Thursday, October 18, 2012

B³ Weekend Preview: Fargo Force

The Lincoln Stars will look to stay undefeated this weekend when they host the Fargo Force in back-to-back games at the IceBox this Friday, and Saturday night.  The puck will drop at 7:05pm CST each night in Lincoln.

If you can't make it to the IceBox this weekend, you can follow the boxscores online via Pointstreaklisten to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on 93.7 FM "The Ticket," or watch the game live on FASTHockey for a fee.

The Stars are currently 4-0-0 (8 points), and are tied for first place in the USHL Western Conference with two other teams.  Lincoln is one of only two teams in the USHL who are still undefeated.  Click here to view the updated USHL standings.

Fargo currently has a record of 3-2-1 (7 points), and are in fourth place in the USHL Western Conference.  This will be the first, and second time the Stars and Force will meet one another this season.  In total, Lincoln and Fargo will meet eight times during the 2012-13 regular season.  The first four games will be played in Lincoln, while the last four regular season games will be played in Fargo.

I should also note that the Force are playing tonight (Thursday) at home against the Youngstown Phantoms.  Let's all hope for a long, physical game for the Force against the Phantoms so they'll be extra tired this weekend in Lincoln against the Stars. ;)

Six games into the season, the Force, like most USHL teams, are still trying to find their identity.  So far, Fargo is a team that can score a lot of goals, but also give up a lot of goals.  The Force are averaging 3.67 goals scored per game, and are giving up 3.83 goals per game.  In comparison, the Lincoln Stars are averaging 4.25 goals scored per game (second most in the USHL), and are giving up 1.50 goals per game (second lowest in the USHL).

In their four years in the USHL, the Fargo Force are quickly becoming one of Lincoln's top rivals.  Apart from Omaha, I'd argue that the Force are more of a rival right now to the Stars than other western conference teams like the Tri-City Storm, Sioux Falls Stampede, or Sioux City Musketeers.

In my opinion, one of the main reasons why the Stars and Force are becoming fierce rivals in such a short amount of time is that they've met one another in the playoffs three out of the last four years.  They've become very familiar with one another once the postseason rolls around.

Lincoln beat Fargo in the second round of the 2012 Clark Cup playoffs, three games to one this past April.  In that series, Fargo won the first game before the Stars won three in a row to bounce the Force from the postseason.

One year earlier, Fargo swept Lincoln, two games to none, in the first round of the 2011 Clark Cup playoffs.  In 2009, the Force swept Lincoln three games to none in the second round of the Clark Cup playoffs.

Getting back to the present....these two weekend home games against will wrap up a six-game stretch where Lincoln played 5 of those 6 games at the IceBox.  After this weekend, the Stars will embark on a four-game road trip.  So far, the Stars have taken advantage of the atmosphere provided at the IceBox.  Let's hope that continues this weekend.

Sadly, I won't able to attend the Fargo game on Saturday night, so I'm hoping to get some good recaps from any blog readers out there after that game.  However, I will be there Friday, and will report back here with my thoughts and opinions.

Let's get four points!  Go Stars.

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