Saturday, November 2, 2013

B³ Postgame Recap: Lincoln 0, Tri-City 3

After getting blown out by the Stars last Friday at the IceBox by a score of 6-1, the Tri-City Storm got some revenge with a 3-0 shutout win over Lincoln last night in Kearney.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.  

With the loss, the Stars fell to 2-4-4 (8 points) and are now in seventh place in the USHL western conference.  The Storm improved to 4-5-2 (10 points) and are in fifth place in the west.  Click here to view the current USHL standings. 

Unfortunately, I spent $8 to watch this game on FASTHockey.  I'll post some brief thoughts below.  There aren't a lot of positives from this game, and I'm not going to dwell too much on the negatives.

Seemed to me that the Stars spent most of this game on auto-pilot.  A lot of perimeter shots in the Tri-City zone, and I didn't see players crashing the net as much as they did last Friday night at the IceBox.

Neither team played particularly well, but the Stars had opportunities to score goals in this game but just couldn't get any past Storm goaltender Jacob Johansson.  The Storm gave the Stars plenty of chances to get back into the game with some very undisciplined play at times.  Lincoln had 6 powerplay opportunities but were not able to convert.

There were times in this game that it seemed like the Stars flipped a switch and outplayed the Storm.  In the latter half of the second period, and at times in the third, Lincoln was the better team.  But it wasn't a 60 minute effort like it was against the Storm last Friday at the IceBox.

Shots were 33-25 in favor of Lincoln, but again most of those 33 shots were from the perimeter.  Johansson wasn't tested much, especially in the first half of the game.  Michael Bitzer stopped 22 of 24 in the loss while Johansson stopped all 33 he faced.

Biggest positive from this game was the continued good play of Lincoln's penalty kill unit.  If my calculations are right, the Stars have not given up a PP goal in the last five games.  In those five contests, Lincoln has killed all 28 powerplay chances against them.  Goaltenders are often said to be your best penalty killer, and that is certainly the case as of late with Michael Bitzer.

The Stars called up defenseman Connor Chambers this week to add some roster depth on the blueline with Zach Frye out of the lineup.  Chambers was a free agent at Lincoln's tryout camp this past June, and was on the initial protected roster.  After starting the preseason in Lincoln, he was moved to the Odessa Jackalopes of the NAHL where he has been since.

With Frye out for four games, I figured this would be a good opportunity to give defenseman Wilson Vershay some playing time.  Lincoln traded a third round futures draft  pick (in 2014) for Vershay, but he has only played two games and is currently listed on the inactive Pointstreak roster.  I've had a lot of fans ask me about his status, and I have no clue.  It just seemed odd to me to see the Stars bring up a defenseman from the NAHL when they had Vershay here in town sitting on the sidelines.  Maybe he's injured.  I have no idea.

The Stars have a great opportunity tonight to rebound and pin a home loss on the Omaha Lancers at the Ralston Arena.  Omaha is coming off a 3-2 home loss Friday night to the Sioux City Musketeers, so I'm sure the Lancers will be a salty bunch tonight.  I expect the Stars to turn the page and give the Lancers all they can handle.

Go Stars.

No comments: