Wednesday, February 29, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap 2/29: Lincoln 3, Sioux Falls 0

The Lincoln Stars snapped their six-game road losing streak tonight with an impressive 3-0 shutout win over the Stampede in Sioux Falls, SD.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the win and the two points, the Stars improved to 27-14-4 (58 points) and are still in sole possession of second place in the USHL Western Conference.  Lincoln is now only one point behind the first place Omaha Lancers (59 points) in the standings.  The Stars still have one game in hand over Omaha.  Click here to view the current USHL standings.

Absolutely dominating effort by the Stars tonight, as they outshot the Sioux Falls Stampede 50-16.  Yes, you read that right.  50-16.  If it wasn't for the heroics of Stampede goaltender Charlie Lindgren, the Stars could have easily scored 10 goals tonight.

The three goals Lincoln did get past Lindgren were scored by Jared Hanson (assist to Logan Smith), Kevin Roy (PP - assists to Dominik Shine and Ralfs Freibergs), and Luke Johnson (assist to Kevin Roy).

Stars goaltender Jackson Teichroeb wasn't too busy tonight, but was solid when called upon with 16 saves on 16 shots on goal.  Teichroeb earned his 16th win and 3rd shutout of the season.  Stampede goaltender Charlie Lindgren stopped 47 of 50 shots in the loss.

This was the third straight game the Stars ran into a hot goaltender, and luckily they have earned five of six possible points from those three games.  So in their past three games, the Stars have put a total of 142 shots on goal.  Opposing goaltenders have stopped 133 of those 142 Lincoln shots.  Lincoln has outshot the opposition 142-69 in the same three games.  That's nuts.

Lincoln went 1-for-4 on the powerplay, while Sioux Falls went 0-for-2.

The Stars are back in action this weekend with a home game at the IceBox against the Cedar Rapids Roughriders on Friday night, then a road game against the Des Moines Buccaneers on Saturday.  More on those two matchups later this week.

Go Stars.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

B³ Pregame Report: Lincoln Stars vs. Sioux Falls Stampede 2/29

The Lincoln Stars will have an opportunity to snap their six-game road losing streak this Wednesday night when they travel to Sioux Falls, SD to battle the last place Stampede.  The puck will drop at 7:05pm CST.

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

The Stars are in sole possession of  second place in the USHL Western Conference with a record of 26-14-4 (56 points), three points behind the first place Omaha Lancers.  Lincoln currently has two games in hand over Omaha.  Click here to view the current USHL standings.

As I mentioned briefly above, the Sioux Falls Stampede are statistically the worst team in the USHL right now with a record of 13-26-4 (30 points).  This will be the eighth, and final time these two teams will face each other this season.  In their seven previous meetings this season, the Stars sport a record of 6-1-0 against the Stampede.  The lone loss to the Stampede came way back on 10/21/11 when Sioux Falls beat Lincoln by a score of 2-1.  In that particular game, 'Pede goaltender Stephon Williams stood on his head and stopped 35 of 36 Lincoln shots to record the win.  Stephon Williams has since been traded to the Waterloo Blackhawks for current SF goaltender Jay Williams.

Things have not gone well this season for head coach Kevin Hartzell and the Stampede.  For one, they have a very, very young team.  I haven't looked at the numbers that closely, but I would be willing to bet that statistically they have the youngest team in the USHL this season.  They have a ton of players born in '93, '94, and '95, and only a few players born in '92 and '91.

 Because of the inexperience, the Stampede have struggled to put the puck in the net this season.  Through 43 games played, the Stampede have only scored a total of 95 goals.  They average 2.21 goals scored per game, which is by far the lowest in the entire USHL.  On the other end of the rink, the Stars are averaging 3.59 goals scored per game, which is tied for second-best overall.  So basically, this game will feature one of the USHL's top offenses vs. the USHL's worst offense.

Having said all of that, I believe the Stampede are a much better team than their record indicates.  They have been hit hard with injuries this season, and have recently lost a number of players to suspension for their actions in a line brawl against the Sioux City Musketeers on 2/18/12.  Click here to check out the boxscore from that game.  Wowzers.  A total of 208 penalty minutes were whistled in that particular game.  Click here to see the video of that line brawl.

All of the four Sioux Falls players suspended in that game are back in the lineup, and should be available this Wednesday evening against the Stars.  For the most part this season, they have played the Stars tough.  Four of their seven previous games have been decided by one goal.  Although their offense is anemic, they play team defense pretty well and they have two very capable goaltenders in Charlie Lindgren, and Jay Williams (formerly of the Waterloo Blackhawks).

This is a team the Stars cannot afford to overlook.  Yes, they are the last-place team in the league.  Yes, they are 1-8-3 in their last 12 games.  Yes, they couldn't score in a monkey whorehouse with a pocket full of bananas.  However, the Stampede have a pretty respectable home record of 9-11-2 and have played the Stars tough on their home ice.  The Stars desperately need to break out of this road slump (they have not won a road game in 2012), but they have to take the Stampede seriously if they want the two points.

I'm planning on watching this game on FastHockey, so I hope to have a recap article up on the blog later on Wednesday evening.  Stay tuned for that.

Go Stars.

Brandon Bollig called up by the Chicago Blackhawks

MORRIS LAMONT/ The London Free Press
This news broke late last night, but I had to wait until this morning to post it because there wasn't an official press release to link to until today.

Former Stars forward Brandon Bollig was called up to the NHL Chicago Blackhawks today from the AHL Rockford IceHogs.  Click here to read more.

The Blackhawks traded their enforcer (John Scott) to the New York Rangers on Monday, and later that same day they brought up Bollig from their AHL affiliate in Rockford, IL.

Bollig played a total of 173 regular season games for the Stars over the course of three seasons from 2005-08.  In those 173 games for Lincoln, Brandon scored 73 points (37g, 36a) and accumulated 593 penalty minutes.  Bollig is the all-time leader in career penalty minutes for the Lincoln Stars.

Congrats to Brandon!  Very cool to see yet another former Stars player make the big show.  Just last week, former Stars forward Carter Camper (who was a teammate of Bollig's in 2006-07) made his debut with the NHL Boston Bruins.

Bollig was a huge fan favorite here in Lincoln, so I know there are a lot of Stars fans out there happy about this news.  Kick some ass at the next level, Brandon!  Good luck to you!

Edit: Video below of Bollig talking about being called up by the Blackhawks:

Monday, February 27, 2012

Carter Camper scores first NHL goal

Lost in the excitement of the weekend Stars games, former Lincoln standout Carter Camper scored his first NHL goal in only his third game with the Boston Bruins this past Saturday against the Ottawa Senators.  Great accomplishment by one of the most talented players to ever wear a Stars uniform.  Congrats to Carter!  Here's to many more goals with the Bruins.  Click play below to watch Carter's goal.

Snapshots of the Game: Lincoln vs. Tri-City 2/25

Sorry for the delay getting these pictures up on the blog.  I wanted to get them up yesterday but just ran out of time.  Thanks to Brandon Anderson and Carl Kacvinsky for allowing me to share some of their photos from the Tri-City game this past Saturday night.  Click here and here to view BA's website and Facebook page.  Click here and here to view Carl's website and Facebook page.

