Sunday, June 22, 2014

Stars to play in Atlantic Challenge - Fall Classic preseason tournaments

The Lincoln Stars will participate in two different preseason tournaments this September.  One of which is very familiar to Stars fans, the other not so much.

The lesser known USHL Atlantic Challenge preseason tournament had its inaugural run in 2013, and the Lincoln Stars will take part in this tournament this fall.

The dates of this particular tournament are September 5-7, and it will take place in East Meadow, NY.  The three other USHL teams participating in the Atlantic Challenge will be the Muskegon Lumberjacks, Cedar Rapids Roughriders, and the NTDP Team USA squad.

The Stars will play a total of three games at the Atlantic Challenge tournament, against the three other USHL teams I noted above.  The specific game schedule for this tourney is noted below:

USHL Atlantic Challenge Schedule

Friday, September 5th

5:00 PM – Cedar Rapids RoughRiders vs. Lincoln Stars

8:00 PM – Team USA vs. Muskegon Lumberjacks

Saturday, September 6th

3:30 PM – Lincoln Stars vs. Team USA U-18
6:30 PM – Muskegon Lumberjacks vs. Cedar Rapids RoughRiders

Sunday, September 7th

12:30 PM – Lincoln Stars vs. Muskegon Lumberjacks

*All times are Eastern Daylight Time

The fact that this tournament takes place during the first week of September leads me to believe the Stars will report to Lincoln much earlier than in years past.  I'm guessing that the Stars will want to open training camp in mid to late August in order to prepare for the Atlantic Challenge tournament.

The more well known preseason tournament, the annual USHL Fall Classic (West), will take place once again at the Tyson Event Center in Sioux City, IA.

I will post the game schedule of this tournament below, with the two Lincoln games in bold.



USHL Fall Classic West Schedule

Friday, September 19th, 2014

10:00 AM – Muskegon Lumberjacks vs. Fargo Force

1:00 PM – Tri-City Storm vs. Des Moines Buccaneers

4:00 PM – Lincoln Stars vs. Sioux Falls Stampede

7:00 PM – Sioux City Musketeers vs. Omaha Lancers

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

10:00 AM – Tri-City Storm vs. Fargo Force

1:00 PM – Muskegon Lumberjacks vs. Lincoln Stars

4:00 PM – Omaha Lancers vs. Des Moines Buccaneers

7:00 PM – Sioux City Musketeers vs. Sioux Falls Stampede


I like that the Fall Classic West will take place on a Friday-Saturday, as opposed to Thursday-Friday as first announced.  Having it on a Fri-Sat will allow more fans to make the trek to Sioux City and attend the event.

I'm planning on attending at the Fall Classic in Sioux City, but unless I win the lottery in the near future, I will not be in New York in early September for the Atlantic Challenge tournament.

So as of right now, the Stars will play 5 preseason games, unless others are added in the future.  Lets hope we finally get that preseason game at the IceBox we've all been waiting for.

Go Stars.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Yeti's All-B³ Tryout Camp Team - Goal Stats From Camp

One last article about the 2014 Lincoln Stars tryout camp, I promise.  I'm sure some of you are already sick of all the camp updates and are ready to drop the puck.  I'm right there with you.  September can't come soon enough.

I thought I'd highlight some of the non-returning players who impressed me the most at camp and continue our annual B³ tryout camp team.  Nothing against our returning veteran players because ALL of them looked great at camp.  The vets are definitely the top of the food chain, so to speak.  I just thought it might be nice to highlight some of the lesser known players at tryout camp who impressed me the most.  Here they are.

All-B³ Team
Forward: Troy Terry
Forward: Michael Gillespie
Forward: Dominick Mersch
Defense: Cameron Lee
Defense: Wyatt Kalynuk
Goalie: Hunter Shepard

Honorable mention:  (G) Peyton Jones, (D) Ryan Jones, (D) Tony DeVito, (F) August von Ungern-Sternberg, (F) Miguel Fidler, (F) Jack Badini

There's a good chance you'll see most of the players mentioned above in a Lincoln Stars uniform at some point next season, or in the future.

Also, here's a list of the top goal-scorers from camp.  A total of 60 different players scored at least one goal at camp, which is an amazingly high number considering there were 120 total players (108 non-goaltenders) who participated.  I'm only going to post the players who scored two or more goals below.

