Thursday, March 28, 2013

B³ Weekend Preview: Sioux City and Sioux Falls


The Lincoln Stars will embark on their last full road trip of the regular season this weekend when they travel to Sioux City, IA on Friday night to face the Musketeers, and then to Sioux Falls, SD on Saturday evening to battle the Sioux Falls Stampede.  Puck drops at 7:00pm CST on Friday, and at 7:05pm CST on Saturday.

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

The Stars are currently 34-1-3 (71 points), and are in third place in the USHL Western Conference.  Click here to view the current USHL standings.  The Stars are now six points behind the second-place Fargo Force, and five points ahead of the the fourth-place Waterloo Blackhawks.  The top four teams in each conference make the playoffs this season.  The Stars have six games remaining in the 2012-13 regular season.

First up for the good guys this weekend will be the Sioux City Musketeers, who have a record of 19-28-11 (42 points) and are tied with the Des Moines Buccaneers for last place in the USHL Western Conference.  This will be the eighth and final time that the Stars and Muskies face one another this season.  The Stars are 6-1-0 in the seven previous contests against Sioux City this season.  Their last meeting took place in Lincoln on 3/5/13 with the Muskies embarrassing the Stars by a score of 6-2.

This road game in Sioux City is a very historic one for the Lincoln Stars organization.  It will be the 1,000th regular season game in team history.  The Stars have a 595-324-80 all-time record in their previous 999 games in the USHL.  The BlueLine Booster Club, with some help from radio announcer Mike Melbye, organized a bus trip for fans wanting to experience game #1,000 in person.  I will be one of the 100+ people taking two buses up to Sioux City Friday night.  A lot of other Stars fans will be driving on their own up to this game, so there should be a very large contingent of Lincoln fans in attendance.  If you're interested in going to this game, make sure you call ahead and try to get tickets in Section 114 at the Tyson Events Center in SC.  I believe most, if not all, Stars fans will be sitting in 114.

On Saturday, the Stars will play Game #1,001 in Sioux Falls, SD against the first-place Stampede, who sport an impressive record of 42-14-4 (86 points).  Like the game against the Muskies, this will be the eighth and final time that the Stars and Stampede face one another this season.  The Stars are 2-4-1 in the seven previous contests against the 'Pede this season.

In my opinion, the Stampede are the best team in the USHL right now.  They are the only team in the USHL Western Conference to clinch a playoff spot.  Sioux Falls is riding a seven-game winning streak, and have won four in a row against the Lincoln Stars.  The Stars have only scored a total of three goals in their last three games against Sioux Falls.  The Stampede play Friday night at home against the Omaha Lancers, so let's hope that the Lancers tire out Sioux Falls in that game, but lose in regulation.

With six games remaining, the Stars are sitting comfortable in third place in the west...but they have not clinched a playoff spot.  Getting at least 2 points this weekend is a must.  3 points would be really nice, and 4 points would be just awesome.  The Stars can't afford to lose both games in regulation this weekend while the Waterloo Blackhawks and Omaha Lancers are nipping at their heels.

Go Stars.

Note:  For those of you out there who are going on one of the two buses Friday afternoon, here are the particulars in case you forgot.  The buses will arrive at the North 27th Street Walmart at 2:30pm.  The buses will depart promptly at 3:00pm.  The buses will stop around 3:45p-4:00pm at the Sapp Bros truck stop in Omaha to pick up additional passengers.  The convoy will then travel to the Tyson Event Center in Sioux City.  If you ordered tickets, the booster club will disperse them once the buses have arrived at the TEC.  Alcohol is permitted on the bus, but the bus company only allows aluminum cans.  Due to limited space, please refrain from bringing very large coolers.

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