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

Ralfs Freiberg (#29) raises his hands after Bob Kinne (far right) scores in the second period

Dominik Shine named USHL Offensive Player of the Week

Lincoln Stars forward Dominik Shine was named "CCM USHL Offensive Player of the Week" by the USHL this afternoon.  Click here to read the official USHL press release.  Here's an excerpt from the article:

Shine scored eight points (4g, 4a) over three games to help the Stars earn five of six points in the standings.  He recorded a USHL career high five points (2g, 3a) in Tuesday’s 6-3 victory over Tri-City, which also equaled a USHL season high for points in a game.  The 18-year-old then collected three points (2g, 1a) in the 4-3 shootout win against Youngstown on Friday.  It extended his point streak to eight games and was the fourth time in a span of five contests that he had a multi-point game.  

Shine has been limited to 16 games this season due to injury but has put up 18 points (8g, 10a).  The third-year USHL forward from Pinckney, Michigan has registered 75 points (35g, 40a) in 122 career games.

Congrats to Dominik!  Very well deserved.  Shine has come back with a vengeance since returning to the lineup after having knee surgery earlier this season.  After going scoreless in his first three games back after surgery, Shine scored 16 points (7g, 9A) in the following eight games.  

You could tell Shine was working on improving his stamina early on, and it was just a matter of time before he started racking up the points again.  Shine and forward Kevin Roy have teamed up recently on the same line to score an impressive amount of points.  Nice to see Shine's hard work, both on and off the ice (rehab), get rewarded.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap 2/25: Lincoln 2, Tri-City 3 OT

Courtesy of Brandon Anderson Photography
One night after winning their sixth straight home game, the Stars lost their sixth straight on the road with a 3-2 overtime defeat to the Tri-City Storm in Kearney, NE.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the OT loss and the point, the Stars are now 26-14-4 (56 points) and are still in sole possession of second place in the USHL Western Conference.  Lincoln is three points behind the first place Omaha Lancers (59 points), but have two games in hand.  Click here to see the current USHL standings.


Despite outshooting the Storm by a whopping amount of 13-2 in the first period, it was the Stars who found themselves down 1-0 going into the first intermission.  Six seconds after a minor penalty to Jared Hanson expired, Joshua Henke scored for TC at the 17:04 mark to give the Storm their first goal of the game on only their second shot of the game.  Lincoln outplayed the Storm in just about every facet in the first period, but they could not solve TC goaltender Adam Wilcox, which would become a familiar theme for the game.

Just 50 seconds into the second period, a breakdown in the Stars' defensive zone allowed the Storm to score a quick goal and get a 2-0 lead.  TC forward Brian Ward scored the goal on the Storm's fourth shot of the game.  Four shots, two goals for the Storm.  Not a bad average.

Lincoln stormed back after the second Tri-City goal with two goals of their own to finish out the scoring in the second period.  First at the 4:56 mark of the second period, defenseman Ralfs Freibergs scored an even-strength tally on a goal-mouth rebound to pull the Stars to within one.  Logan Smith and Will Suter collected the assists on Freiberg's 8th goal of the season.

Later in the period, the Stars knotted the game up at 2-2 when forward Bob Kinne sniped a beautiful shot glove-high past TC goaltender Adam Wilcox.  Mike McKee earned the lone assist on Bob Kinne's fifth goal of the season.  At the end of two periods, the score was tied up at 2-2, and Lincoln led in total shots, 28-16.

In the third period, the Stars really put the pressure on the Storm and outplayed them by far, but neither team would score a goal.  Lincoln would outshoot the Storm 17-7 in the third period.

The turning point of the game came late in the third period when Stars forward Dominik Shine was whistled for a double minor high-sticking penalty.  Shine's high stick drew blood, so the Stars would have to kill four minutes of the penalty.

Lincoln did a great job of killing 2:55 worth of the penalty in regulation, when it was five-on-four.  TC barely sniffed at the net.  However, once regulation ended and the game went into overtime, the Storm then had a four-on-three situation on the ice.  TC had much more room and space to work with 4-on-3 in the OT session, and it was Brian Ward who capitalized with a very nice shot from the top of the faceoff circle which beat Stars goaltender Charles Williams glove-high.

Tough one to watch, for sure.  I really thought that the Stars would eventually win this game if they kept playing like they had earlier.  Lincoln simply ran into a hot goaltender last night.  If it wasn't for Adam Wilcox, the Storm probably would have lost the game 6-2.  Wilcox should have been given the first, second, and third stars of the game for his performance.

Tri-City gave up the puck numerous times in their own zone due to the pressure put upon them by the Lincoln forwards, and the Storm very rarely sustained offensive pressure in the Stars' zone.  For most of the night, the Storm skated in, got one shot off, the Stars got possession of the puck and Lincoln was going the other way.

Give credit to TC though for capitalizing on the PP opportunity late in the game to seal the victory.  They took advantage of the 4-on-3 situation and made the most of it.

The call on Shine was a good one, so I can't complain about that.  What is a little disappointing is that the Stars only had 24 seconds of powerplay time the ENTIRE game.  Yes, you read that correct.  24 seconds.  Granted, the referee (Andy Howard) kept his whistle in his pocket for most of the night, but there were a few non-calls on TC that should have been whistled.  I'm sure there were some plays that could have gone the other way too in favor of TC.  It is what it is.  All I know is that the Storm weren't angels all night.  You can't play hockey for 60+ minutes and only get called for one minor penalty (not counting the coincidental fighting majors).

The Stars will have one more chance at payback against the Storm on April 6th at the IceBox.  That will be the final time the two teams will meet in the regular season.  I'm sure the loss last night left the Stars hungry to battle the Storm again, but they'll have to wait until April for that.

The Stars will have to figure out how to win away from home pretty quick if they want to stay near the top of the western conference standings.  Five of their next six games are on the road, so hopefully the team can get that first road win of 2012 soon, and start a winning streak.

Lincoln will be busy this week with three games in four nights, the first coming this Wednesday against the Stampede in Sioux Falls, SD.  After that, the Stars will be back at the IceBox on Friday to play the Cedar Rapids Olympic Diving Team Roughriders.  On Saturday, the Stars will travel to Des Moines, IA to take on the Buccaneers.

Go Stars.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Snapshots of the Game: Youngstown vs. Lincoln 2/24

Thanks to Brandon Anderson and Carl Kacvinsky for allowing me to share some of their photos from the Youngstown game last night.  Click here and here to view BA's website and Facebook page.  Click here and here to view Carl's website and Facebook page.

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

Pregame festivities

B³ Postgame Recap 2/24: Youngstown 3, Lincoln 4 OT Shootout

Photo courtesy of CK Photography
The Lincoln Stars won their sixth straight game at the IceBox in dramatic fashion last night with a 4-3 come from behind win over the Youngstown Phantoms.  Late game heroics from Stars forwards Dominik Shine and Jared Hanson sealed the victory for Lincoln.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the win, the Stars improved to 26-14-3 (55 points) and are still in second place in the USHL Western Conference, two points behind the first place Omaha Lancers who have 57 points.  Lincoln has two games in hand over Omaha, however.

The Stars did not get out to a very good start at all in this game.  Before the first period was halfway done, Lincoln found themselves down 2-0.  The Phantoms, who entered this game with the second-worst powerplay in the USHL, scored two PP goals in the first half of the first period to take the 2-0 lead.

Brett Sheva was the referee last night, and judging from the crowd reaction after some of his calls (and missed calls), he wasn't very well appreciated by the Lincoln faithful.  Regardless, the Stars' PK unit did not do a good job at all in the first period to limit the amount of chances the Phantoms had on the PP.

Down 2-0 late in the first period, the Stars started to take over control of the game and peppered Phantoms goaltender Sean Romeo with shot after shot.  Finally, at the 14:54 mark of the first period, Kevin Roy lasered a beautiful pass from behind the goal line to Tommy Schutt in front of the net, and Schutt one-timed the puck past Romeo to pull the Stars to within one goal.  Roy and Dominik Shine picked up the assists on Schutt's 7th goal of the season.

Schutt's goal was huge for momentom's sake, and it gave the Stars some life going into the locker room for the first intermission.  Stars outshot the Phantoms 17-12 through the first twenty minutes.

The Stars used that momentum early in the second period to knot the game up at 2-2.  Just 52 seconds into the second stanza, Dominik Shine continued his hot-streak with an even-strength goal with assists going to (guess who) Kevin Roy, and Luke Johnson.  All of a sudden, the Phantoms lead had vanished and the Stars were dominating the play.

However, the Stars' PK unit, which has been their Achilles heel all season, allowed the Phantoms right back into the game.  At the 5:31 mark of the second, the Phantoms scored yet another PP goal to take a 3-2 lead. At that point in the game, the Phantoms were 3-for-4 on the PP, and it appeared that the Stars just didn't have an answer to Youngstown's PP unit.

Lincoln outplayed the Phantoms the rest of the second period, but they were unable to solve goaltender Sean Romeo.  Lincoln outshot Youngstown 13-10 in the second period, but found themselves down one goal going into the second intermission.

In the third period, the Stars came out very strong and completely dominated play for the final twenty minutes of regulation.  Lincoln goaltender Jackson Teichroeb was pretty lonely down on his end of the ice, as the Phantoms generated very little offensive chances.  The Stars outshot the Phantoms 15-4 in the third period, but they were not able to get that game-tying puck past Sean Romeo until very late in regulation.

With the Stars on a powerplay, and less than a minute remaining, Jackson Teichroeb was pulled for the extra-attacker, so the Stars had a 6-to-4 man advantage in the Phantoms zone.  Seconds were ticking down, and it appeared that Youngstown might sneak out of the IceBox with two points.  However, it was Dominik Shine once again who brought the near sellout IceBox crowd to their feet.  Shine accepted a pass from Kevin Roy just to the left of Sean Romeo, and one-timed the puck short-side into the open net to knot the game up at 3-3.  The IceBox went absolutely nuts.  Shine's goal, which came with only 23 seconds remaining, was assisted by Roy and Ralfs Freibergs.

After a scoreless 4-on-4 OT period, this game went to a shootout.  Jared Hanson, a player known for scoring huge goals, was the only player on either squad to score in the shootout to give Lincoln the 4-3 win over the Phantoms.  I'm going to post a video of Jared scoring that shootout goal below, so check it out.  Thanks to blog reader "tzweeb" for taking the video and letting me share it.

Stars outshot the Phantoms 47-29 overall.  Youngstown finished 3-for-5 on the powerplay, while the Stars went 1-for-5 with the man advantage.  Jackson Teichroeb stopped 26 of 29 shots to record his 15th win of the season.  Sean Romeo, who was Youngstown's best player of the game by far, stopped 43 of 46 shots in the losing effort.

If you weren't at the IceBox last night, you missed one heck of a game, and one hell of an ending.  Give credit to the guys on the team for never quitting last night, and fighting until the very end.  Due to a number of players out of the lineup, the Stars were shorthanded three players from the lineup, which makes the win even more impressive in my opinion.  Logan Smith and Zach Frye were out due to injury, Matt Friese out due to illness, and Brent Tate was out due to a one-game suspension.

In the Stars' last two games, both wins at home, they have scored a total of 9 goals in regulation.  Six goals this past Tuesday against the Storm, and 3 goals last night.  Dominik Shine has been on the ice and was awarded a point in 8 of those 9 goals.  2 goals and 3 assists this past Tuesday, and 2 goals and 1 assist last night.  So from the last nine goals scored by the Stars, Shine has 8 points (4g, 4a).

Shine is on an eight-game point scoring streak, with a total of 16 points (7g, 9a) scored in those 8 games.  Kevin Roy, who is riding a nine-game point scoring streak, has a total of 21 points (11g, 10a) in those 9 games.  Amazing numbers for sure.  Shine and Kevin Roy have teamed up to be an unstoppable duo for the Stars.

Lincoln is back in action tonight in Kearney to face off against the Tri-City Storm.  Puck drops at 7:05pm CST.  Tonight's game will be the rubber match in the three game "series" the teams have played this week.  Three games in seven days.  I'm sure by now that these two teams are tired of playing one another.  Could make for an interesting game tonight.  I'm planning on making the trip out there, and I'll try to give updates throughout the game from the B³ twitter account.  I hope to see a lot of other Stars fans there tonight.

Go Stars.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

B³ Weekend Preview: Youngstown and Tri-City


The Lincoln Stars will face off against an unfamiliar foe, and a very familiar foe this weekend when they take on the Youngstown Phantoms and the Tri-City Storm.  On Friday night at the IceBox, the Stars will host the Phantoms.  On Saturday night in Kearney, the Stars will battle the Storm for the third time in seven days.  The puck will drop at 7:05pm CST for both games.

If you can't make to the games this weekend in Lincoln and/or Kearney, you can follow the boxscores online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on KLMS 1480 AM, or watch the games on FASTHockey for a fee.

Lincoln enters this weekend with a record of 25-14-3 (53 points), and are in sole possession of second place in the USHL Western Conference.  The Stars are only two points behind the first place Omaha Lancers (55 points), and Lincoln has two games in hand.  Click here to see the current USHL standings.

First up this weekend for the Stars will be the Youngstown Phantoms (25-14-4, 54 points, fourth place in the USHL Eastern Conference).  This will be the first, and only time the Stars will face the Phantoms this season. You can thank the USHL for that, I guess.  I don't know about you guys, but I'm tired of seeing the same western conference teams at the IceBox.  I miss seeing more of the eastern conference teams.  I know the USHL is trying to cut travel costs down, but a little variety in opponents would be nice.

Although the Phantoms have struggled in the past two seasons since joining the USHL, this year they are playing much, much better.  In their first season in the USHL, the Phantoms went 20-36-4 in 2009-10 and finished in last place in the east.  The next season in 2010-11, Youngstown went 23-30-7 and finished in second to last place in the east.  This season, the Phantoms are one of the top teams in the USHL, thanks to head coach Anthony Noreen who was promoted from assistant coach to head coach before this season began.

If you weren't aware, the Youngstown Phantoms are owned by Bruce Zoldan who also happens to be CEO of "Phantom Fireworks," one of the largest fireworks distributors in the country.  Because of the owner's deep pockets, the Phantoms sport one of the coolest buses you'll see in junior hockey.  Click here to view a video the USHL recently posted about the Phantoms' bus.

The Phantoms and the Stars are two very similar teams in both records, and how they like to play the game.  They like to play an up-tempo game on offense.  Both teams are very, very physical.  Lincoln has a total of 1001 penalty minutes through 42 games, good enough for second-most in the USHL.  Youngstown has accumulated a total of 869 penalty minutes through 43 games which is good enough for third-most in the USHL.  On paper, this game looks like it could be a very fun one to watch live.

On Saturday night at the Viaero Event Center in Kearney, the Stars will knock heads once again with the Tri-City Storm (18-26-0, 36 points, seventh place in the USHL Western Conference).  This will be the seventh time this season the Stars and Storm will play one another.  Lincoln has a 4-1-1 record against the Storm in their six previous meetings.

Just last Saturday, the Stars were spanked by the Storm at the Viaero Event Center by a score of 8-3.  The blowout loss left a sour taste in the mouth of the Stars, and they took out their frustrations on the Storm this past Tuesday at the IceBox.

A quick side note, the Stars will be without the services of forward Brent Tate this Friday night due to a one-game suspension handed down by the USHL.  Tate was suspended due to the instigator minor, fighting major, and unsportsmanlike conduct game misconduct (say that fast five times in a row) he picked up late in the 6-3 victory over the TC Storm this past Tuesday at the IceBox.  After getting high-sticked in the face by Storm forward Brian Ward, Tate took exception and instigated a fight with Ward.  Brent will be back in the lineup Saturday night just in time to face the TC Storm again.  That could be another interesting game.  It wouldn't surprise me at all if Tate and Ward go at it again Saturday night.

Another quick statistical note:  the Stars are on a five-game home winning streak, and a five-game road losing streak.  If the Stars can figure out how to win away from the comfy confines of the IceBox, there's no doubt in my mind they can leapfrog the Omaha Lancers into first place in the west.

I'm really looking forward to the game against Youngstown tomorrow night at the IceBox.  It will be interesting to see how the Stars stack up against one of the top teams in the eastern conference.

Go Stars.

Snapshots of the Game: Tri-City vs. Lincoln 2/21

Much thanks go out to blog reader "Starstruck" for allowing me to share some of their photos from the Tri-City game this past Tuesday night at the IceBox.  It is much appreciated!

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

Postgame salute to the crowd

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A closer look at Kevin Roy's record-breaking season

It's no secret to any hockey fan living in Lincoln, NE that Kevin Roy is a very special player.  We've seen his incredible season develop game by game at the IceBox.

In his first (and only) season in the USHL, Roy has really made it look easy with the amount of points he has racked up against opponents thus far.

After scoring his third hat trick of the season last night, and adding one assist, Roy is heads and tails ahead of any other player in the USHL scoring race.

With 18 games remaining in the regular season, let's take a look at some of the records Kevin Roy could potentially break.

As of today (2/22/12), Kevin Roy has scored a total of 70 points (38 goals, 32 assists) through 42 games played.  That averages out to 1.67 points scored per game.  If Roy can keep up that pace for the last 18 regular season games, he will finish with 100 points (54 goals, 46 assists) through 60 games played.

Mind-numbing numbers for sure.  But how do those numbers stack up against some of the all-time record holders who have worn a Lincoln Stars uniform?  Let's take a gander.

Back in 2000-01, Stars forward Chris Fournier scored 83 points (26 goals, 57 assists) in 55 games played.  That averages out to 1.51 points per game for Fournier that season.  Roy only has to score 14 more points in his remaining 18 regular season games to break the record of most points by a Lincoln Stars player in one season.  I'd say that's doable.

How about most goals scored in a season by a Lincoln Stars player?  Well, we need to go back to the 2000-01 season once again to find the record holder.  Brandon Bochenski scored a whopping 47 goals in 55 games, which averages out to .85 goals scored per game.  Roy is currently averaging .90 goals scored per game.

Back in 2000-01, the USHL regular season was only 55 games long, whereas now it is 60 games.  So that means Kevin Roy could have five more games to break the record of 47.  As I mentioned above, at his current pace, Roy will score 54 goals and smash the old record of 47.  To just beat the record, Roy must score at least 10 goals in the next 18 games.  Again, very doable in my opinion.

Remember former Stars forward Jason Gregoire?  It wasn't too long ago that "Gregs" scored 37 goals in 54 games during the 2007-08 campaign.  Gregoire's 37 goals was good enough for second most goals scored in a season by a Stars player until yesterday when Roy scored his 38th goal on an empty net shot late in the Stars' 6-3 victory over the Tri-City Storm.

You ask, when was the last time a USHL player scored more than 50 goals in a season?  Or how about the last time a player scored 100 points or more in a season?

The last 50 goal scorer in the USHL was Jason Blake of the Waterloo Blackhawks, waaaay back in 1993-94.  Blake scored 50 goals in 47 games that season.

The last 100 point scorer in the USHL was Peter Fregoe of the Des Moines Buccaneers, back during the 1998-99 season.  Fregoe scored an amazing 103 points (46g, 57a) in 56 games played.

"Hey Yeti, how about the all-time USHL records for most goals and points in a season?"  Since you asked, Rod Taylor of the Sioux City Musketeers scored a record 67 goals during the 1986-87 season.  Tim Ferguson, also of the Sioux City Musketeers, scored an incredible 135 points during the 1985-86 season.  I wasn't following the USHL way back then, but I'm sure it was a much different league than it is now.

Unless Roy goes on a Wayne Gretzky-like tear during these last 18 games, I think the all-time USHL records for goals and points scored in a season are safe.

The USHL today posted an article about Roy's goal-scoring prowess, and how his 38 goals this season is already a new league-high in the 10-year era of Tier 1 hockey the USHL has been a part of, since the 2002-03 season.  Click here to read that article.

Okay, enough statistics.  What say you?  Where does Kevin Roy rank compared to some of the all-time greats that have worn a Lincoln Stars uniform?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap 2/21: Tri-City 3, Lincoln 6

The Lincoln Stars bounced back in a big way at the IceBox tonight with a gutsy 6-3 win over the visiting Tri-City Storm.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.  The win was Lincoln's fifth in a row at the IceBox.




With the victory and the two points, the Stars improved to 25-14-3 (53 points) on the season.  With Omaha's 6-3 loss to the Sioux City Musketeers tonight, Lincoln is now only two points behind the first place Lancers in the USHL Western Conference standings.  The Stars also have two games in hand over Omaha.  Click here to view the current USHL standings.

The Stars line of Kevin Roy-Dominik Shine-Luke Johnson was incredible tonight.  Roy finished with four points (3 goals, 1 assist), Shine had five points (2g, 3a), and Luke Johnson had three points (all assists).  Will Suter scored the other goal for the Stars tonight.

Stars finished 2-for-2 on the powerplay (only two powerplays, refs?  really?), while the Storm finished 2-for-4 with the man advantage.  Lincoln goaltender Charles Williams stopped 24 of 27 shots on goal to record his 11th win of the season.  CW3 is now 11-3-2 on the season.

If he keeps up his current pace of 1.67 points scored per game, Kevin Roy could finish the regular season with over 50 goals scored and 100 total points.  Incredible.  His second goal tonight was a beauty.  Dragged down from behind by a TC player, Roy still had enough left in him to snipe the puck past TC Storm goaltender Adam Wilcox.

I've got to get some shut-eye, but I'll try to update this article with a full recap sometime tomorrow.  Despite the two-referee system, there were a LOT of missed calls tonight.  If you listened to head coach Chad Johnson on the radio after the game, you heard him mention some of those bad calls, which is rare of him to do.  More on that tomorrow.

Enjoy the win tonight, folks!  Please leave a comment if you wish!

Go Stars.

Monday, February 20, 2012

B³ Pregame Report: Tri-City Storm vs. Lincoln Stars 2/21

Payback and two points will be on the minds of the Lincoln Stars Tuesday night when they host the Tri-City Storm at the Icebox.  The puck will drop at 7:05pm CST.

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

The Stars are in sole possession of  second place in the USHL Western Conference with a record of 24-14-3 (51 points), four points behind the first place Omaha Lancers.  Click here to view the current USHL standings.

