Monday, September 17, 2012

B³ Lincoln Stars 2012 Fall Classic Preview

The Lincoln Stars will continue their exhibition schedule this week when they travel to Sioux City, Iowa to participate in the 2012 USHL Fall Classic tournament.  The Stars will play a total of three games over the course of four days.  Lincoln will face off against the Fargo Force on Wednesday, September 19th, the Cedar Rapids Roughriders on Thursday, September 20th, and the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Saturday September 22nd.  The Stars will not play a game on Friday, September 21st.  These three exhibition contests will be the final preseason games the Stars will play before they start the USHL 2012-13 regular season on Friday, September 28th at the IceBox in Lincoln against the Sioux Falls Stampede.

The Fall Classic is one of the most heavily scouted hockey tournaments in North America.  Click here to read more about that.  Every year I go to Sioux City for the Fall Classic, I'm amazed at the amount of college and pro scouts that I see.  At times they outnumber the total amount of fans in the seats.  This tournament is a great opportunity for so many players to be seen, and possibly earn a college hockey scholarship.

For those who are unaware, the USHL Fall Classic tournament is held at two different ice rinks in Sioux City:  the Tyson Events Center (TEC), and the IBP Ice Center.  The TEC is the home rink for the Sioux City Musketeers.  The IBP Ice Center is a much smaller rink.  The Muskies staff and volunteers do a great job of hosting this event.  Here is the pricing for the tickets, which can be purchased in person at the TEC or the IBP Ice Center.  

Cost: 4-Day Pass: $49 / $15 Adult / $10 Child 3-12 / $10 Evening Game

Those prices above are for only in-person purchase.  If you decide to purchase passes ahead of time on Ticketmaster (which I don't recommend you do-read below), you'll end up spending a lot more money because of Ticketmaster's hidden charges.

If you are planning on being up at the Fall Classic for all four days, then the 4-day pass is the best bargain.  If you're only going up for one or two days, then the $15 per day pass is probably the best bet.  I wouldn't worry about buying these passes ahead of time.  These games do not sellout.  In the past I've always just bought passes at either rink when I arrive.

All games, including those at the IBP Ice Center, will be broadcast live on FASTHockey. The cost of each game is roughly $7, and you can purchase games ahead of time and watch them later with FASTHockey.  For example, you can purchase one of the games the Stars will play ahead of time, and if you can't watch it live, you can log into your FASTHockey account and watch it later (on-demand) when you have time.  Click here to read a FAQ about FASTHockey.  I used FASTHockey a number of times last season and they generally do a pretty good job.

If you don't want to spend the cash on FASTHockey, you can also follow the boxscores of each game online via Pointstreak.   I do not believe any of the Fall Classic games will be available over the radio.  Okay, enough of that.  Let's get to the individual matchups.  All times listed below are CST.

                                                        6:00pm Wednesday, 9/19: Lincoln Stars vs. Fargo Force
The Fargo Force are a very familiar opponent for the Lincoln Stars.  The last time these two teams met, Stars forward Brad Hawkinson scored a clutch overtime goal to beat the Force 3-2, and bounced them out of the Clark Cup playoffs.   The Force have a 1-0-0 preseason record after a 4-2 home win over the Sioux Falls Stampede on 9/14.  Fargo returns some very good  young players from last season such as Justin Wade (D), Alex Iafallo (F), and Gabe Guertler (F).  This game will be played at the IBP Ice Center.  If you're attending this game, dress warm because the IBP is freezing inside.

                                                        4:00pm Thursday, 9/20: Lincoln Stars vs. Cedar Rapids Roughriders
The Roughriders are coming off a down season (for them) in 2011-12 when they finished with a 27-21-12 record, which was good enough for fourth place in the USHL Eastern Conference.  In the 2012 playoffs, the 'Riders were swept in the first round (2-0) by the Youngstown Phantoms.  Last season, the Roughriders were hit hard with the injury bug, and that seems to be the case again already this preseason.  An acquaintance who is a CR fan recently told me they have more than a few players out injured right now.  Riley Bourbonnais (F) is CR's top returning point-scorer from last season.  This game will be played at the Tyson Events Center.

                                                        1:00pm Saturday, 9/22: Lincoln Stars vs. Muskegon Lumberjacks
The Lumberjacks are coming off a disappointing 17-35-8 season last year that saw them miss a spot in the Clark Cup Playoffs and finish with the second worst record in the USHL.  Lincoln finished the 2011-12 season with 1,424 penalty minutes, which was the most of any USHL team.  The second place PIM team?  The Muskegon Lumberjacks with 1,394.  It's safe to say that the Lumberjacks play a very physical style, but unlike the Stars, it hasn't translated very well into wins over the years.  The 'Jacks are 1-1-0 in two preseason games.  This game will be played at the Tyson Events Center.  

Like all preseason games, you really never know what to expect with these Fall Classic tilts.  Most of these teams will rest some of their better players, and will instead roster some of the younger, inexperienced players whom the coaches want to watch live during a USHL game environment.  As I've said before, these exhibition games are more for the coaches than they are for the fans.  The coaches of every USHL team have to cut down their respective rosters down to 23 players immediately after the Fall Classic.  So it's really important that they get as many players as possible into these games so they can better evaluate them before the start of the regular season.  

I've been on the injured reserve list due to a recent knee surgery, so I will not be attending most of the Fall Classic games.  However, I'm planning on driving up on Saturday the 22nd and watching the Muskegon-Lincoln game and the rest of the games at the Tyson Events Center.  I know that a lot of Lincoln Stars fans will be in Sioux City this week, and I will be leaning on them a bit in terms of their opinions of Lincoln's first two games, and hopefully some pictures as well.  So if you'll be in attendance, please come back here and share your opinions.  I'd love to hear from you. 

I will be watching Lincoln's first two Fall Classic games via FASTHockey, so I'll be able to provide thoughts and opinions on those matchups as well.  I'll be posting frequent recap articles this week after each game, so stay tuned for those.  Looking forward to it!  It's starting to feel more and more like hockey season!  Wishing safe travels to all hockey fans and player parents going to Sioux City this week.  

Sound off if you'll be at the Fall Classic!  You can leave a comment below.

Go Stars.


Brandon Anderson said...

I will be leaving bright and early wednesday morning, I plan on just camping out at the Tyson with the exception of the Stars game at the IBP. Look for photos on the stars photo page (which I hope they update) shortly after each stars game as well as photos from the other games on my personal site

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to watching these games on line. I appreciate the fact that these are available for us fans to watch. Yeti, you do a great job on your blog and I will be reading your blog all hockey season.

Yeti said...

Thanks, Anonymous. I appreciate that.

MuskiesFan4Ever said...

I will also be camped out at the TEC for most games... especially Wed, Fri, and Sat evening games!!

Time to get the GREATEST hockey fix there is!!

16 teams over 4 days... what could be better?!?!?

MacAttack said...

making the trip north tomorrow with BA. should be lots of fun. hope to meet some of the new players and renew contact with the returning vets. also check out some former Stars on different teams. hope to get one good photo during the 4 days. LOL