Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Taking a brief sabbatical

I just wanted to post a quick note and mention that I will be offline for the next week to ten days, so the blog will not be updated with any new material until then.

Mrs. Yeti and I are in the process of selling our current house and moving into a new house, so things are really hectic right now.  I'm not going to have any free time to devote to this blog, and I will most likely be without internet for a little while.


Some links to consider bookmarking for the upcoming weekend games:

Friday, November 30th:  Lincoln Stars at Omaha Lancers
Pointstreak boxscore

Saturday, December 1st:  Lincoln Stars at Sioux Falls Stampede
Poinstreak boxscore

Listen to the games online via 93.7 FM "The Ticket"

Watch the games online via FASTHockey.com

The plan is to be back online and posting articles next week sometime.  I'm hoping by then I'll be able to blog about Lincoln's wins over Omaha and Sioux Falls.

Sorry for any inconvenience.  I don't enjoy missing games, and I certainly don't enjoy moving.

Go Stars.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap: Lincoln 3, Dubuque 7

The Fighting Saints scored four goals in the third period last night in Dubuque, IA to beat the Lincoln Stars by a score of 7-3, and hand them their fifth straight loss.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the loss, the Stars dropped to 11-5-1 (23 points) and remain in third place in the USHL Western Conference.  Lincoln is now only two points out of fifth place and three points out of sixth place in the wild, wild west.  Click here to view the updated USHL standings.


Unfortunately, I paid the $ to watch this game on FASTHockey last night.  I'm not sure how detailed I want to get with this recap, so this will be short.  There's no sense in piling on and focusing on the negative.

The 7-3 score really doesn't show how close this game was for 50 minutes.  With about 10 minutes remaining in this game, the score was actually tied at 3-3.  Brent Wold's shorthanded goal scored in the third period tied the game at 3-3, and I figured the Stars would fight to win the game, or at least take it into overtime.  That didn't happen.

The Saints scored four goals in he last 10 minutes of this game to roll past the Stars and give them their most lopsided loss of the season.  I'm not sure what happened late in the game, but like Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye said, "the wheels have completely fallen off."

Jackson Teichroeb gave up six goals, but I honestly don't think he played that bad.  Yes, he did take some undisciplined penalties.  He didn't help out his team much in that regard.  But he also wasn't getting much help and was hung out to dry a number of times due to turnovers in front of him.  I'm sure he was frustrated.  I'm sure he wanted to get that first win against his former team.

Stars captain Dominik Shine did not play in this game, and I'm not sure why he didn't play at all this weekend.  Is he injured?  Or was it an internal suspension handed down by the team?  I'm in the dark, so if someone out there knows, please leave a comment below.

The sun came up this morning, so I'm not going be a negative nancy.  Lincoln is still a 11-5-1 team, and they still have a ton of talent.  You don't win 10 games in a row in this league and not have tons of potential.  They've proven they can play and beat some of the best teams in the league.  I can't explain why right now they look and play like a different team than the squad that won 10 in a row.  I'm sure the players are just as confused. We just have to support this team while they try to turn this around.

It will be interesting to see what changes if any the coaches will make this week in terms of coaching philosophy or changes to the roster.  Their PP unit is plain bad.  The slow first period starts are becoming more and more frequent.  Lately, the defense is allowing numerous odd-man rushes per game.  I lost count last night of how many off-man rushes Lincoln gave up.  There's certainly room for improvement.

Whatever they've been doing the past few weeks isn't working.  Lincoln's next game is Friday night in Ralston, NE against the red-hot Omaha Lancers.  I'm sure the Stars don't want to lose two in a row to their arch rivals and fall further in the standings.

I've been slacking a bit with posting pictures from the last couple of home games, so I hope to find time later today to do that.  In the meantime, I'd love to hear your comments.  You do not need to register to leave a comment below.

Keep the faith!  Go Stars.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap: Lincoln 2, Chicago 4

The Lincoln Stars fell behind early to the Chicago Steel Friday night and could never recover, losing 4-2 at the Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville, IL .  The loss was Lincoln's fourth straight, and their fifth in their last six games.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the loss, the Stars fell to 11-4-1 (23 points) and are still in third place in the USHL Western Conference.  Click here to view the updates USHL standings.


I was able to watch this game on FASTHockey, so I'll post my thoughts below.  Unfortunately, FASTHockey did not have Mike Melbye's feed available, so all of us watching online had to listen to the Chicago announcers, or try to listen to radio feed which did not synch up with the FASTHockey feed.  Listening to other announcers makes me appreciate what we have here in Lincoln.  Melbye is a great play-by-play announcer, and it was not fun listening to the Chicago announcers scream throughout the game.

Much like the Omaha game this past Wednesday, the Stars came out very slow against the Steel.  I'm not sure why the Stars can't get motivated in the first period, but it's a problem I've seen in more than a few games this season.  Before the Stars could wake up, the Steel put two goals up on the scoreboard and would never trail in this game.

Down 2-0 in the second period, the Stars would get some life thanks to Brad Hawkinson's PP goal (yes, a powerplay goal!) at the 6:37 mark of the period.  Paul LaDue set the play up nicely, passing across the crease to Hawkinson who simply tapped it into the open net.  LaDue and Jake Wood picked up the assists on Hawk's fifth goal of the season.  Hawkinson only had 1 goal in 46 games last season, so he's off to a very good start this season.

The Steel would answer with their third goal of the game later in the second period to take a 3-1 lead.  Lincoln would again show some life late in the second period when Daniel Willett scored to pull the Stars to within one goal.  Luke Johnson and Eric Scheid collected the assists on Willett's second goal of the season, which was scored at the 16:46 mark of the second period.  Unfortunately, this would be as close as the Stars would get to the Steel Friday night.

The Stars would show some life in the third period, but they were unable to put any pucks past Chicago goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos (Sak).  The Steel would add an empty-net goal very late in the game to complete the scoring.

Stars outshot the Steel 33-23, but lose 4-2.  Although they had 10 more shots than the Steel, I thought a lot of those 33 shots came from the perimeter and not in slot or tough areas in front of the Chicago net.  Sak stopped 31 of 33 Lincoln shots to record his eighth win of the season.  Lincoln goaltender Michael Bitzer stopped 19 of 22 in the loss.

This was a very strange game to watch.  There were good stretches of the game that the Stars took control and peppered Sak with shot after shot.  Then there were large parts of the game in which the Stars stood around and watched the Steel play.  The sense of urgency just wasn't there.  It certainly wasn't a game the Stars played the entire 60 minutes, and the Steel did enough to deserve the win.

The Stars had a very good opportunity late in the third period to tied the game up at 3-3 thanks to a couple of penalties called against the Steel, but Lincoln's powerplay woes continued.  Lincoln had 17 seconds of a 5-on-3 and a long 5-on-4 powerplay that were stuffed by the Steel.  The Stars have scored only 5 powerplay goals in 53 opportunities this season.

A good friend of mine who is a Steel fan was at the game last night and I'm going to post his thoughts below:

I was expecting a helluva lot more from the Stars. They weren't bad, but not what I expected from a club that came in 11-3. They didn't win many puck battles, were beaten to most pucks, didn't show much speed and generally didn't look too dangerous. Tough to say what the deal was with them whether it was holiday hangover, bus legs or what... I'll get a better feel after I see them in Dubuque tomorrow.

My favorite Star tonight was #26 Wood. Kid was fast, aggressive, made plays, showed IQ. Now I have a chance to look him up he's a 93 and has 12 points and is a +3. .. Nice player.

Bitzer is smaller than I thought. He fought the puck in the 1st period, as did Sak. Both goalies were off in the 1st, but settled in nicely... Wish I had more thoughts on Stars players, but there wasn't much that stood out.

First period was sloppy for both clubs. Lotta poor passes and turnovers, but the Steel had the better of play. No flow at all. 2nd period was a good one with both clubs tightening up and getting solid chances, each team netting 2 goals each. Following the Stars I figured they come out flyin down a goal in the 3rd, and they pretty much did. From the 12:00 mark to 6:00 they had the play the whole time in the Steel end, of course they had just short of 4 minutes consecutive PP time. But not too many high quality chances. they did outshoot the Steel in the 3rd, 11-6 but couldn't get the equalizer.

It gets no easier for the Stars as they will face the Dubuque Fighting Saints in Dubuque, IA tonight.  The Saints are the top team in the USHL right now and are undefeated (8-0-0) at home this season.  As I said on Twitter last night, we just have to keep the faith that the Stars can get this turned around quickly.  I'm hoping that starts tonight.

Go Stars.

Friday, November 23, 2012

B³ Weekend Preview: Chicago and Dubuque


The Lincoln Stars will hop on the bus and spend Thanksgiving weekend on the road as they face the Chicago Steel on Friday, and the Dubuque Fighting Saints on Saturday.  The puck will drop at 7:30pm CST Friday night in Chicago, IL, and at 7:05pm CST Saturday night in Dubuque, IA.

If you'd like to follow the road games this weekend, you can check out 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 11-3-1 (23 points), and are third place in the USHL Western Conference.  After spending most of the season in first or second place, the Stars have dropped down to third place after losing three of their last four games.  Despite dropping to third place, Lincoln's winning percentage of .767% is still tops in the western conference.  Click here to view the updated USHL standings.

The Steel have a record of 8-6-1 (17 points), and are in fourth place in the USHL Eastern Conference.  Unfortunately, this will be the only time the Steel and the Stars will play against each other this season.  The Steel will not make an appearance at the IceBox this season.  The Stars get the Omaha Lancers 10 times in 2012-13, and certain eastern conference teams only once.  There's something really wrong about that.

The Steel will be missing some key players from this game due to suspension.  Last Saturday, the Steel faceoff against Team USA U-18, and the game turned into a gong-show in the third period.  Click here to view the boxscore from that game, and check out the penalties called in the third period.  Wow.  A total of 198 penalty minutes were called, and multiple suspensions were handed out by the league afterwards. So the Steel will be without defenseman Joel Benson, and forwards Tyler Hill and Christian Heil (Chicago's leading goal scorer).

Like prior seasons, the 2012-13 edition of the Chicago Steel is a team that can score a lot of goals, but can give up a lot of goals.  The Steel are giving up about 3.5 goals per game on average, and scoring about 3.3 per game.  Chicago is also giving up a large amount of shots per game, over 38 on average.  Conversely, the Stars are only giving up an average of 28 shots on goal per game.  So unless something changes dramatically, the Stars should get plenty of chances tonight to put the puck into the net.

The Fighting Saints have a record of 15-2-1 (31 points), and are in first place in the USHL Eastern Conference.  This will be the last time the Stars and Fighting Saints will play against one another this season.  In their only other meeting, the Saints beat the Stars by a score of 3-2 at the IceBox a week ago on 11/16.  In that game, the Saints took advantage of a fluke bounce in the third period to score the eventual game-winning goal.  Lincoln played very well in the loss that night, and probably deserved at least one point.

The Saints are considered by many to be the best team in the USHL right now, and their winning percentage of .861% is proof of that.  They are very, very strong at every position and play better team defense than any club in the USHL.  Beating this team in Dubuque will be very tough, especially considering the Saints are undefeated (8-0-0) in eight home games this season.  Unfortunately for the Stars, the Saints do not play Friday night, so they will be plenty rested for the tilt on Saturday night in Dubuque.

As far as I know, the Stars are pretty healthy right now and will not have any players out of the lineup due to suspension.  Stars captain Dominik Shine served his one-game suspension this past Wednesday at the IceBox in Lincoln's 4-3 OT loss, so he'll be back in the lineup this weekend.  Stars forward Jimmy DeVito, a Chicago native, will be going back home this Friday night to face his former team.  DeVito played two seasons for the Steel, so I'm sure he's pumped to face his former team and prove to them they never should have traded him to Lincoln.

I plan on watching both of these games on FASTHockey, so I'll report back here with my thoughts.

Go Stars.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap: Omaha 4, Lincoln 3 OT Shootout

Courtesy of Shooting Star Photos
Despite outplaying the Omaha Lancers for 40 minutes, the Lincoln Stars lost 4-3 in the overtime shootout tonight at the IceBox.  The win was Omaha's fifth in a row, while the loss was Lincoln's third in a row.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the loss, the Stars dropped to 11-3-1 (23 points) and are in second place in the USHL Western Conference.  Click here to view the updated USHL standings.

Lincoln came out sluggish and played what I thought was one of their worst periods this season in the first twenty minutes.  The Stars looked slow, disinterested, and asleep.  On the other side of the rink, the Lancers were swarming all over the Stars and capitalized by scoring twice.

Omaha got two quick goals in the first period before Brad Hawkinson of the Stars scored to give the Stars some life going into the first intermission.  Omaha led 2-1 after one period.  I thought the Stars were VERY lucky to be down only one goal after the first period.

In the second period, the Stars did a 180 and completely outplayed the Lancers in all facets.  Lincoln outshot Omaha 21-6 in the second period, and outscored them 2-0.  Scoring for Lincoln in the second was Paul Ladue and Vinni Lettieri.  Lettieri has now scored a goal in four straight games, and has had at least one point in his last seven games.  He's been Lincoln's best forward the past couple of weeks.

In the third, the Lancers knotted the game up at 3-3 with their second powerplay goal of the game.  The Stars outplayed the Lancers once again in the third period, outshooting them 10-5, but Lincoln was not able to solve Omaha goaltender Alex Lyon.  The Stars outshot the Lancers 41-20 through three periods.

Neither team would score in the five-minute overtime period, so this game would go to the shootout.  Two Lancers would score in the shootout compared to only one for Lincoln.  Omaha escapes the IceBox with a giftwrapped win and the two points.

Stars goaltender Michael Bitzer stopped 19 of 22 shots in the loss.  Lancers goaltender Alex Lyon stopped 39 of 42 in the win.  Without Lyon's heroics, the Lancers would have easily been blown out in this game.  Omaha went 2-for-5 on the powerplay, while the Stars went 0-for-2 with the man advantage.  Lincoln's powerplay unit at this point in the season is anemic....to say the least.

This will sound like sour grapes because the Stars lost tonight, but this was one of the worst officiated games I've seen at the IceBox in a long time. Too much holding, hooking, slashing ignored by the refs which resulted in the line brawl in the 3rd period.  When calls that should be made aren't, the game turns unstable.  How TWO refs lose control of a game is beyond me.

The Stars will hit the road and travel to Chicago to face the Steel this Friday night.  On Saturday, they'll be in Dubuque, IA to face the Fighting Saints.  Not much of a Thankgiving break for the players.  I assume they'll spend Turkey Day on a bus.

I'm going to post video of the shootout below, courtesy of blog contributor Mike Burda.

If you'd like to leave a comment below, please do so!  Am I crazy for thinking this game was horribly officiated?  Should the last Omaha shootout goal count because the player fell down?

Wishing everyone out there a Happy Thanksgiving!  Hoping that you all get to spend some quality time tomorrow with friends and family.  I'm extremely thankful for all of the readers of this blog.  Your patronage is always appreciated.

Go Stars.

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.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Congrats to Eric Scheid!

Late last night, the Lincoln Stars' Twitter account announced that forward Eric Scheid has committed to play college hockey next season at Penn State University.  Click here to read the tweet.

Scheid becomes the first player in Lincoln Stars franchise history to commit to Penn State University's newly fledged Division 1 hockey program.

Click here to read more about Scheid's commitment from the "Thank You Terry" Penn State hockey blog.  Click here to read an article from the Western College Hockey Blog.

Through 13 games for the Stars this season, Scheid has accumulated 14 points (7g, 7a) and is +15.  Eric's plus/minus rating of +15 leads the entire USHL.  Without a doubt, Eric is a big reason why the Stars started the season with a ten-game winning streak and have been at the top or near the top of the USHL western conference standings.

This is Eric's second season in Lincoln, as the native of Coon Rapids, MN played the 2010-11 USHL campaign with the Stars.  During that season, Eric scored 36 points (15g, 21a) in 57 games before committing to play college hockey for the University of Alaska-Anchorage.

After leaving Lincoln at the end of the 2010-11 season, Scheid played one season at UAA before deciding that he wanted to make a change to a different school.  Eric left UAA after his freshman campaign and came back to Lincoln to play one last season of USHL hockey.  Because he played one season of collegiate hockey with UAA, Scheid will begin at Penn State in 2013 as a sophomore.

As I mentioned above, Eric becomes the first player from the Lincoln Stars to ever commit to the Penn State University hockey program.  Thanks to billionaire Terry Pegula, a PSU grad, an 88 million dollar donation was made in 2010 to construct a new hockey arena for both the mens and womens Penn State hockey programs.  Later in 2010, it was announced that Penn State would move from club hockey status to NCAA Division 1, starting the 2012-13 season.  The Penn State mens and womens hockey teams both operate as independent clubs this season.

Beginning the 2013-14 season, Penn State will join five other Big Ten schools to form the inaugural Big Ten Hockey Conference.  Their new 88 million dollar arena will also be open beginning next season.  Although they may be the new kids on the block, there is obviously a lot of money being funneled into the hockey programs at Penn State, which is very exciting if you're a Penn State hockey fan or a PSU player.

Congrats to Eric!  Very well deserved.

Friday, November 16, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap: Dubuque 3, Lincoln 2

The Lincoln Stars lost a heartbreaker tonight at the IceBox, falling 3-2 to the Dubuque Fighting Saints.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the loss, the Stars dropped to 11-3-0 (22 points) and are still tied for first place in the USHL western conference.  The Waterloo Blackhawks, who were tied with the Stars coming into this weekend, also lost tonight.  Click here to view the current USHL standings.


Tough game to lose, but I thought the Stars played very well overall.  The players have no reason to be disappointed with their effort.  They battled all night against the top team in the USHL and lost because of a fluke goal.  Late in the third period with the score tied up at 2-2, after a dump-in by the Saints, the puck took a crazy bounce off the zamboni door and deflected to a wide open Dubuque player who put it into the open net.

Scoring for the Stars tonight was Jake Wood and Vinni Lettieri (both goals were scored in the second period).  Jackson Teichroeb stopped 28 of 31 in the loss.

The Fighting Saints went 1-for-5 on the powerplay while the Stars went 0-for-3 with the man advantage.

This game definitely had a playoff feel to it.  Both teams traded punches like a heavyweight title fight.  I just wish it wasn't decided on a crazy bounce.

The Stars will be back in action next Wednesday night (Thanksgiving eve) at the IceBox against the Omaha Lancers.

Go Stars.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

B³ Pregame Report: Dubuque Fighting Saints vs. Lincoln Stars

Clash of the Titans!

The Lincoln Stars will play only one game this weekend, but it's a BIG one.  Friday night at the IceBox, the Stars will play host to the eastern conference Dubuque Fighting Saints, the top team in the entire USHL.

Arguably, this will be a battle between the top two teams in the USHL right now.  In terms of winning percentage, Dubuque and Lincoln are #1 and #2 in the league, respectively.  Both teams are in first place in their conferences.

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 11-2-0 (22 points), and are tied for first place in the USHL Western Conference with the Waterloo Blackhawks who are 11-3-0.  Click here to view the updated USHL standings.

The Fighting Saints have a record of 13-1-1 (27 points), and are in first place in the USHL Eastern Conference.  This will be the first of two games the Stars and Fighting Saints will play against one another this season.  Lincoln will travel to Dubuque to wrap up the mini two game series on Saturday, November 24th.

Like the Stars, the Fighting Saints were undefeated (8-0-0) in the month of October.  Both of their losses (one in OT) have come on the road, and neither loss was by more than one goal.  Without a doubt, the Fighting Saints are the best team in USHL right now.  As good as the Stars have played to start the season, the Fighting Saints have played even better.  When you break some basic numbers down, both teams are very similar in some regards:

Dubuque winning percentage:  .900%  (#1 in USHL)
Lincoln winning percentage:  .846%  (#2 in USHL)

Dubuque:  54 goals scored in 15 games played (3.60 average per game)
Lincoln:  49 goals scored in 13 games played (3.76 average per game)

Dubuque:  25 goals against in 15 games played (1.67 average per game)
Lincoln:  28 goals against in 13 games played (2.15 average per game)

No team in the USHL plays better team defense than the Dubuque Fighting Saints...and it's not even close.  The Saints have surrendered a total of 326 shots against in 15 games played, which is an average of 21.7 shots per game.  That's an incredible number.  In comparison, the Stars have given up a total of 366 shots on goal in 13 games played, which is an average of 28.2 shots per game.  To say the Saints are stingy in terms of shots against is an understatement.  They've only been outshot in one game this season.

It's not all about offense in Dubuque, as the Saints have a very potent offense including one of the top forwards in the USHL right now in Mike Szmatula.  Szmatula, who was named USHL offensive player of the week a few days ago, is on a huge tear right now having scored 10 points (5g, 5a), in his last three games.  Through 15 games played, Szmatula has racked up a total of 25 points (13g, 12a) and is +12.  Szmatula is currently the leading scorer in the USHL.  I've been told by Dubuque fans that I know that Szmatula is one of the most talented offensive players Dubuque has had since they entered the league in 2010.

The game Friday at the IceBox marks the return of former Stars defenseman Brandon "Fear the Beard" Carlson who plays both defense and forward for the Dubuque Fighting Saints.  Carlson played 50 regular season games for the Stars last season while accumulating 11 points (all assists) and 71 penalty minutes.  Through 14 games with the Fighting Saints, Carlson has four points (2g, 2a) with 38 penalty minutes.  Last weekend in Dubuque's 5-1 win over Muskegon, Brandon racked up 3 points (2g, 1a) and a fighting major to complete the "Gordie Howe hat trick."

Carlson was a victim of the USHL overager rule where teams can roster only four players born in 1992 this season.  The Stars chose to protect overagers Jackson Teichroeb, Paul LaDue, Will Suter, and Eric Scheid, so Carlson and a few other players born in '92 (Markus McCrae, Bob Kinne, Logan Smith) from last season were left to look elsewhere to play USHL hockey this season.  I'm hoping Brandon is in the starting lineup this Friday at the IceBox so all the fans can give him a good round of applause for his time in Lincoln last season.  From what I've been told, he was a very popular player in the locker room and I know for a fact he was a fan-favorite last year.

The Stars will finally have a full roster this Friday as Luke Johnson, Justin Woods, and Michael Bitzer are back in the lineup after winning gold for Team USA at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge.  I'm not sure what the coaches have planned, but since goaltender Jackson Teichroeb has been getting so many starts as of late, I'd assume Bitzer will get the nod this Friday against Dubuque.  As far as I know, there are no major injuries or league suspensions the team is dealing with right now.  Forward Michael Bunn is still on the injured reserve list, but he could finally get back on the ice later this month.

This will be a huge test for the Stars, and should be a great matchup between two quality teams.  I imagine the Stars will be pretty fired up for this game considering they are coming off a disappointing 5-2 road loss last Saturday to the Sioux Fall Stampede.  I'm sure they've been worked hard in practice this week and are looking forward to getting back on the ice to prove themselves against the top team in the USHL.

Get your tickets now if you don't already have them because this will be one heck of a game.  Also, the Stars will be wearing specially designed pink jerseys Friday night to benefit the American Cancer Society.  The annual "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Jersey Auction" will be held after the game when the game-worn jerseys will be up for auction.  Make sure you stick around after the game for the auction and donate some bucks to a great cause.

Go Stars.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Will Suter on KOLN/KGIN 10/11

Check out Stars alternate captain Will Suter on Channel 10/11 this morning talking about "Movember" and raising awareness for mens health.  Great to see the players join together in this cause, even if their mustaches are looking pretty creepy right now. :)  I'm doing "No Shave November" this month only because Mrs. Yeti won't allow me to do "Movember."  The mustache creeps her out.  Anyway, click play below to watch the video!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Johnson, Woods, Bitzer help Team USA win Gold

Quick article to congratulate Lincoln players Luke Johnson, Justin Woods, and Michael Bitzer for helping Team USA win gold tonight at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Team USA beat Canada West by a score of 6-3 tonight in the championship game.  Luke Johnson had one assist.  Click here to view the boxscore.