The Tri-City Storm enter this game with a record of 18-25-0 (36 points), and are in seventh place in the USHL Western Conference.  This will be the sixth time the Stars and Storm will face one another in the regular season.  In their five previous meetings, the Stars have a 3-1-1 record and have outscored the Storm 22-18.

As I mentioned above, the Stars will be looking for some revenge Tuesday night against Tri-City.  Just a few days ago, the Storm put a butt-kicking on the Stars in Kearney by a score of 8-3 on Saturday, February 18th.  In that particular game, Tri-City forward Kenny Brooks scored three goals and the Storm chased Stars goaltender Jackson Teichroeb after four goals against.

The last time these two teams faced each other at the IceBox, the Stars won convincingly by a score of 7-0 on January 17th, which happened to be a Tuesday night game as well.  Stars forward Matt Friese, who played played six games for the Storm over the course of two seasons, scored two goals against his former team in that 7-0 shutout win for Lincoln.

Not surprisingly, Lincoln forward Kevin Roy has put up some amazing numbers against the Tri-City Storm this season.  In five games, Roy has scored 12 points (4g, 8a) against the Storm, while defenseman Ralfs Freibergs has accumulated 7 points (3g, 4a) in those same five games.

This should be a very interesting game.  After the 8-3 drubbing, I'm sure everyone on the Stars' roster were very eager to get right back on the ice.  They only had to wait a few games and even better, they get to play the very team that put a hurting on them.  I guarantee the Stars will come out tomorrow night with their hair on fire and play very aggressive.  I thought the Stars got away from their game last Saturday in Kearney, and didn't play the "in your face" style that has worked previously against the Storm this season.  I also didn't think they crashed the net enough and spent too much time on the perimeter and not down low in front of Storm goaltender Adam Wilcox.

After the game tomorrow night against the Storm, the Stars will be back at the IceBox this Friday night against the Youngstown Phantoms, and then yet another game against the Tri-City Storm on Saturday in Kearney.

Go Stars.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Snapshots of the Game: Lincoln vs. Tri-City 2/18

Thanks to Brandon Anderson for letting me share some of his photos from the Lincoln-Tri-City game last night in Kearney.  Check out Brandon's website and his "BA Photos" Facebook page for more photos.

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

Stars' bench

Saturday, February 18, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap 2/18: Lincoln 3, Tri-City 8

The Lincoln Stars lost their fifth straight road game in convincing fashion with a 7-3 blowout defeat to the Tri-City Storm in Kearney, NE.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.  Lincoln is now 0-4-1 in the last five road games, and have not won a game away from the IceBox since a 7-6 OT win in Des Moines way back on 12/30/11.  The Stars have been outscored 25-11 in their last five road games.

With the loss, the Stars fell to 24-14-3 (51 points) and are still in second place in the USHL Western Conference.  The Waterloo Blackhawks lost in overtime to the Dubuque Fighting Saints tonight, so they earned one point, and are right behind the Stars in the standings with 50 points.  Click here to see the current USHL standings.

I was able to catch this game on FastHockey, so my thoughts are below.  I know a lot of Stars fans made the trip out to Kearney tonight, so please leave a comment below if you were in attendance and you'd like to share your thoughts.  I'd love to hear from you.

Lincoln got out to a very early lead in this game when defensemen Paul LaDue scored just one minute in to give the Stars a 1-0 lead.  LaDue skated the puck into the TC zone and wristed a shot past Storm goaltender Adam Wilcox.  LaDue's ninth goal of the season was unassisted.  That would turn out to be the only time the Stars would lead in this game.

After the LaDue goal, the Storm took control of the game and scored five straight goals over the course of the first two periods to take a 5-1 lead.  Towards the end of the second period, Stars forward Zach Aston-Reese stopped the bleeding temporarily with a goal at the 17:19 mark.  Zach drove hard to the net and knocked in a rebound from a Dominik Shine shot past Wilcox to pull the Stars to within three goals.  Shine and Ralfs Freibergs earned the apples on ZAR's fourth goal of the season.

Stars found themselves down 5-2 at the second intermission.  Storm outshot the Stars 26-19 through the first two periods.  After Tri-City scored their fourth goal at the 6:46 mark of the second period, the Lincoln coaches pulled goaltender Jackson Teichroeb and replaced him with Charles Williams who finished the rest of the game.

It didn't get much better for the Stars in the third period as Tri-City outscored Lincoln 3-1 in the final twenty minutes.  Kevin Roy scored his USHL league-leading 35th goal of the season at the 9:37 mark for Lincoln with assists going to Jared Hanson and Matt Friese.  Storm added a meaningless empty-net goal late in the game to complete the scoring and seal the 8-3 victory.

Storm outshot the Stars overall, 34-28.  Jackson Teichroeb stopped 13 of 17 shots, and Charles Williams stopped 13 of 16 shots in the loss.  TC goaltender Adam Wilcox stopped 25 of 28 shots for the win.  Storm went 2-for-7 on the powerplay while the Stars were blanked going 0-for-3 with the man advantage.  Tri-City won the special teams war as well.

Obviously, this is one of those games the Stars can't dwell on.  Learn from it, and move on.  The Storm wanted it more tonight, and it showed.  Props to them.  Lincoln will get a chance at redemption here in a few days against this same Tri-City team when the Stars host the Storm on Tuesday (2/21) at the IceBox.  I'm sure we'll see the Stars play a much better game and hopefully add two points to their standings total.  Chin up!

Go Stars.

Snapshots of the Game: Sioux City vs. Lincoln 2/17

Thanks to blog readers "Starstruck" and Jeff White for allowing me to share some of their great photos from the Sioux City game last night at the IceBox.  Check out Jeff's "Depicted Image" Facebook page for more photos throughout the season.

Dominik Shine scores a powerplay goal early in the third period

Friday, February 17, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap 2/17: Sioux City 2, Lincoln 4

Will Suter scores his 2nd goal of the game
The Stars continued their hot play at the IceBox tonight with a 4-2 victory over the Sioux City Musketeers.  Click here to view the Poinstreak boxscore.  Lincoln has now won four in a row at home and have outscored their opponents 16-4 in those four games.

It was the "Will Suter Show" tonight at the IceBox as the Omaha native scored three goals to notch his first USHL hat trick.  Stars forward Dominik Shine got the "Gordie Howe hat trick" with one goal, one assist, and one fight.


Stars goaltender Jackson Teichroeb won his second in a row for the Stars by stopping 21 of 23 Sioux City shots to record his 14th win of the season.  Lincoln went 2-for-7 on the powerplay, while the Musketeers were 0-for-6 with the man advantage.

I will update this blog article with a full recap tomorrow when I have more time.  The Stars are back in action on Saturday night in Kearney, NE against the Tri-City Storm.  Puck drops at 7:05pm CST.  Enjoy the win tonight, folks.

Go Stars!

*Thanks to blog reader "Starstruck" for the picture above!  Click to enlarge.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

B³ Weekend Preview: Sioux City and Tri-City

It will be a "Tale of Two Cities" for the Lincoln Stars this weekend when the take on the Sioux City and Tri-City.  On Friday night at the IceBox in Lincoln, the Stars will host the Sioux City Musketeers.  On Saturday evening, the Stars will travel west to Kearney, NE to play the Tri-City Storm.  The puck will drop at 7:05pm CST each night.

If you can't make to the games this weekend in Lincoln and/or Kearney, you can follow the boxscores online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on KLMS 1480 AM, or watch the games on FASTHockey for a fee.

