Monday, July 22, 2013

USHL releases 2013-14 regular season schedule

Hooray! The USHL released the 2013-14 regular season schedule today.  Nice to see the schedule released before August.

Click here to see the 2013-14 season schedule for the Lincoln Stars.

After expanding to a 64-game regular season last season, the USHL reverted back to a 60-game season for 2013-14.  The Stars will play 32 games at home next season, and 28 on the road.  More on that odd number later on in this article.

The Lincoln Stars will open the 2013-14 regular season at home on Friday, September 27th against the Cedar Rapids Roughriders.  Looking forward to that game at the IceBox already.  Only a little more than two months away!

Here are some highlights of the Stars' season schedule:

  • In the first half of the season (30 games), the Stars will play 14 games at home, and 16 games on the road.  

  • In the second half of the season (30 games), the Stars will play 18 games at home and 12 games on the road.

  • 16 Friday night home games, 11 Saturday night home games, 3 Tuesday night home games, 1 Wednesday and 1 Thursday night home game.

  • No Halloween or New Year's Eve home game in Lincoln this season.  The Stars will be on the road on 12/31/13 in Waterloo, IA against the Blackhawks.  Same as last season.

  • The Stars will play at home two days before St. Patrick's Day in 2014 on Saturday, March 15th against Team USA.

  • The Stars will play at home on Wednesday, November 27th (the day before Thanksgiving) against the Sioux Falls Stampede.  

  • The Stars will play five weekday (not counting Friday) games at home: vs. the Chicago Steel (Thursday 11/14/13), vs. the Sioux Falls Stampede (Wednesday 11/27/13), vs. the Tri-City Storm (Tuesday 1/21/14), vs. the Duqubue Fighting Saints (Tuesday 2/4/14) and the Sioux City Musketeers (Tuesday 3/4/14).

  • The Stars will play six of their first nine games of the regular season at home at the IceBox.

  • The longest home-stand at the IceBox is 5 games (occurs late January-early February of 2014).

  • The longest road swing for the Stars is 4 games (occurs once during the season).

  • There is an 11-game stretch in January-February of 2014 in which the Stars play 9 of those games at home, and the two road games are in Omaha.  So for over a month, the Stars will not have to leave the state of Nebraska.

  • Lincoln has three times during the regular season where they will play three games in three consecutive nights: November 14, 15, 16 (one of the three are at home), February 14, 15, 16 (one of the three are at home), and March 21, 22, 23 (two of the three are at home).

  • The Stars will play 44 games against Western Conference opponents, and 16 games against Eastern Conference opponents.  The 16 games against eastern conference foes is up from only 11 games last season (during a 64-game season).  Good to see the league listened to their fans who wanted to see more teams from the opposite conference during the regular season.  I don't want to see Omaha 10 times during the season.  8 is enough.

  • As I mentioned above, for the first time in a long time, the Stars will play more games at home next season than on the road.  How did that happen?  Well, the Stars "acquired" one game each from both the Chicago Steel and the Indiana Ice.  How these two games were acquired is up for debate.  Some have said that teams are now allowed to "buy" home games from other teams.  So in this case, if the Steel and Ice were selling, the Stars were buying.  It's a great strategy, in my opinion.  Instead of a road trip to Chicago and Indiana next season, the Stars will play those two games at the IceBox.  Those four points could be huge at the end of the season when teams are jockeying for playoff positions.

    # of games against opponents:
    Omaha - 8  (down from 10 last season)
    Tri-City - 8  (down from 9 last season)
    Des Moines - 8  (up from 6 last season)
    Fargo - 6  (down from 8 last season)
    Sioux Falls - 6  (down from 8 last season)
    Sioux City - 4  (down from 8 last season)
    Waterloo - 4  (same as last season)
    Cedar Rapids - 2  (same as last season)
    Dubuque - 2  (same as last season)
    Youngstown - 2  (same as last season)
    Chicago - 2  (up from 1 last season)
    Green Bay - 2  (up from 1 last season)
    Indiana - 2  (up from 1 last season)
    Muskegon - 2  (up from 1 last season)
    Team USA - 2  (up from 1 last season)

    Okay, I'd like to hear from you now. Your thoughts on the new schedule?  Start planning those road trips!  Hopefully soon the USHL will release the game schedule for the 2013 Fall Classic West which will be held from September 11-12 in Sioux City, Iowa.


    Anonymous said...

    I'm glad to see they didn't go for the Omaha money grab this year. I still think 8 is too many especially when you only play some people in your conference 4 times. But I get that's its a business...

    The whole buy a home game thing is intriguing. It's a way for those who do well to earn extra revenue without raising prices or dipping from the rivalry well too often, and it gives some strapped teams a chance to "keep the lights off" (and other operating expenses) to save some money.


    Anonymous said...

    ok, I know hockey seasons still about a month away and this is probably a longshot, there such a thing as "pre-season picks" or "pre-season rankings" in the USHL??....anyone have any idea who the stronger/weaker teams are or who's going to be favored to win their division??

    Yeti said...

    That's a great question, Anon. Right now it's a little early to tell which teams will be good and which teams might not, but as we get closer to the start of the regular season....I think you'll see some websites/blogs make an effort to give preseason rankings.

    As for the Stars, I'm not sure what to think about this upcoming season. They lost a LOT of great players from last season. I think the team could struggle a bit at first to score goals. Bitzer will be counted on to keep the team in a lot of games early on.

    On paper, I think Sioux Falls could be very strong once again in 2013-14. They return quite a few top players from last year's team. I think Tri-City will be improved as well.