Thursday, February 28, 2013

B³ Weekend Preview: Fargo Force

Scheels Arena in Fargo, ND will be the scene this weekend when the Lincoln Stars battle the Fargo Force in back-to-back games.

Friday's contest will start a little late, at 7:35pm CST.  Saturday's matchup will begin at 7:05pm CST.

If you can't make it to Fargo this weekend, you can follow the boxscores on Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on 93.7FM "The Ticket," or watch the games online via FASTHockey.com for a fee.

The Stars are currently 28-17-3 (59 points), and in fourth place in the USHL Western Conference. The Waterloo Blackhawks, who beat the Tri-City Storm tonight (Thu), broke a tie with the Stars and are now all alone in third place with 61 points.  Click here to view the current USHL standings. 

Fargo is in second place in the western conference with a record of 29-15-5 (63 points).  They are 15-6-2 at home this season, and 6-4-0 in their last ten games played.

The Force and Stars have met four times so far this season (each one of those four in Lincoln), and both teams have two wins a side.  Lincoln won the first two times they have met, and the Force have won the last two times.  These two teams will meet a total of eight times this season, so the last four games of this series will be played in Fargo.  In fact, the Stars will play the Force in Fargo four times in a span of 12 days starting with Friday's game.

The last time the Stars played the Force at the Scheels Arena in Fargo, it was April 27, 2012, and Brad Hawkinson scored the overtime winner to give Lincoln a 3-2 win and a 3-to-1 series win in the opening round of the 2012 USHL Clark Cup playoffs.

Lincoln is coming off a wild and crazy 8-5 win this past Tuesday over the Sioux City Musketeers in which Dominik Shine scored a hat trick and one assist.  Offensively, the Stars looked really good against the Muskies, especially on the powerplay.  Defensively, it wasn't pretty.  Lincoln will definitely have to tighten it up in their own zone against the Force, who have a ton of talented forwards such as Dominic Toninato, Brendan Harms, Gabe Guertler, and newly acquired Austin Ortega, 

I've been told that Zach Aston Reese's original two-game suspension handed down by the USHL has been reduced to one game, so ZAR should be in the lineup for both games this weekend.  ZAR picked up an elbowing major and game ejection against Waterloo at the IceBox last Saturday and was subsequently suspended two games.  Lincoln must have appealed the suspension, and won.  Good news there.  

You can argue that these two games against Fargo this weekend are the most important games the Stars will play so far this season.  In reality, every game is important when the Stars are fighting for a playoff spot.  Lincoln is only four points behind the Force in the standings, so getting 3-4 points this weekend would be huge.    

Go Stars.

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