Thursday, October 10, 2013

B³ Weekend Preview: Waterloo and Sioux Falls

The Lincoln Stars will be back at the comfy confines of the IceBox this weekend for back-to-back games against western conference rivals.  On Friday evening, the Stars will host the Waterloo Blackhawks.  Saturday night, the Stars will battle the Sioux Falls Stampede.  Puck drops at 7:05pm CST for each game.

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.

Up first for the good guys this Friday will be the Waterloo Blackhawks, who have a record of 2-1-0 (4 points) and are tied for fourth place in the USHL western conference.  Waterloo has played one game on the road this season, a 3-2 win in Chicago on 9/27 against the Steel.

The Blackhawks are a much different team than the offensive-heavy squad from last season.  Gone are forwards Taylor Cammarata, Justin Kloos, Vincent Hinostroza, Zach Stepan, J.T. Stenglein, and defenseman Ian McCoshen.  Waterloo lost their top 8 point scorers from last season, so much like the Stars, the Blackhawks are reloading this season with a lot of new faces.

Goaltender Cal Petersen returns for the Blackhawks, and he has played every minute so far this season.   The draft pick of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres is 2-1-0 in those three games, a 2.68 goals against average, and a .914 save percentage.  I have no reason to believe that Petersen won't get the start Friday night at the IceBox.

The first-place Sioux Falls Stampede (4-1-0, 8 points) will invade the IceBox Saturday evening looking to win their fifth road game of the season.  Oddly, the Stampede are 0-1-0 at home, but 4-0-0 on the road so far this season.  After exploding for 17 goals in their first three games of the season, the Stampede hit a wall the past two games, scoring a total of only 2 goals.

The Stampede are a veteran-laden team, and in my opinion, should run away with the western conference regular season title again this season.  This team is stacked.  They return a ton of forwards from last season, including Zeb Knutson (8 goals in 5 games this season), CJ Franklin (60 points last season), Dennis Kravchenko (63 points last season), and Tony Calderone (44 points last season).  Honestly, Knutson, Franklin, and Kravchenko should be playing college hockey right now.  I'm shocked that they are back playing in the USHL this season.  

The Stars will definitely have their hands full against the Stampede.  This is a team that most pundits are picking to win the west, and potentially the Clark Cup.  I had a chance to watch them at the Fall Classic, and they are for real.  Sioux Falls plays Friday night in Omaha, so lets hope the Lancers tire out the Stampede so the Stars can use some home cookin' to beat them on Saturday.

After missing last Friday's game against Des Moines, I'm excited for a full weekend of hockey at the IceBox.  Great opportunity for the Stars to get their first wins of the season against two teams ahead of them in the standings.

Go Stars.

1 comment:

Off Road said...

I am kind of hoping to see Schmidt in net at least one game this week.