Luke, Justin, and Michael will be back in the lineup for Lincoln this Friday night at the IceBox.  Congrats again to all three players and Team USA!  What an honor to win gold for your country! USA! USA! USA!

Woods, Bitzer, and Johnson celebrate winning the gold!

B³ Postgame Recap: Lincoln 2, Sioux Falls 5

The Lincoln Stars ran into a buzzsaw Saturday night in Sioux Falls, SD and were beaten soundly by the Stampede by a score of 5-2.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the loss, the Stars dropped to 11-2-0 (22 points) and are once again tied with the Waterloo Blackhawks for first place in the USHL Western Conference.  The Sioux Falls Stampede are now only two points behind the Stars and the Blackhawks in the standings.  Click here to view the updated USHL standings.

This is going to be a short recap.  The video feed on FASTHockey from Sioux Falls Arena was pretty bad, and the game itself wasn't the most fun to watch.  I don't really want to spend a lot of time on this recap because of that.

Sioux Falls scored the only goal in the first period and never trailed after that.  The Stars scored both of their goals in the second period with tallies from Tommy Schutt (PP), and Vinni Lettieri.

The shots through three periods was almost even at 28-27 in favor of Lincoln, but the Stampede dominated this game from beginning to end.  I'm surprised the shots weren't more in Sioux Falls' favor.

The Stars did not play with the sense of urgency that I saw from the Stampede.  It's not often that the Stars get pushed around and outscored in the same game, but that's what happened last night.  Sioux Falls definitely played like they wanted it more.

I don't think Jackson Teichroeb played that bad considering he gave up five goals.  His teammates left him out to dry all game long.  It could have been a lot worse if it wasn't for Teichroeb.

Stars leading scorer Eric Scheid did not dress for this game.  I've been told that he suffered a shoulder injury late in the game Friday night against Cedar Rapids.  I do not know how long Scheid will be out of the lineup.

It was an ugly effort, but it's one game.  No sense in hitting the panic button.  The Stars were without a number of key players last night, and played a red-hot team that is now 8-1-0 at home.  Learn from the mistakes, have a great week of practice, and get ready to play the Dubuque Fighting Saints at the IceBox next Friday.  The Saints are 12-1-1 and are the top team in the USHL Eastern Conference.  Big test for both teams.

Note:  Luke Johnson, Justin Woods, Michael Bitzer, and the rest of Team USA will play for the gold medal later today against Canada West in the 2012 World Junior A Challenge.  The puck will drop at 5:30pm CST and will be broadcast for free via FASTHockey.com.  Go USA!

Go Stars.

Snapshots of the Game: Cedar Rapids vs. Lincoln 11/9

Sorry for the delay getting these pictures up.  It's been a busy weekend.  Much thanks to Starstruck for letting me share their photos from the Cedar Rapids game from Friday night.  Make sure you check out Starstruck's "Shooting Star Photo" Facebook page.  If you're on Facebook, make sure you "Like" their page so you can be updated throughout this season with their work.

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

Salute to the crowd

Saturday, November 10, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap: Cedar Rapids 0, Lincoln 5

Courtesy of Shooting Star Photos
Streak snapped!

With their 5-0 shutout win at the IceBox last night, the Lincoln Stars snapped a seven-game home losing streak to the Cedar Rapids Roughriders that dated back five years.  The last time the Stars beat the 'Riders at the IceBox was October 26th, 2007.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

Simply put, it was a dominating 60-minute effort from start to finish for the Lincoln Stars.  I'm not sure the Roughriders knew what hit them.

With the win and the two points, the Stars improved to 11-1-0 (22 points) on the season and thanks to Waterloo's 6-1 loss to Omaha last night, Lincoln is now all alone in first place in the USHL Western Conference.  Click here to view the updated USHL standings.

Before the 'Riders could get accustomed to the atmosphere at the IceBox, Dominik Shine scored Lincoln's first goal just 46 seconds into the game to give the Stars an early 1-0 lead.  Little did the home fans know at the time that Shine's goal would turn out to be the game-winner.  Zach Frye picked up the only assist on Shine's eighth goal of the season, which leads the Stars.  Shine's goal was an absolute snipe.

Less than three minutes after Shine's opening goal, the Stars would score again to make it a 2-0 lead.  At the 3:19 mark of the first period, Jake Wood scored his fourth goal of the season with assists going to Paul LaDue and Eric Scheid.

Wood, LaDue, and Scheid would all team up again late in the period to score Lincoln's third goal of the game.  A Paul LaDue shot on goal was saved by 'Riders goaltender Chad Catt but the rebound went straight up into the air.  From my seat it first looked like the puck went up into the air before falling behind Catt and into the open.  To be honest, I didn't get a good look at this goal, as it was awarded to Eric Scheid.  I don't know if Scheid deflected LaDue's shot before it went into the net, or if Scheid batted the puck into the net after it fell behind Catt.  Scheid's goal was his seventh of the season, with assists going to Paul LaDue and Jake Wood.

Lincoln took a commanding 3-0 lead into the first intermission.  Stars outshot the 'Riders 18-6 in the first period.  For all intents and purposes, this game was already over.

Neither team would score in the second period, but the Stars dominated in shots on goal once again, 16-5 in the second stanza.  Even with powerplay opportunities, the 'Riders had no answer for Lincoln's swarming defense and exceptional goaltending.

Lincoln would add two more goals in the third period to complete the scoring.  At the 11:30 mark of the third, forward David Parrottino, playing in his first game as a member of the Stars, scored on a nice wrister which got by 'Rider goaltender Chad Catt.  Trent Samuels-Thomas and Dominik Shine collected the assists on Parrottino's first career USHL goal.

