The Lincoln Stars will be back in action this weekend with two games against western conference divisional foes ahead of them in the standings. On Friday night at the IceBox, the Stars will host the Sioux City Musketeers. On Saturday evening, the Stars will be back in Des Moines (again) to face the Buccaneers. Puck drops at 7:05pm CST for each contest.
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. Unfortunately this will be a very short weekend preview article. I've been traveling for work this week and haven't had much time to devote to the blog. The Lincoln Stars currently have a record of 4-11-5 (13 points) and are in sixth place the USHL western conference. Click here to view the current USHL standings.
The top four teams in each conference make the playoffs, and Omaha, Sioux Falls, Waterloo, and Sioux City are running away from the bottom four teams in the west (Des Moines, Lincoln, Tri-City, Fargo). It's odd to see such a division between the top four and bottom four this soon into the season. With Sioux City holding a 14 point lead over them in the standings for that last playoff spot, the Stars really need to get on a big winning streak to get back into the playoff hunt.
On Saturday, the Stars will once again take on the Buccaneers in Des Moines, IA. The Bucs enter this weekend with a 7-12-1 (15 points) record, good enough for fifth place in the western conference, two points ahead of the Stars.
In an odd scheduling quirk, the Stars' last three road games have been against the Bucs in Des Moines. The fourth straight road game will also be in Des Moines this Saturday night. I'm sure by the end of this game, these two teams will be sick of one another.
Earlier this week the Stars were dealt some bad news as the USHL handed down a very lengthy suspension to defenseman Zach Frye. With one of the longest suspensions I've ever seen the league give out to a Stars player, Frye was suspended a total of 7 games. According to the league, the suspension was due to a head contact hit during a game against Waterloo at the IceBox on 11/23/13. What's interesting is that Frye was not whistled for a penalty on the play. So I'm assuming the Waterloo coaches asked the league to look at the game tape.
Losing Frye, who eats up a tons of minutes and is a co-captain, really hurts the team. Much like Mike McKee last season, the Stars need Frye on the ice not sitting in the stands. Because he had a prior suspension for head contact, I think the league really wanted to make an example of Frye. Right or wrong, they really dropped the hammer on him. The next game Frye will be allowed to play in is a December 31st tilt against....guess who....the Waterloo Blackhawks.
Also, the 2013-14 Lincoln Stars trading cards will be available for the first time tomorrow (Friday) night at the IceBox. You can get trading cards in the BlueLine Booster Club booth located just inside the south entrance of the IceBox. I will include a quick preview picture below of some of the cards. Click the photo below to enlarge it.