Lincoln enters this weekend with a record of 23-13-3 (49 points), and are in second place in the USHL Western Conference.  Click here to see the current USHL standings.

First up for the Stars will be the Sioux City Musketeers who have a record of 18-22-1 (37 points) and are in fifth place in the USHL Western Conference.  This will be the sixth time the Stars and Muskies will play each other this season.  In their previous five games, the Stars hold a 3-2-0 record against Sioux City.  In their last matchup, the Stars crushed the Muskies at the IceBox by a score of 6-2 on 1/13/12.  In that particular game, Stars defenseman Paul LaDue and forward Kevin Roy both scored two goals and added one assist each.

On Saturday evening, the Stars will battle the Tri-City Storm who have a record of 16-25-0 (32 points) and are in seventh place in the USHL Western Conference.  This will be the fifth time Lincoln and Tri-City will play each other this season.  The Stars are 3-0-1 in four games against the Storm this season and have outscored them 19 to 10.  Lincoln and Tri-City will become very familiar with one another in the next week.  Both teams will play each other three times in seven days starting on Saturday, February 18th in Kearney.  On Tuesday, February 21st the Stars will host the Storm at the IceBox for a rare mid-week game. Finally, on Saturday February 25th, Lincoln will once knock heads with Tri-City in Kearney.

As of late, the Stars are on a bit of a hot streak at home.  In their last five home games at the IceBox, the Stars are 4-1-0 and have outscored their opponents 27 to 5.  Lincoln has not given up a goal at home in their last two consecutive games.  The Stars' home record of 13-6-1 is tops in the USHL Western Conference.

On the injury front, the Stars will be without the services of forward Teemu for at least a month, and there is a possibility he may not return to the lineup at all this season.  Last weekend in Omaha on 2/10/12, Teemu was hit from behind by Lancers forward Ken Babinski.  The cheapshot by Babinski earned him a six-game suspension.  Teemu underwent facial reconstructive surgery this week to repair the damage done.  The Lancers and Stars don't play one another until March 30th (at the IceBox).  That could be a very interesting game if Babinski is in the Omaha lineup.

Sorry for the abbreviated weekend preview article, folks.  Just ran out of time tonight to get it up on the blog.  I hope to see yet another sellout crowd at the IceBox tomorrow night.  Lets hope the home cookin' continues with a big win against the Muskies Friday night.  I know a lot of Stars fans are planning on making the trek to Kearney for the game on Saturday, so I hope to get some game reports from those who made the trip.  Lets get four points!

Go Stars.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Confirmed: Stars-Lancers to play outdoor game in 2013

Courtesy of OmahaMavs.com
Edit:  I've updated this article to include a number of links and video.  See below.

It's a year away, but start planning!

Thanks to a very good source, I recently found out that the rumored outdoor game between the Lincoln Stars and the Omaha Lancers is a go.  It has not been announced yet by officials at UNO, but that should happen early this week.  There have been rumors of this outdoor game in the past which I've chronicled here and here on this blog.  Here are the details:

When:  Saturday, February 9th, 2013.  Stars vs. Lancers will start at 12:30pm CST.

Where:  TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, NE (artist's rendering of what TD Ameritrade Park will look like is pictured above)

How much:  Prices start at $30 per ticket which will get you into both games (Stars vs. Lancers and UND vs. UNO).  Tickets will be available for purchase on 10/1/12.

The Stars and Lancers will play first at 12:30pm CST.  At the conclusion of the USHL game, there will be a 45 minute break.  After that, the University of North Dakota will play the University of Nebraska-Omaha.  So essentially this will be a double-header.

This event will be called "Battles on Ice" and will be sponsored by Mutual of Omaha.  Tickets to this event will be available for purchase on October 1st, 2012 and they will be sold at the CenturyLink Omaha box office and Ticketmaster.

Click here to view the TD Ameritrade Park website.  The baseball stadium where the NCAA College World Series is held can hold 24,000 fans.

This should be a very fun event!  Maybe we could plan a big B³-Stars tailgate where a lot of Lincoln fans could gather before the game.  Hopefully the weather cooperates because February in Nebraska can get really nasty if it wants to.  

Roll call!  Sound off if you'll be there.  I can't wait!

2/14 Edit:  The official announcement was made today.  I'll update this article to include links to articles below.

Lincoln Stars article here.
USHL.com article here.
Omaha.com article here.
UNO Mavs article here.
UND Sports article here.
Omaha Lancers article here.

Stars' President Jim Pflug stated on 1480AM ESPN radio today that the organization will make special arrangements for season ticket holders to purchase tickets to this outdoor event.

Here's video from WOWT News out of Omaha.

Snapshots of the Game: Sioux Falls vs. Lincoln 2/11

Thanks to Jeff White and Brandon Anderson for letting me post some of their photos from the Sioux Falls game on Friday night.  Check out Jeff's "Depicted Image" Facebook page and Brandon's "BA Photos" Facebook page.

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

Markus McCrea celebrates after scoring his third period goal

B³ Postgame Recap 2/11: Sioux Falls 0, Lincoln 5

Jackson Teichroeb (courtesy of Jeff White)
An angry Lincoln Stars team bounced back from a tough OT loss on Friday night and took their frustrations out on the Sioux Falls Stampede with a 5-0 shutout win.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the win and the two points, the Stars improved to 23-13-3 (49 points) and are still in sole posession of second place in the USHL Western Conference.  Click here to see the current USHL standings.  Lincoln is now only four points behind the first place Omaha Lancers, and the Stars have two games in hand over Omaha.

The Stars got off to a very quick start against the Stampede with a goal from defenseman Paul LaDue just a little over three minutes into the game.  From my seat, it appeared that the point shot from LaDue was deflected in front of Stampede goaltender Jay Williams and it beat the goaltender five-hole.  Zach Aston-Reese and Brent Tate collected the assists on LaDue's goal.

The native of Grand Forks, ND wasn't finished scoring, however.  Just five minutes after scoring the first goal of the game, LaDue came down the ice on a shorthanded rush and wristed the puck past Williams to give the Stars a 2-0 lead.  Dominik Shine earned the lone assist on LaDue's first shorthanded goal of the season.  Great play by Shine to recognize he had a trailing LaDue behind him.

At the end of the first intermission the Stars had a 2-0 lead.  Sioux Falls outshot Lincoln 10-8 in the first twenty minutes.

In the second period, Stars forward Kevin Roy scored his 33rd goal of the season at the 16:18 mark of the period.  Roy's goal came on the powerplay, with assists going to Brent Tate and Jared Hanson.  Stars held onto a 3-0 lead going into the second intermission.  Sioux Falls outshot Lincoln 10-6 through two periods.

Up until the third period, I thought this game was VERY chippy.  You could tell the Stars were playing a bit angry after the OT loss the night before in Omaha against the Lancers.  There was also a lot of stickwork by the Stampede after the whistle that just made the Stars even more angry.  Things boiled over finally in the third period with four fights, and two more Lincoln goals.

Mike McKee of Lincoln first dropped the mitts with Sioux Falls' Ed McGovern at the 1:18 mark of the third period.  McKee continued to throw punches at McGovern after the linesmen attempted to break them up, and for that he was given an extra 10 minute misconduct.  From my seat it appeared that McKee may have accidentally punched a linesman in the face during the melee.