Parrottino was originally placed on the 45-day injured reserve list in September due to offseason shoulder surgery.  At Lincoln's tryout camp this past June, Parrottino scored more goals than any other player.  The Stars are definitely a better team with Parrottino healthy and in the lineup.

Lincoln's last goal came on a nice 2-on-1 play by forwards Ross Olsson and Vinni Lettieri.  Olsson and Lettieri broke into the Cedar Rapids zone on an odd-man rush late in the game.  Olsson did a great job of holding onto the puck until the last second before passing it over to a wide open Lettieri who fired it into the open net.  Olsson and Zach Frye both collected the assists on Lettieri's third goal of the season.

Stars outshot the Roughriders overall, 42-25.  Cedar Rapids went 0-for-4 with the man advantage, while the Stars did not have one single powerplay opportunity in this game.  Not one.  Now, I know the Roughriders play a pretty clean game, but they weren't angels last night.  I can't remember the last time the Stars played an entire game without one powerplay opportunity.  I honestly believe that a lot of officials in the USHL purposely look the other way when it comes to penalties against Lincoln just because of the physical style of hockey the Stars play.  Just my opinion.

Jackson Teichroeb rebounded after a tough loss to Fargo last weekend with his second shutout of the season.  Because the Stars played so well defensively as a team, I didn't think Teichroeb had to work that hard for the shutout.  I'm not taking anything away from his performance last night because Teichroeb did have to make a few saves throughout the game to keep the Stars in it.  But in my opinion, the Roughriders rarely tested Teichroeb last night.  Regardless, it was nice to see Teichroeb get the shutout and the win.

The Stars will head north to Sioux Falls, SD tonight to face the Stampede, who are 7-1-0 at home.  Tonight's matchup will be a huge test for the Stars.  I'll be watching on FASTHockey, so I'll report back here with my thoughts after the game.  I hope to post pictures from the shutout win over Cedar Rapids here on the blog later this afternoon.

Go Stars.

P.S. - Could the UNL parking idiots get any worse than last night?  Holy crap.  Talk about a monkey humping a football.  I understand there was a UNL womens basketball game at Devaney last night, but it was a mess getting into the area, and a HUGE mess getting out.  I'd argue that Stars fans on their own can do a better job parking themselves and getting out in an orderly fashion.  We definitely don't need their "help."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

B³ Weekend Preview: Cedar Rapids and Sioux Falls


The Lincoln Stars will look to get back in the win column this weekend when they face off against the Cedar Rapids Roughriders on Friday night at the IceBox, and the Sioux Falls Stampede on Saturday evening in Sioux Falls, SD.  The puck will drop at 7:05pm CST both nights.

If you can't make it to any of the games 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 on FASTHockey for a fee.

The Stars are currently 10-1-0 (20 points), and are tied for first place in the USHL Western Conference with the Waterloo Blackhawks who are 10-2-0.  Lincoln's winning percentage is .909 which is tops in the entire USHL.  Click here to view the updated USHL standings

Lincoln's first opponent this weekend, the Cedar Rapids Roughriders, have a record of 6-3-2 (14 points), and are in fourth place in the USHL Eastern Conference.  This will be the first of two regular season games the Stars and the Roughriders will play against one another.  Both teams will meet on Wednesday, December 12th in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to complete the two-game series.

Historically, the Roughriders have not been a team the Stars have had much success against.  Unbelievably, Cedar Rapids has won seven straight games at the IceBox, dating back to the 2007-08 season.  That's an amazing statistic considering how well the Stars normally play in front of the home fans here in Lincoln.

The last time the Stars beat the Roughriders at the IceBox was way back on 10/26/07 when Travis Erstad's hat-trick powered Lincoln to a come-from-behind 5-4 win over Cedar Rapids.  In that particular game, the Roughriders had a 4-1 lead in the third period before giving up four straight goals to lose the contest.

Going back to the start of the 2007-08 season, the Stars and Roughriders have met a total of 16 times.  The Stars have an disappointing record of 3-11-2 in those sixteen regular season games against the 'Riders.  Simply put, this is a club that has had the Stars' number throughout the years.  Hopefully that seven-game winning streak for the Roughriders at the IceBox comes to an end Friday night.

This season the Roughriders have another talented, quick, high-scoring offense.  Nothing new about that.  However, they've given up 36 goals through 11 games, an average of 3.27 per game.  Much like Lincoln's other opponent this weekend (Sioux Falls), the Cedar Rapids Roughriders have scored a lot of goals but have given up a lot of goals also.  Neither of the two Cedar Rapids goaltenders have save percentages about .900%, which is a must in this league.

Lincoln's second opponent this weekend, the Sioux Falls Stampede, have a record of 8-4-0 (16 points), and are only four points behind the Stars in third place in the USHL Western Conference.  This will be the second of eight regular season games the Stars and the Stampede will play against one another.  In their lone previous matchup this season, the Stars buffaloed the Stampede 5-1 in Lincoln's home opener at the IceBox on 9/28/12.

With new head coach Cary Eades at the helm, the Sioux Falls Stampede are out to a fantastic start, winning 8 eight of their first 12 games and leading the league in attendance.  I think most USHL pundits and fans expected the 'Pede to struggle a bit at first this season, considering the team was coming off a disastrous 2011-12 campaign, and with a brand new head coach and new system in 2012-13.  That hasn't been the case.

In eight games at Sioux Falls Arena so far this season, the Stampede have an impressive 7-1-0 home record.  In those 8 home contests, the Stampede have scored 38 goals, which is an average of 4.75 per game.  In those same 8 home games, the 'Pede have surrendered 25 goals against, which is on average 3.13 per game.  They've given up quite a few goals at home this season, but it hasn't mattered much because the offense is very, very potent in their own barn

Leading the way on offense for the 'Pede is forward Todd Skirving, who has won the USHL Offensive Player of the Week award for the past two weeks.  Skirving is riding a four-game goal scoring streak, and has scored a whopping 8 goals in his last four games played.  In his first 8 games of the season, Skirving only scored one goal, so he's definitely red hot right now.

