Thursday, October 11, 2012

B³ Weekend Preview: Tri-City Storm

The Lincoln Stars will play their first full weekend of games this Friday and Saturday night when they begin a home-and-home series with the Tri-City Storm.  On Friday, the Stars will host the Storm at the IceBox in Lincoln.  On Saturday, the Stars will travel to Kearney, NE to face the Storm at the Viaero Event Center.  The puck will drop at 7:05pm CST for both games.

If you can't make it to the IceBox this Friday evening, or to the game in Kearney on Saturday, 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 2-0-0 (4 points) on the young season, and are the only undefeated team left in the USHL Western Conference.  Click here to view the updated USHL standings.

The Storm have a record of 1-2-0 and are tied for fourth place in the USHL Western Conference.  They are 0-2 on the road and have given up a total of 8 goals in those two road games.  In their three games so far, the Storm have scored a total of 7 goals.  Tri-City has scored 1 powerplay goal in 11 opportunities, and 0 shorthanded goals in three games.  The Stars have scored 10 goals in two games played, including 1 powerplay goal in seven opportunities, and a whopping four shorthanded goals.

This will be the first of nine regular season game the Stars and the Storm will play against one another.  4 games will be played in Lincoln, and 5 games will be played in Kearney.  This weekend's games will be the first two games of the newly created "Good Life Cup," a new trophy given to the top Nebraska USHL team.  Click here to read more about the "Good Life Cup."

The Storm are coming off a 2011-12 campaign which saw them go 26-33-1, and earn a playoff bid.  In the first round of the Clark Cup playoff last year, the Storm were swept by the Waterloo Blackhawks, the team the Stars lost to in the USHL Western Conference Finals.  Lincoln went 5-1-2 in eight regular season games against the Tri-City Storm last season.

With head coach Josh Hauge at the helm, the Storm are no longer the doormat for the USHL Western Conference.  He's one of the better young coaches in the league, and he's been very successful in getting talented kids to commit to the Storm and come to Kearney, NE.  In the past, under previous Storm coaches, the team had problems recruiting players and draft picks to report to central Nebraska.  Hauge plays an up-tempo style of hockey, similar to what the Stars play, and they are no longer an irrelevant USHL team playing in the middle of nowhere.

Regarding the Stars, there is some bad news and some good news.

The bad news is that Stars will be without co-captain Dominik Shine this Friday night as he will be serving a one-game suspension handed down by the league.  Shine was whistled for a head-butting major and a game misconduct at the end of the second period during Lincoln's 5-2 win over the Des Moines Buccaneers last Friday night at the IceBox.

The good news is the other Stars co-captain, defenseman Mike McKee, will be back in the lineup this weekend after he served a one-game suspension last Friday night after a fighting game misconduct he received during Lincoln's home opener on September 28th.

Any fans out there making the trek to Kearney on Saturday night to root on the Stars?  Sadly I won't be there, but I'm hoping to watch the game online.

Sorry for the short length of this weekend.  It's been a busy week and I ran out of time tonight to get this done.  Hoping for another big crowd at the IceBox Friday night!  See you all there.

Go Stars.

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