Goal Leaders:
Sander Boroczky - 5
Biagio Lerario - 5
Dominick Sacco - 5
Jonathan Desbiens - 4
Dominick Mersch- 4
Troy Terry - 4
Josh Bell - 3
Miguel Fidler - 3
Colton Fletcher - 3
Michael Gillespie - 3
Endre Medby - 3
Angus Scott - 3
Luke Voltin - 3
Jack Badini - 2
Elijiah Barriga - 2
Conner Blanck - 2
Darren Brady - 2
Blake Brazil - 2
Willie Brown - 2
Bryce Christensen - 2
Danny DiGrande - 2
Nathan Dingmann - 2
Chris Klack - 2
Wes Michaud - 2
Michael Miller - 2
August von Ungern-Sternberg - 2

Friday, June 20, 2014

Photos from 2014 Lincoln Stars Tryout Camp

Much thanks go to Stars team photographer Brandon Anderson for allowing me to share some of his photos from the 2014 Lincoln Stars tryout camp.

Click the read more link below to view all of the photos in this article.

Stars forward Max Humitz watches the action

2014 Tryout Camp Review and other notes

Photo courtesy of Brandon Anderson
First of all, I want to thank the Lincoln Stars organization for a very successful camp, and for making me feel welcome.  Special thanks to Stars General Manager Jon Hull for providing me with roster sheets for the main camp.  

Just like the last few years, I thought the 2014 camp was run extremely well.  Just about every player parent I talked to at tryouts stated that they thought it was a great idea to hold the camp at Ridder Arena, and the facilities there on campus were top-notch. 


I know most of the fans in Lincoln wish the camp was still held in Omaha, but I'm convinced that hosting the tryouts in Minneapolis has attracted a number of players who might not have reported to Omaha.  I talked to a few parents this past weekend who stated exactly that.  They brought their son to Minneapolis because it was easier to fly/drive into.  Also, there's no doubt that the players are exposed to more college and pro scouts in Minnesota than they would be in Omaha.  So I really hope the Stars organization continues to host this camp in Minneapolis.  It's a winner, without a doubt.

There was some talk late last season from new owner Ryan Schiff of holding the tryout camp at the IceBox in Lincoln, so it will be interesting to see if that comes to fruition next year.  Like any Stars fan, I would really enjoy having a camp here in Lincoln, but the fact remains it is much easier for a player/parent to travel to a city like Minneapolis than it is to Lincoln.  There's also no doubt that the facilities in Minneapolis are 10x better than what is currently in place at the IceBox.

So what's next?  Well, the Lincoln Stars (and every other USHL team) have until July 9th to firm up their 30-player protected roster, along with their 18-player affiliate roster, and send it into the league.  On September 1st, that list of 30 players has to be cut down to 25.  At that time, the Stars will have a 25-player protected list, and the 18 players on their affiliate list.  To understand it a little better, click here to view the protected roster the Stars released after the 2013 camp last year.  I believe any player protected on the affiliate list has to have been previously drafted by the Stars (i.e., no undrafted free agents).  

The 18-player affiliate list next season will consist of ten players born in 1998, six players born in 1997, and two players born in 1996.  Players on the affiliate list can be brought up during the regular season by the Stars at any time.

The Stars will take those 25 protected players, along with some of the affiliate players, to the "USHL Fall Classic West" tournament which will be held in Sioux City, Iowa on September 19th and 20th.  After the mini Fall Classic tourney, the Stars will have to cut down to 23 players and those players will be on the roster on opening night of the 2014-15 USHL regular season.  So the cuts are basically, 30-25-23.  Between now and early October there could still be a lot of roster-shuffling done.  It would not surprise me at all if some trades occur during the offseason.

While some other USHL teams will release their protected roster before the 7/9/14 deadline, I doubt we'll see anything released from the Stars until early July.  I've already heard of a few players who made the Lincoln roster (via Twitter), but until the Stars put out an official release, I won't be posting any rumors here.  As soon as the Stars make it official I will post it here.  Like every year, I'll also post my predictions on which players I think make the roster.  I'll do that before the 7/9/14 deadline.

Speaking of early July, sometime that month the USHL should release the 2014-15 regular season schedule.  It's always interesting to look over the new schedule when that's released.  

I've got a couple of blog articles I'm working on that should be posted this weekend sometime.  The first is my annual "B³ tryout camp all-star team," in which I will highlight some of the top non-veteran players who caught my eye at camp.  I'll also post an article recapping the two preseason tournaments the Stars will play in this September.

If I missed anything, please leave a blog comment or send me an email at lincolnstarshockey@gmail.com.

Go Stars.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

2014 Lincoln Stars Tryout Camp All-Star Game (Live Results)

The 2014 Lincoln Stars tryout camp concludes Sunday with the lone all-star game, which begins at noon.

Click here to view the tryout camp all-star roster.

I'm going to use this blog article today to keep a live, running summary of the action as it happens.  So just keep hitting refresh after noon to see information added below.  I'll use Twitter as well to post info.

Players are currently warming up as I type this.  The all-star game will be run like a normal game with three, 20-minute periods.

1st Period
-First penalty goes to #3 Royal defenseman Tye Ausmus - Tripping at the 2:00 mark.  White on the PP.
-Starting goaltenders are Hunter Shepard for Royal and Peyton Jones for White.
-We're at the halfway point of the first period and the score it still 0-0.  Shots are 9-2 in favor of White
-GOAL: Team Royal goal scored by forward Michael Gillespie at 11:49 mark of the first period.  Nice play by Gillespie to crash the net and pick up a loose rebound a few feet in front of White goaltender Peyton Jones.  Team Royal leads 1-0.
-The first period is complete with Team Royal leading 1-0 over Team White.  Shots are 12-9 in favor of Team White.  I thought both goaltender played very well, especially Hunter Shepard who made some big early saves.  Second period coming up in about 15 minutes.

2nd Period
-We're underway in the second period.  Score is 1-0 Team Royal over Team White.
-Switch in goaltenders as White netminder Tommy Nappier and Royal netminder Quentin Prokopetz enter the game.
-Hooking penalty on White forward Blake Christensen at the 4:05 mark of the period.  Royal goes on the PP.
-GOAL: Team White knots the score at 1-1 with a goal from forward Dominick Mersch.  Primary assist goes to forward Troy Terry who had a nice curl-drag move before finding the wide open Mersch at the side of the net.
-Halfway through the period and the score is still tied at 1-1.  Shots are 19-18 in favor of Team White.
-Hooking penalty on Royal forward Michael Gillespie.  White goes on the PP.
-GOAL: With about a little over a minute left in the second period, a Team Royal turnover in their own zone allowed White forward Troy Terry to gain control of the puck before putting it five-hole past goaltender Quentin Prokopetz. White leads 2-1.
-End of the period with Team White leading 2-1 over Royal.  Shots are 25-24 in favor of Team White.

3rd Period
-We're underway in the third period.  Team White leads 2-1 over Team Royal.
-Royal goaltender Quentin Prokopez, and White goaltender Tommy Nappier are in net to start the period.
-GOAL: Team Royal ties it up thanks to a nifty backhand high-glove side shot by forward Biagio Lerario.  Nice individual effort by the Stars veteran.
-GOAL:  Less than a minute after the Lerario goal, Royal strikes again to take a 3-2 lead.  This time it was forward Chris Klack with the goal.  I have to be honest, I was typing up the Lerario goal and I missed how Klack scored this one.
-Penalty to Royal defenseman Tye Ausmus who get a five-minute major for boarding, I believe.  White defenseman Cameron Lee was on the receiving end of the hit and was slow to get up.  White goes on the PP.
-Royal PK unit does a good job of killing the entire five-minute major on Ausmus.
-I've just been informed we will play a 10 minute 3-on-3 overtime period after the third period, regardless of the score.
-3:46 remaining in the third period with Royal still leading 3-2 over White.
-End of regulation with Team Royal on top 3-2.  Shots were 34-32 in favor of Royal through three periods.

10-minute 3-on-3 OT period
-White goaltender Hunter Shepard and Royal goaltender Peyton Jones are back in net to start the OT period
-Halfway thru the period the score is still 3-2 in favor of White.  Tommy Nappier and Quentin Prokopetz are back in net for their respective teams.
-Royal forward Biagio Lerario is denied on a penalty shot attempt late in the period by White goaltender Tommy Nappier.
-Neither team can score in the OT period.  Royal wins this one by a score of 3-2.

Edit:  I'm going to add some of my thoughts from this game here at the end of the article.

Speed, skill, and youth.  It was certainly on display in the 2014 Lincoln Stars tryout camp all-star game.  It's hard to know what the 2014-15 roster will look like on opening night, but if it looks anything like what I watched on Sunday, the Stars will be a much quicker team than they've ever had in the past.  They'll likely be a very young team, also.

In terms of the goaltenders, I thought all four played very well.  Hunter Shepard was tested early and often in the first period as Royal put 12 shots on goal, but he stopped them all.  I think it's going to be Hunter Shepard and Peyton Jones (both draft picks) who will end up making Lincoln's 30-player protected roster, which must be turned into the league by July 9th.  Shepard and Jones struggled a bit the first couple of days at camp, but I thought both finished very, very strong in the last day or so.

For this all-star game, I'm not going list certain players who stood out to me because they all looked great.  These players wouldn't have been selected for the all-star game if they hadn't had a great camp.

I will, however, name a MVP from each team.  My MVP of Team Royal goes forward Biagio Lerario.  I've mentioned Biagio's name quite a bit during camp, but he deserves the spotlight.  He hustles, plays good defense, hits anything that moves, and scores goals.  You can tell he's ready to take a leadership role on this young team, also.

