If you don't have your tickets already, make sure you get them because this game normally sells out.
If you can't make it out to this Thursday evening game, you can follow the boxscore online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on 93.7 FM "The Ticket," or watch the game on FASTHockey for a fee.
The Stars have a record of 4-10-4 (12 points) and are tied with the Tri-City Storm for sixth place in the USHL western conference. Click here to view the current USHL standings.
With an impressive record of 13-5-2 (28 points), the Sioux Falls Stampede occupy second place in the USHL western conference, only two points behind the first-place Omaha Lancers (30 points). Sioux Falls is 4-0-1 in their last five games played, and are 8-3-1 on the road this season.
This will be the second time the Stars and Stampede will play one another this season. In their only other meeting, Sioux Falls beat the Stars in overtime by a score of 4-3 at the IceBox on 10/12/13.
Most pundits, including yours truly, thought the Stampede would run away with the western conference title this season. And that still may happen, but the Stampede have struggled a bit defensively, and with their goaltending so far this season.
The 'Pede are an offensive-heavy squad, with top forwards like C.J. Franklin, Zeb Knutson, and Dennis Kravchenko. They've scored 63 goals through twenty games, but they've also given up 57 goals against. The Stampede will need to shore up their defensive numbers if they want to overtake the Omaha Lancers for first place in the west.
The key for the Stars is to shut down the line of Franklin-Knutson-Kravchenko. That's easier said than done. In their last meeting on 10/12/13, the three Stampede forwards I just mentioned combined for 3 goals (including the OT game-winner), and 3 assists.
This should be a very good game. The Stars have proven already this season they can hang with the Stampede at the IceBox, so I'm hoping that will happen again Thursday night. Michael Bitzer will once again need to be Lincoln's best player for the Stars to win this game. Winning the special teams war would help, also.
Note: Some surprising roster news Wednesday evening as the team dropped goaltender Shane Starrett, and picked up Jacob Nehama ('95) from the Lone Star Brahmas of the NAHL. Click here to view the tweet from the USHL Hockey Ops account.
Just a few weeks ago, the Stars traded a conditional fifth round entry pick to the Sioux Falls Stampede for Starrett. After getting only one start, and a total of 16 minutes of playing time in a Stars uniform, Starrett has been dropped for a goaltender (Nehama) who was at Lincoln's tryout camp this past June.
This morning, the USHL Hockey Ops account stated that since the pick was conditional and Starrett was released by a certain date, the Stars don't have to give up that 5th round pick.