Thursday, December 18, 2014

B³ Pregame Report: Lincoln Stars vs. Sioux City Musketeers

Only one game remains before the seven-day holiday break for the Lincoln Stars, and that game will take place Friday night in Sioux City, IA against the Musketeers at the Tyson Events Center.

Puck drops at 7:05pm CST.

Unless you're lucky enough to be in Sioux City on Friday night, 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 live on FASTHockey for a fee.

With a record of 7-12-3 (12 points) the Lincoln Stars are in seventh place in the USHL western conference, two points ahead of the last place Waterloo Blackhawks.  Since they last played the Musketeers on 12/5/14, the Stars are 1-3-0 in their last four games.  Click here to view the current league standings.

This will be the fifth of six meetings between the Stars and the Musketeers during the 2014-15 regular season.  The Stars have a very respectable 2-2-0 record in their four previous meetings with the Muskies.  Through 22 games played so far this season, the Stars have played the Musketeers more than any other USHL team.  However, after Friday night, the Stars and Muskies will only play one more time during the regular season.

The Musketeers currently occupy first place in the USHL western conference with a record of 16-6-1 (33 points).   In their last seven games played, the Muskies have a record of 5-2-0, and one of those five wins was a 3-1 victory last weekend against the top team in the USHL, the Cedar Rapids Roughriders.

As I right this article on Thursday evening, the Musketeers are in Fargo, ND to take on the Force.  The Force won that game, 4-2.  Sioux City goaltender Collin Olson started for the Muskies against Fargo, so because he was on the losing end, I would not be surprised if backup goaltender Cam Gornet gets the start against Lincoln on Friday evening.  Although Gornet only has 6 games of USHL experience under his belt, one of his two wins on the season came against Lincoln on 11/27/14 in a 2-0 shutout victory in Sioux City.

Much like the two teams the Stars faced last weekend, the Musketeers will be missing some key players from their lineup on Friday.  Forward Joe Snively and defenseman Ryan Zuhlsdorf are representing Team USA at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge in Saskatchewan, Canada.  Defensemen Neal Pionk and Jerad Rosburg are out of the lineup due to injury.

As for the Stars, they are relatively healthy (from what I know), other than forward Christopher Dodero who was placed on the 25-day injured reserve list on 12/10/14.  I've heard rumors of some upcoming player movement on the Stars, but I'll wait until the team announces it.

Stars forward Ludvig Hoff is in Italy at the moment representing Norway in the 2015 IIHF U20 World Championship.  Through four games for Norge, Hoff has racked up 8 points (2g, 6a) and 31 PIM's.  Atta boy, Ludvig.

As I mentioned above, apart from one game, the Stars have played the Muskies pretty close so far this season, to include two wins in four games.  Sioux City will be coming off a road loss, and are a bit shorthanded personnel-wise.  This is another great opportunity for the Stars to pick up two points, and some much needed momentum and confidence heading into the holiday break.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to watch this game on FASTHockey Friday night as it happens, but I plan on watching the replay on Saturday morning and will post a recap article sometime later that day.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

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