The Stars will continue to be without three key players this weekend as Luke Johnson, Justin Woods, and Michael Bitzer will be competing for Team USA in the 2012 World Junior A challenge.  The good news is that defenseman Mike McKee will be back in the lineup for the Stars after serving a three-game suspension handed down by the league.

The next three games will be a good litmus test for the Stars because they will be facing some of the top teams in both conferences.  After this weekend, the Stars will play one game next week, a Friday night home game against the Dubuque Fighting Saints.  The Roughriders, Stampede, and Fighting Saints have a combined record of 24-8-3.  Two of the three games will be played at the IceBox, so that should help the Stars earn as many points as possible.

Ready for Friday night!  Go Stars.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Snapshots of the Game: Fargo vs. Lincoln 11/3

Much thanks as always go out to Jeff White and Starsturck for letting me share their photos from the the Fargo game last night with you.  Make sure you check out Starstruck's "Shooting Star Photo" Facebook page, and Jeff White's "Depicted Image" Facebook page.  If you're on Facebook, make sure you "Like" their pages so you can be updated throughout this season with their work.

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

Pregame lightshow with Jackson Teichroeb

Saturday, November 3, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap: Fargo 6, Lincoln 3

All good things come to an end, and that's what happened tonight at the IceBox as Lincoln's 10-game unbeaten streak to start the season was snapped by the Fargo Force who won by a score of 6-3.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the loss, the Stars dropped to 10-1-0 (20 points) on the season.  Because of Waterloo's 5-3 loss to the Des Moines Buccaneers tonight, both the Stars and the Blackhawks are still tied for first place in the USHL Western Conference.  Click here to view the updated USHL standings.

I don't have much time tonight to write up a full recap, so I'll edit this article tomorrow morning with more info.

Scoring for the Stars tonight was Will Suter, Paul LaDue, and Ross Olsson.  All of Lincoln's three goals came in the first period.

Definitely an ugly game for both teams, especially the Stars.  Lincoln outshot Fargo 42-28 overall, but the Force made the most of their offensive opportunities in this game.  It was certainly not a goaltending clinic tonight.

Lincoln's woes with the man-advantage continued tonight as the Stars went 0-for-5 on the powerplay.  "Anemic" is a good word to describe the Stars' PP unit right now.  Statistically, they are dead last in the USHL in powerplay percentage.  Amazingly, Lincoln has scored more shorthanded goals (5) through 11 games played than powerplay goals (3).  The Stars had plenty of chances tonight to get back into the game with a powerplay goal, but it just didn't happen.

Regardless of the loss, we're all still proud of the players on the team for playing so well during the streak.  I suppose a new 10-game winning streak can start next Friday night at the IceBox against the Cedar Rapids Roughriders.

If you were at the game tonight, or watching on FASTHockey from home, I'd love to hear your opinions.  Please leave a comment below!

Again, I'll update this tomorrow with a full recap when I have more time.

Go Stars.

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

Huge thanks go out to Starstruck for allowing me to share their great photos from the game last night in Sioux City.  Make sure you check Starstruck's "Shooting Star Photo" Facebook page.  If you're on Facebook, make sure you "Like" their page so you can be updated throughout this season with their work.

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

Vinni Lettieri gets high-fives from his teammates on the bench after scoring in the second period

Friday, November 2, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap: Lincoln 5, Sioux City 3

10-0-0!

The Lincoln Stars won their 10th straight game to start the season tonight with a well-earned 5-3 road victory over the Musketeers in Sioux City, Iowa.



Click here to view the Poinstreak boxscore.


With the win, the Stars moved to 10-0-0 (20 points) on the season.  Lincoln is still tied for first place in the USHL Western Conference with the Waterloo Blackhawks who are 10-1-0 so far this season.  Click here to view the current USHL standings.

From my perspective watching the game on FASTHockey tonight, it looked like the Stars came out a bit sluggish to start.  Shots by the Stars weren't finding the net, and goaltender Jackson Teichroeb was hung out to dry a few times in the opening period.  The Muskies were rewarded around the half-way point of the first period with a goal from Jake Montgomery, which gave Sioux City a 1-0 lead.

The Stars would answer less than five minutes later when Jake Wood scored a very nice goal to knot the game up at 1-1.  After accepting a pass from Will Suter, Wood worked his way into the slot in the Sioux City zone before roofing a beauty backhand shot past Muskies goaltender Joe Ballmer.  Suter earned the only assist on Wood's fourth goal of the season, which came at even-strength.

At the first intermission the score remained tied at 1-1.  Lincoln led in shots 11-5 through the first twenty minutes.

Although they were outshot 10-9 in the second period, the Stars outscored the Musketeers 2-0 in the middle period.  At the 2:30 mark, Zach Aston-Reese skated the puck behind and around the Sioux City net before centering a nice pass to a wide open Vinnie Lettieri in the slot who one-timed the puck into the open net to give the Stars its first lead of the game at 2-1.  Lettieri actually broke his stick on the shot, which is something you don't see every day.  Aston-Reese earned the lone assist on Lettieri's second goal of the season, his second in as many games.

Later in the second period, the Stars would strike again thanks to more nifty passing, this time from forward Eric Scheid.  Scheid controlled the puck in the SC zone before firing a tape-to-tape pass to a wide open Zach Frye who fired it past Ballmer for a commanding 3-1 Lincoln lead.  Eric Scheid would collect the only assist on Frye's third goal of the season.

Stars took the 3-1 lead into the second intermission, leading in shots 20-15.

In the third period, both teams would score two goals a piece, but in the end it was the Stars winning their 10th straight by a score of 5-3.  After a SC goal which brought the Muskies to within one goal at 3-2, Stars alternate captain Will Suter scored a clutch insurance goal to give Lincoln a two-goal lead back at 4-2 with only 3:47 remaining in the game.  Will's sixth goal of the season was unassisted.  Suter used to play for the Musketeers a few years ago before being released, so I'm sure he was pumped to score on the team that gave up on him.

Sioux City would score a late goal to get within one goal again, but Dominik Shine put the icing on the cake with an empty net, unassisted goal with only 25 seconds remaining to seal the 5-3 victory.  Shine has now scored a goal in four straight games, and has 7 goals in 9 games played.

