The Lincoln Stars will travel north to Sioux City, IA this Tuesday evening to take on the Musketeers at the Tyson Events Center. Puck drops at 7:00pm CST.
If you can't make it up to SC for this game, you can follow the boxscore online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on 93.7 FM "The Ticket," or watch the games live on FASTHockey for a fee.
The Stars are currently 27-17-3 (57 points), and are in fifth place in the USHL Western Conference, one point behind the fourth place Omaha Lancers (58 points) and two points behind the third place Waterloo Blackhawks (59 points). Click here to view the updated USHL standings.
Stars are 5-0-0 in five regular season games against the Musketeers this season. Lincoln has outscored SC 20-9 in those five contests. Lincoln goaltender Michael Bitzer is 4-0-0 against Sioux City, with a .933 save percentage and a 1.46 goals against average. These two teams will meet a total of eight times in the 2012-13 season.
Based on their five previous contests, you'd think that this would be an easy win and two points for the Stars. That's not the case. Although they've traded away some of their top talent for draft picks (e.g. Riley Bourbonnais), the Muskies are actually playing better hockey right now compared to a month or two ago before the fire sale.
Muskies are 3-1-0 in their last four games, and are 4-1-1 in their last six home games at the Tyson Events Center. The last two games in which Lincoln faced Sioux City, each contest ended up going to OT. This will not be a team the Stars can afford to look past. The Muskies are playing their best hockey right now, and I'm sure they'll be looking for some payback on Tuesday night after losing five in a row to Lincoln.
The Stars coming off one of their best performances of the season, a 4-3 OT win over the Waterloo Blackhawks this past Saturday at the IceBox. In my opinion, it was Lincoln's best overall effort at home this season. If the Stars can play like that the rest of this season (17 games), the chances of them making the playoffs are very good.
Win this game, and the Stars jump up to a third place tie in the western conference. Lincoln has two games in hand over Omaha, and one game in hand over Waterloo. So this Tuesday night game against SC is a great opportunity for the Stars to pick up two more points for the playoff push.