The Lincoln Stars are back at the IceBox this weekend with games against the Sioux City Musketeers on Friday, and the Waterloo Blackhawks on Sunday.
Puck drops at 7:05pm CST at the IceBox for the Friday game, and at 4:05pm CST for the Sunday afternoon matchup.
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.
The Stars enter this weekend with a 0-1-0 record on the young 2014-15 season. Lincoln will play the first five games of the season at home at the IceBox.
First up for the black and blue will be the Sioux City Musketeers, who have a record of 1-0-0 after getting a 4-3 OT win over the Omaha Lancers in Ralston, NE last Friday. Muskies forward Joe Snively's shorthanded goal with only 36 seconds remaining in the overtime period gave his team the two points. Sioux City goaltender Collin Olson, whom I expect to start against Lincoln, stopped 36 of 39 in the win.
This will be the first of six meetings this season between the Stars and Muskies. In an odd scheduling quirk, these two teams will meet six times between now and December 19th, but no other meetings after that for the remainder of the regular season.
In a rare Sunday afternoon tilt, the Stars will battle the visiting Waterloo Blackhawks who currently have a record of 0-1-0. Last Friday, the Fargo Force squeaked by the Blackhawks by a score of 2-1 at Scheels Arena in Fargo, ND. Waterloo outshot Fargo 39-17 in that particular game, yet still lost. Wow.
A little bit of Lincoln Stars trivia: the last time the Stars played a Sunday home game at the IceBox was way back on October 19th, 2003. Over ten years ago. In that particular game 11 years ago, the Stars beat the Waterloo Blackhawks by a score of 6-1. Current Stars assistant coach Mick Berge had three points (all assists) to led the team in scoring.
Anyway, back to the current-day Waterloo Blackhawks, who appear to have reloaded with yet another high-powered offense this season. Yes, they were held to only one goal against Fargo last weekend, but this Blackhawks squad is going to score plenty of goals this season in the USHL.
The Waterloo scoring attack is led by what some pundits believe is the top offensive line in the league in forwards Brock Boeser (Wisconsin commit), Tom Novak (Minnesota commit), and Tyler Sheehy (Minnesota commit). Now, I'm not 100% sure that Waterloo head coach P.K. O'Hanley will play the above three players on the same line against Lincoln, so we'll have to wait and see.
The two games this weekend will be a good test for the Stars. Sioux City is still my pick to win the USHL western conference, and Waterloo will likely be a playoff team as well. Personally, I think Waterloo is a bit top heavy, meaning they aren't as deep as other USHL teams in the west.
In Stars news....
Lincoln defenseman Ryan Cook, who was obtained last week from Cedar Rapids, has been suspended by the USHL for two games due to his kneeing major penalty at the end of the home opener loss to Tri-City last Friday. Cook will miss both games this weekend.
Quick reminder that the Husker volleyball team will be playing at the Devaney Center on Friday evening at the same time as the hockey game, so be prepared for your typical UNL parking fiasco. Thankfully, this is the last time this season that Husker volleyball and Stars hockey have conflicts on the same night.
I will not be in attendance Friday night, but I will be there Sunday. I'll report back to the blog with recaps of both games. I'm hoping to catch a replay of the Friday night game on FASTHockey sometime late Friday, or early Saturday.
Thanks for reading. Go Stars.