Neither team would score on the powerplay tonight as the Stars went 0-for-3 while the Musketeers went 0-for-2.  Despite their undefeated 10-0-0 record, the Stars' powerplay unit isn't very potent.  In fact, it's pretty bad.  The Stars have scored a total of 3 powerplay goals in 35 opportunities through 10 games played, which is "good" enough for second to last in the USHL.  They have more shorthanded goals scored (5) than powerplay goals, which is very odd.  Once this team starts clicking with the man advantage....look out.  It's only a matter of time.  Hopefully they can get that turned around soon.

Jackson Teichroeb stopped 21 of 24 shots to record his seventh win of the season.  As I stated above, Teichroeb was hung out to dry a few times in this game by his teammates and he came up big each time.  Most of the three goals against were screened shots, so it's hard to fault him at all for those.  Another solid effort for Teichroeb.  He's playing with a ton of confidence and putting the team on his back at times, which is great to see.

Because Stars goaltender Michael Bitzer is playing for Team USA in the 2012 World Junior A Challenge, the Stars brought in goaltender Nick Deery from the NAHL Brookings Blizzard to be Teichroeb's backup.  Click here to view Deery's stats with the Blizzard.  Deery will stay and practice with the team for the next couple of weeks while Bitzer is away.  Who knows, he may even get to get to start a game for the Stars.

Considering the Stars were missing key players such as Mike McKee, Luke Johnson, Justin Woods, and Michael Bitzer from the lineup, I thought the Stars played very, very well tonight.  It wasn't exactly pretty at times, but they got the job done.  That's the bottom line, getting the two points.  Quality team effort tonight.  They should all be very proud.

I hope to post some photos from this game sometime on Saturday courtesy of Shooting Stars Photos.  Stay tuned for that.

Big home game Saturday night against Fargo!  Let's pack the IceBox and get loud as hell!  Show the boys some love!

Go Stars.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

B³ Weekend Preview: Sioux City and Fargo


Can the Stars extend their winning streak to 10 and 11 games?  We'll find out this weekend when Lincoln goes on the road to face the Sioux City Musketeers on Friday evening before hosting the Fargo Force at the IceBox on Saturday night.  The puck will drop at 7:00pm CST in Sioux City on Friday, and at 7:05pm CST in Lincoln on Saturday.

If you can't make it to any of the games 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 on FASTHockey for a fee.

The Stars are currently 9-0-0 (18 points), and are tied for first place in the USHL Western Conference with the Waterloo Blackhawks.  With Dubuque's Thursday night loss to the Team USA U-18 squad, the Stars are now the only undefeated team remaing in the USHL.  Click here to view the updated USHL standings.

The Sioux City Musketeers currently sport a record of 2-4-3 (7 points), and are tied for last place in the USHL Western Conference with the Tri-City Storm.  This will be the first of eight regular season games the Stars and the Muskies will play against one another.  Four of the eight games will be played in Lincoln, and the other four games will be played in Sioux City.

As their record indicatess, the Muskies haven't jumped out to the start they had hoped for this season.  They are riding a three-game losing streak coming into the Friday game against the Stars, and the Musketeers were outscored 8-4 in those three losses.  Sioux City is 2-1-2 at home this season.

Due to the 2012 World Junior A Challenge tournament, which I'll highlight below, the Musketeers will be without two defensemen for the next four games.  Blake Heinrich and Dan Molenaar were both selected by Team USA, so Sioux City will be a little short on the blueline (much like the Stars) this weekend and next.

The Fargo Force are have a record of 4-4-2 (10 points) through 10 games played and are in fourth place in the USHL Western Conference..  This will be the third time the Stars and Force will face one another this season.  In their past two meetings, both at the IceBox, the Stars have two wins.  On 10/19/12, the Stars won in an overtime shootout by a score of 3-2.  On 10/20/12, Lincoln won another dramatic game this time by a score of 2-1 over Fargo.

The Force will be without the services of two key defensemen this weekend, one because of suspension and one because of an international tournament.  Defenseman Dominic Racobaldo picked up a fighting major, instigator, and game misconduct last Friday in Fargo's 4-3 home loss to the Chicago Steel.  Due to his actions, and the fact that the fight took place with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, Racobaldo was suspended two games.  Racobaldo plays a game very similar to Stars defenseman Mike McKee, who will also miss both games this weekend due to a suspension.

The other Fargo defenseman out of the lineup this weekend (and next) is Justin Wade.  Wade is a player I have have always enjoyed watching.  He's a big kid (6'2", 203 pounds) who plays a very honest, physical, shutdown role for the Force.  Like Fargo forward Gabe Guertler, Wade is a player who seems to perform his best against Lincoln.  Wade will miss at least four games for Fargo because he was recently selected to play for Team USA in the 2012 World Junior A Challenge.

Speaking of the 2012 World Junior A Challenge, three members of the Lincoln Stars will miss the next four games because they will also be playing for Team USA.  Click here to read more about Luke Johnson, Justin Woods, and Michael Bitzer getting selected to wear the red, white, and blue for Team USA.  The Stars will certainly miss all three players.  If you are interested in watching any of the World Junior A Challenge games that are being played in Nova Scotia, Canada, click here to read how you can catch the games online for free.

Because Lincoln will be without the services of defenseman Mike McKee for the next two games, and defenseman Justin Woods for the next four games, the Stars are down to only four defensemen on the roster.  Forward Brad Hawkinson, who has done an amazing job playing defense in selected games this season, will likely move back to the blueline for at least the next 2-4 games.  Per Associate Head Coach Jimmy McGroarty, the team has called up d-man Ian Scheid (younger brother of Eric Scheid) to help fill the hole at the defenseman position this weekend.  Ian will be a junior this season for the Blaine (MN) High School Bengals.  Ian Scheid participated in the Stars' 2012 tryout camp this past June in Minneapolis.

That's about it!  Looking forward to the home game this Saturday against the Force!  I'll be watching the game against Sioux City on FASTHockey so I'll post a recap article late Friday night after that one.

One game at a time!  Go Stars!