Both games at the IceBox should be a lot of fun.  Thanks for reading.  Sorry for the length of the post.

Go Stars.