At the 4:36 mark of the third period, Kevin Roy netted his second goal of the game to give the Stars a 4-0 lead.  Ralfs Freibergs and Dominik Shine earned the assists on Roy's league-leading 34th goal of the season.  After the Roy goal, this game really started to get physical with three straight fights.

Brent Tate first fought Sioux Falls' Mark Solyankin at the 5:16 mark.  On the ensuing faceoff, Lincoln's Zach Aston-Reese dropped the mitts with Stampede forward Kyle Rankin at the 5:19 mark.  I'm sure Rankin immediately regretted this decision as he was KO'd by a nasty right hand from ZAR.  The fisticuffs ended at the 14:22 mark when Dominik Shine traded punches with Sioux Falls' Joeseph Lordo.  Shine and Lordo have some history with one another.  They fought each other twice last season as well.  Definitely some bad blood between those two.

Markus McCrea completed the scoring for Lincoln with a goal at the 17:32 mark of the period.  McCrea was the recipient of a great pass by Jared Hanson on an odd-man rush, and wristed the puck past Jay Williams.  Along with Hanson, Matt Friese collected the assist on sixth goal of the season.

Stars outshot the Stampede 19-7 in the final period, and overall 33-27.  Lincoln went 1-for-5 on the powerplay while the Stampede went 0-for-4.  Stars goaltender Jackson Teichroeb stopped all 27 shots to record his first win since 12/28/11.  It was also Teichroeb's second shutout of the 2011-12 season.  Stampede goaltender Jay Williams stopped 28 of 33 shots in the loss.

Nice to see the boys bounce back with a dominating effort after the OT loss the night before to the Lancers.  Although they are a last place team, the Stampede are a better squad than their record indicates.  I didn't think the Stars would take Sioux Falls for granted, so I was happy to see the team come together and play a full 60 minutes.

Three Lincoln players were held out of this game due to injury:  Brad Hawkinson, Logan Smith, and Teemu Tiitinen.  Stars forward Luke Johnson also did not play due to a one-game suspension handed down by the USHL after a spearing major he picked up in the Omaha game on Friday night.  Teemu Tiitinen was injured in that game due to a cheapshot from Omaha's Ken Babinski.  From what I heard, Tiitinen will be out a number of weeks due to multiple facial fractures.  Not good.  Hopefully Teemu can get healthy fast.  Babinski was only suspended one game for his hit from behind on Tiitinen.

Another sellout crowd (4,306) witnessed a crazy game at the IceBox last night.  I'm going to include links to the four fights below if you are interested in watching them.  Thanks to the Lincoln Stars Facebook fan page for posting them.  The audio is loud with these videos, so you might want to turn your volume down first before clicking on them.

Mike McKee vs. Ed McGovern
Brent Tate vs. Mark Solyankin
Zach Aston-Reese vs. Kyle Rankin
Dominik Shine vs. Joseph Lordo

Go Stars.

Snapshots of the Game: Lincoln vs. Omaha 2/11

Thanks to Brandon Anderson for letting me post some of his photos from the Omaha game on Friday night.  Check out Brandon's "BA Photos" Facebook page for more photos.

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

Stars celebrate a third period goal from Jared Hanson

Saturday, February 11, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap 2/10: Lincoln 4, Omaha 5 OT Shootout

Will Suter puts a beating on Omaha's Mark Miller
A third period comeback by the Stars earned them a point, but it was the Omaha Lancers who prevailed in the overtime shootout to beat Lincoln by a score of 5-4 at the Civic Auditorium in Omaha.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.  After winning six in a row against Omaha going back to last season, the Stars have now lost five in a row to the Lancers.

I was able to watch this game on FastHockey, so my thoughts are below.  I know a lot of Stars fans were in attendance last night, so I'd like to hear from as many of them as possible.  Please leave a comment below.

For the most part, the first period was pretty uneventful.  A total of six minor penalties were whistled in the first twenty minutes, with four of those were against Lincoln.  The Lancers, like they've done most of this season against the Stars, took advantage of their powerplay opportunities and scored the first goal of this game.  Kenny Morrison of Omaha scored from the point on a shot that got past a screened Charles Williams to give the Lancers at 1-0 lead at the 16:09 mark of the period.  Lincoln outshot Omaha 8-6 in the first period, but found themselves down 1-0 going into the first intermission.

In the second period, the game got a little out of control as the two teams combined for 16 penalties and 85 penalty minutes.  A total of four goals were scoring in the second period, two by each team, and every goal came on the powerplay.  Lincoln got on the scoreboard first in the second when Kevin Roy scored his league-leading 32nd goal of the game on the PP to tied it up at 1-1 at the 8:19 mark.  Luke Johnson and Ralfs Freibergs collected the assists on Roy's PP goal.

Roy's PP goal came because of a nasty check from behind by Omaha forward Ken Babinski on Stars forward Teemu Tiitinen at the 7:25 mark of the second period.  Tiititen, who looked like he lost an edge close to the boards, started to fall and Babinski pushed/elbowed the back of Tiitinen's head and drove it face first into the boards.  It was a very dirty hit and Teemu was obviously hurt after the play.  Dominik Shine of the Stars took exception to the cheapshot and dropped the mitts with Babinski immediately.  I heard some rumors that Teemu may have a broken orbital bone, and possibly a concussion.  Not good.  Babinski was given a boarding major and misconduct on the play.  Teemu did not return to the ice after the hit from behind.

The penalties against Lincoln came fast and furious after Roy's goal, and the Lancers took advantage by scoring two straight PP goals to take a 3-1 lead.  Sure, I'm a homer but a lot of the calls made by referee Brett Sheva looked to be very ticky-tack.  Some of the calls against the Stars were legit, and led to the two Omaha PP goals in the second period.  There just wasn't a lot of consistency from Sheva in my opinion.

Lincoln ended the scoring in the second period when Dominik Shine scored a PP goal at the 16:42 mark to pull the Stars to within one goal at 3-2.  Brent Tate and Ralfs Freibergs earned the assists on Shine's third goal of the season.  Shine's goal, like Roy's before, came on a rebound in front of Omaha goaltender Thatcher Demko.  Both teams had nine shots on goal in the second.

In the third period, the Stars dominated play and outscored the Lancers 2-1 to force overtime.  For Lincoln, it was pretty much the "Jared Hanson Show" in the third.  Hanson, who historically has a knack of scoring big goals (especially against the Lancers) scored two in the third including the game-tying goal with only 6:35 remaining in regulation.  Kevin Roy and Matt Friese collected the assists on Hanson's first goal of the third period which was scored at the 8:29 mark.  Tommy Schutt and Mike McKee earned the assists on Hanson's second goal of the period, which came on the PP, at the 13:25 mark.

Jared Hanson, who scored 9 goals in 53 games last season, now has netted 20 goals in only 33 games for the Stars this season.  Without a doubt, Hanson gets my vote for the most improved player on the team.  Hanson has a total of 33 points (20g, 13a) in 33 games played, is +21, and has scored three game-winning goals.  With the kind of season Kevin Roy is having, I think a lot of folks are forgetting Hanson and his efforts this season.

Lincoln outshot Omaha 14-6 in the third period, and 32-23 overall.  After a scoreless five-minute overtime period, this game went to a shootout.  Lincoln went 0-for-6 in the shootout, while the Lancers went 1-for-6.  Stars goaltender Charles Williams stopped 18 of 22 shots on goal in the loss.  Omaha netminder Thatcher Demko stopped 28 of 32 shots in the win.  Lincoln went 3-for-6 on the PP, while Omaha finished 3-for-9 on the man advantage.  I believe Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye said on the air last night that the Stars have given up a PP goal in 17 of their last 22 games.

