Thursday, October 31, 2013

B³ Weekend Preview: Tri-City and Omaha

It's rivalry weekend for the Lincoln Stars as they go on the road to take on the Tri-City Storm on Friday evening, and then the Omaha Lancers on Saturday night.  The puck will drop at 7:30pm CST in Kearney for the game against the Storm, and at 7:05pm CST in Ralston, NE against the Lancers.

If you are unable to make it to any of the games this weekend, you can follow the boxscores 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.

Friday's opponent in Kearney, the Tri-City Storm, have a record of 3-5-2 (8 points) and are tied for seventh place in the USHL western conference with the Lincoln Stars (2-3-4).  Tri-City is the third lowest scoring team in the USHL, averaging only 1.8 goals per game through 10 regular season contests.

The Stars are 1-0-1 in two regular season games against the Storm this season.  In their last meeting, this past Friday night at the IceBox, the Stars dominated the Storm in route to a 6-1 drubbing and their first home win of the season.  The Stars are 11-0-1 in their last 12 regular season games against the Tri-City Storm, dating back to the 2011-2012 season.

The Storm laid an egg last weekend with losses to both Lincoln (6-1) and a shutout loss to the Omaha Lancers (2-0).  However, Tri-City rebounded with an impressive 4-2 home win against the Waterloo Blackhawks this past Wednesday night.

Lincoln's true arch-rival, the Omaha Lancers, will be the Stars' opponent on Saturday night at Ralston Arena in Ralston, NE.  This will be the first of eight regular season meetings between the Lancers and the Stars.

The Lancers sport an impressive 9-1-1 record through 11 games so far, and are all alone in first place in the USHL western conference.  Omaha is undefeated at home this season, with a 5-0-0 record in five games at Ralston Arena.  Four of those five victories at home have been shutout wins.

The Lancers have been the talk of the USHL through the first full month.  In their first five regular season games, the Lancers did not surrender one goal.  You read that correctly.  Omaha, and specifically goaltender Cole Bruns, shutout their opponents in each of their first five games of the season.  It was an incredible streak that garnered a lot of national media.  In those first five games, the Lancers outscored their opponents 22-5.  

Big test for the Stars this weekend.  The Storm should be a salty and motivated hockey club after getting smacked around last Friday night by the Stars at the IceBox.  Omaha is arguably the top team in the league right now and will be amped up at home to continue their home dominance at Ralston Arena.  There are no easy games in this league.

Some bad news for Lincoln this week as defenseman and co-captain Zach Frye has been suspended four games by the USHL due to a head contact major (and game ejection) he picked up in the third period of the Muskegon game last Saturday night.  Two of those four games that Frye will miss are against the Omaha Lancers.  Not a good time to lose the team's top defender and leader.

Unfortunately I won't be able to attend either of these two road games.  I do plan on watching the Friday game via FASTHockey and will report back to the blog with a full recap.  On Saturday I will not be around a computer to watch or follow along, so I hope to get a lot of feedback from Stars fans who make the trip to Ralston to watch the good guys against the Lancers.

Go Stars.

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