Tuesday, November 20, 2012

B³ Pregame Report: Omaha....err, Ralston Lancers

The Lincoln Stars will play their traditional Thanksgiving eve game tomorrow night at the IceBox against the Omaha Ralston Lancers.

The puck will drop at 7:05pm CST.  I've heard this game is very close to being a sellout, so if you don't have your tickets, make sure to call the Stars' ticket office early Wednesday morning.

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

The Stars are currently 11-3-0 (22 points), and are tied for second place in the USHL Western Conference with the Sioux Fall Stampede who are 11-5-0.  Lincoln's winning percentage of .786% is tops in the western conference.  Click here to view the updated USHL standings.

The Ralston Lancers have a record of 8-9-0 (16 points), and are in fifth place in the USHL Western Conference.  This will be the first of TEN games the Stars and Lancers will play against one another this season.  Yes, you read that correct.  The Stars and Lancers will play a total of 10 games during the 2012-13 season.  Previously, the Stars and Lancers have played each other 8 times in the regular season.  Personally, I wish we'd see more eastern conference teams at the IceBox instead of more puke orange.  Ten time is way too much.

After losing five of their first six regular season games, and spending much of October in last place in the USHL Western Conference, the Lancers are on a bit of a hot streak right now.  They've won four in a row, and have climbed out of the western conference cellar.  They are close to being a .500 hockey club, and are only two points out of fourth place in the west.

The Lancers played their first eight road games on the road because of delays in construction of their new arena in Ralston.  Yes, the Lancers have moved again.  This will be their fourth home in the USHL.  First it was Aksarben Arena, which was a fantastic venue to watch hockey.  Then they moved to the Mid American Center (MAC) in Council Bluffs Counciltucky, Iowa.  Apparently they had enough of Iowa (can't say I blame them), so they moved to the Civic Auditorium in downtown Omaha the past few seasons.

So beginning this season, the brand new Ralston Arena in Ralston, NE is the home of the Lancers.  This time, I think they'll stay in one place for awhile.  The Stars will play their first game in Ralston Arena on Friday, November 30th.  It's a smaller rink (3,600-3,700 maximum capacity), and I think the Lancers' execs purposely designed it that way.  Previously at the MAC and the Civic, they played in front of a lot of empty seats due to the massive size of both venues.  With the Ralston Arena, I believe the Lancers' brass hope to recreate what we have here in Lincoln.  Good luck with that.

While the Lancers are riding a winning streak, the Stars find themselves in uncharted territory, having lost three of their last four games.  After starting the season 10-0-0, Lincoln is 1-3-0 in their last four games and have been outscored 14-12.  However, the Stars have lost to some very good teams as of late (Sioux Falls, Dubuque) so it's not like they are getting beat by scrubs.

Lincoln played very well this past Friday night at the IceBox against the top team in the USHL right now, the Dubuque Fighting Saints.  Despite losing 3-2 on a fluke goal, I thought the Stars performed very well and showed the Saints they are just as good.  If they can play that level of hockey tomorrow night, I think the Stars will have a good chance of picking up two points.

For the most part, when it comes to a Stars-Lancers game, you can throw out the records.  Last place, first place....it doesn't matter.  Both teams will be out for blood tomorrow night and the fans will be going nuts.  I'm not sure the new players on the Stars (and Lancers) know what they're in for.

Stars captain Dominik Shine will unfortunately miss the game against the Lancers tomorrow night at the IceBox due to a one-game suspension handed down this week by the USHL.  In last Friday's home loss to Dubuque, Shine picked up a cross checking major and game ejection after a hit in the third period.  Personally, I think the suspension is not warranted.  The hit happened right in front of the section I sit in, and it looked like the Dubuque player turned away from the hit at the last minute which forced Shine to hit him from behind.  Also, it didn't appear to me that the hit was that bad.  I've seen a LOT worse happen at the IceBox that didn't .  Regardless, Shine will miss the game tomorrow night but will be back in the lineup this upcoming weekend.

I forgot to mention this last Friday, but the Stars recently added defenseman Travis Maxwell to the team.  Maxwell came to Lincoln from the Minot Minotauros of the NAHL where he had 8 points (4g, 4a) in 8 games played.  Last Friday against Dubuque in his USHL and Lincoln debut, Maxwell picked up 1 assist and was +2.  I thought he played very, very well.  I'm sure he was pretty nervous in his first game in a Stars uniform, but he looked solid.  Maxwell has been at Lincoln's tryout camp the past three years, so it's nice to see hard work and determination get rewarded.

Note!  We'll have to deal with the UNL parking idiots for the second straight week.  Yeah, I'm not happy about it either.  The UNL mens basketball team will be playing at Devaney tomorrow night at 7pm, so expect even more traffic than what we had to deal with last Friday.  It will be a mess, so arrive early.

There's nothing better than Lancers-Stars at the IceBox!  See you all there.

Go Stars.


nutz4puckz said...

A 7 o clock game and a basketball game also, I think I am going to leave at noon in hopes to be parked in time to see the start of the hockey game. Let's go Lincoln!!

Anonymous said...

Nice to see the USHL and their "refs" still have their lips permanently attached to Omahas d***
Worst officiated game I've ever seen