Tough loss once again, but I thought the Stars were by far the better team at even strength last night.

The Stars will host the Sioux Falls Stampede tonight at the IceBox.  Time to bounce back in a big way and start a new winning streak.  Four of the next six games will be played at home, and those two away games will be in Kearney against the Storm.  Hope to see you all at the IceBox tonight!

Go Stars.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

B³ Weekend Preview: Omaha and Sioux Falls


The Lincoln Stars will play the first and last place teams in their division this weekend when they face off against the Omaha Lancers and the Sioux Falls Stampede.  On Friday night, the Stars will battle the Lancers at the Civic Auditorium in Omaha..  Saturday evening, the Stars will take on the Stampede at the IceBox in Lincoln.  The puck drops at 7:05pm CST for both games.

If you can't make to the games this weekend in Omaha and Lincoln,  you can follow the boxscores online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on KLMS 1480 AM, or watch the games on FASTHockey for a fee.

Lincoln enters this weekend with a record of 22-13-2 (46 points), and are in second place in the USHL Western Conference.  Click here to see the current USHL standings.

First up for the Stars this weekend will be their rival to the north, the Omaha Lancers (24-12-3, 51 points, first place in the USHL Western Conference).  The Lancers are 4-1-0 against the Stars this season and have won four in a row against Lincoln.  The last time the Stars were able to best the Lancers this season was way back on November 11th, 2011 when Lincoln beat Omaha at the IceBox by a score of 2-1.

Everyone is well aware of the last time these two teams faced one another.  Click here if you need to be reminded.  The Lancers won by a score of 3-2 in Omaha, but the game was marred by a line brawl and a goalie fight beatdown between Stars goaltender Jackson Teichroeb and Omaha goaltender Alex Lyon.  The two teams combined for 39 penalties and 194 penalty minutes.  It was the definition of a "gongshow."

According to the Pointstreak transactions page, both goaltenders (Teichroeb, Lyon) were suspended for one game, which they have already served.  However, according to this link, the two were suspended for two games, not one.  Here's the quote:  "Lyon and Lincoln goaltender Jackson Teichroeb will be unavailable for Friday's game with both players set to serve the second game of their two-game suspension stemming from the last head-to-head meeting between the Lancers and Stars back on January 21st."  At this point, I'm not sure what to believe.  Pointstreak says one thing, the link above says something else.  We'll find out soon enough which is true.

On Saturday, the Stars will return to the rowdy confines of the IceBox to host the Sioux Falls Stampede (12-21-3, 27 points, last place in the USHL Western Conference).  This will be the seventh time these two teams will face each other in 2011-12.  The Stars are 5-1-0 in the six games against the Stampede this season, although four of those six contests have been decided by only one goal.  Sioux Falls has not been able to beat Lincoln at the IceBox in three opportunities this season.

The Stampede decided to shake up their roster a bit this past week by making a trade with the Waterloo Blackhawks.  Basically, each team traded goaltenders with the last name of "Williams."  Stephon Williams of Sioux Falls was traded to Waterloo, and Jay Williams of the Blackhawks was sent to the Stampede.  I'm not sure which Stampede goaltender will start Saturday night at the IceBox.  Jay Williams is 1-0-2 against the Stars this season, but that came when he was with Waterloo.  That one win came at the IceBox back on 10/7/11.  Sioux Falls goaltender Charlie Lindgren is 0-1 against Lincoln, and has not started a game at the IceBox.  The numbers seem to favor Stampede head coach Kevin "Borat" Hartzell starting Jay Williams over Lindgren, but we'll see.

Before I sign off for the night, I wanted to quickly mention that the USHL announced today that the number of regular season games each team will play will increase by four next season.  Starting in 2012-13, each USHL team will play 64 regular season games instead of 60.  Click here to read more.  That means two more home games at the IceBox.  Personally, I think the schedule is already too long at 60 games.  I'd rather see the league remove a few games from the regular season schedule, and add more in the playoffs.  Actually give first round playoff teams an opportunity to host a game or two in their own barn.  Anyway, that's just my opinion.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Go Stars.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Roster news

Jonathan Grebosky
The USHL roster-freeze deadline was yesterday, and a number of teams made trades and roster additions.  The Stars made two moves that I'll hightlight below.  This information has been posted on the official Stars website.

First, the Stars sent forward Jonathan Grebosky to the Corpus Christi IceRays of the North American Hockey League (NAHL).  Grebosky will join former Stars defenseman Frank Misuraca on the IceRays' roster.  Stars affiliate forward Trevor Cope is also on the IceRays' roster.

Grebosky started the 2011-12 season for the Stars on the injured reserve list, and has since played 14 games scoring 3 points (2g, 1a).  Grebosky will be moved to the Stars' affiliate list, so there is a very good chance that he will play in Lincoln next season.  Good luck to Jonathan in Corpus Christie!

Vinni Lettieri
Secondly, the Stars have put affiliate forward Vinnie Letteiri on the regular roster.  Lettieri is a junior on the Minnetonka (MN) high school team, and is a former futures draft pick for the Stars.  Lettieri played two games for Lincoln this season, both back in November.  Vinni was called up to play two games over the course of a home weekend before he started his high school season at Minnetonka.  In those two games (both Lincoln wins), Lettieri scored two points (both assists) and was +2.  Through 21 games for Minnetonka this season, Lettieri has scored a whopping 51 points (20g, 31a).

Lettieri is expected to report to Lincoln after his high school team's season has concluded, which will probably be in March sometime.

Lettieri is a player I've highlighted a few times on this blog.  He is considered by many to be one of the top high school players in the state of Minnesota.  As a 16 year old, Lettieri committed to play hockey for the University of Minnesota.  His grandfather, Lou Nanne, is thought of by some to be the godfather of hockey in the state of Minnesota.  Nanne played over 600 NHL games for the Minnesota North Stars, and later was the team's general manager.  Nanne also played his collegiate hockey at the University of Minnesota.

There have been some rumors floating around that Lettieri is planning on skipping his senior season at Minnetonka next year to play full-time for the Lincoln Stars in 2012-13.  It's a good sign that the team brought him up from the affiliate list to the regular roster.  In my opinion, that shows that the team has talked to him and he's interested in playing here full-time next season.  This would be a huge pickup for the Stars.  Lettieri is definitely the real deal, and should provide a late-season spark to an already lethal Stars offense.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Logan Smith named USHL Defensive Player of the Week

The USHL came out with their weekly awards today, and awarded was Stars forward turned defenseman Logan Smith who was named "Defensive Player of the Week." 

 Click here to read the official press release from the USHL.  Here's an excerpt:

Smith collected two assists and recorded a plus-six rating for the Stars during their 7-0 win against Des Moines on Friday.  The plus-six was the highest plus/minus rating by a USHL player in a game this season and the highest mark in the League in over two seasons when it was last accomplished by defenseman Nick Jensen of the Green Bay Gamblers on January 30th, 2010.  

Smith is a 19-year-old native of Littleton, Colorado and has collected eight points (2g, 6a) in 21 games for the Stars this season, including four assists over his last four games.

It wasn't that long ago that Logan was playing forward for the Stars.  Due to some injures and suspensions to other defensemen on the team, Logan was asked by the coaches to play defense.  So far, so good!  Having played hockey myself, I think it's very impressive that Smith has been able to pick up the position that fast.  

Congrats to Logan!  Well deserved!