My MVP of Team White goes to forward Troy Terry who finished this game with 2 points (1g, 1a).  Terry was acquired by the Lincoln Stars just a few weeks ago in the Indiana Ice dispersal draft.  The common theme at camp was the amount of young talented players who stood out, and Terry certainly fits that mold.  Very smart with the puck, and good hockey IQ.  The DU commit should be in Lincoln this fall.

That's it for me at the 2014 Lincoln Stars tryout camp!  I hope what I offered this week was beneficial to those reading.

Later in the week I will post a tryout camp review article, along with my B³ all-star team and total goal statistics from all of the tryout camp games.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

-Tim

Saturday, June 14, 2014

2014 Lincoln Stars Tryout Camp: Day Three (Afternoon)

Team Bollig goaltender Peyton Jones
Photo courtesy of Brandon Anderson
A grey, rainy Saturday in Minneapolis was the setting for day three of the 2014 Lincoln Stars tryout camp at Ridder Arena.

As was the case on Friday, the afternoon session on Saturday began promptly at 2:00pm.  

Not surprisingly, I thought the overall play on Saturday improved compared to what I saw on Friday.  I think the players are getting better accustomed to the pace of play along with feeling more comfortable with their teammates.



Game #10:  Team Boll (Columbia) vs. Team Bartkowski (White)
Team Boll rebounded from a 0-2 hole in this game to score three unanswered goals to beat Team Bartkowski by a score of 3-2.  Team Boll finished the camp with a 3-1 record, while Team Bartkowski finished with a 0-4 record.

Scoring goals for Team Boll was Miguel Fidler (2), and Michael Gillespie..

Scoring goals for Team Bartkowski was Wes Baker and Luke Jaycox.

The Team Boll trio of goaltenders played extremely well in this game.  Both Tommy Nappier and Brady Boudreau pitched a shutout, while Tanner Holmes gave up two goals.

Team Bartkowski goaltender Parker Butler started the first half of this game and gave up one goal.  Team Bartkowski goaltender Hunter Shepard started the second half of the game and gave up two goals.

Players from Team Boll who stood out to me were Miguel Fidler, Dylan Malmquist, Michael Gillespie, Dominick Mersch, Lubos Vacek, and Tony DeVito.  My MVP of Team Boll goes to forward Miguel Fidler who had two goals.  Fidler is a prototype power forward who has a great combination of size and speed.  He's definitely a kid who is not afraid to go to those dangerous areas of the ice to score dirty goals.

Players from Team Bartkowski who stood out to me were Wyatt Kalynuk, Luke Jaycox, Jared Bethune, and Conner Blanck.  My MVP of Team Bartkowski goes to defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk, who is another kid I hope the Stars can find a spot on their roster for.  Wyatt is solid in all aspects of the game, and is one of the better skating defensemen in this camp.

Game #11:  Team Backes (Black) vs. Team Johnson (Grey)
Team Backes exploded for 6 goals in the second half of this game to propel themselves to a 8-3 victory over Team Johnson.  Team Backes finished the tryout camp with a 3-1 record, while Team Johnson finished with a 1-3 record.

Scoring goals for Team Backes was Jonathan Desbiens (2), Nathan Dingmann, Zach Paxman, Angus Scott, Wes Michaud, Troy Terry, and Luke Shiplo.

Scoring goals for Team Johnson was Michael Rosholt, Cameron Lee, and Sander Boroczky.

Team Backes goaltender Jacob Nehama played the first half of this game and did not give up any goals.  Team Backes netminder Holden Kurtz played the second half of the game and surrendered three goals.

Team Johnson goaltender Quentin Prokopetz started the first half of this game and gave up two goals.  Team Johnson goaltender Cody Gibson started the second half and surrendered six goals.

Players from Team Backes who stood out to me were Jonathan Desbiens, Wes Michaud, Blake Christensen, Tyler Jutting, Ryan Jones, Jacob Nehama, and Troy Terry.  My MVP of Team Backes goes to forward Jonathan Desbiens who had two goals and could have easily had two more.  "Frenchy" was easily the best forward on the ice in this game.  Nice to see the Stars veteran playing so well.

Players from Team Johnson who stood out to me were Cameron Lee, Aaron Lara, Sander Boroczky, Ethan Jack Badini, and Ethan Frank.  My MVP of Team Johnson goes to defenseman Cameron Lee.  Like other defensemen (Vacek, Kalynuk) I've gushed about, Cameron is the real deal.  He has to be one of the better skating defenseman I've seen in a long, long time.  He has incredible wheels, and just plays a very poised, controlled game.  He's another player I hope to see on the Stars' roster next season.

Game #12:  Team Dzingel (Yellow) vs. Team Bollig (Royal)
The last game of day three of tryout camp saw Team Bollig get a 5-1 victory over Team Dzingel.  Team Bollig finished the tryout camp with a 3-1 record, while Team Dzingel finished with a 2-2 record.

Scoring goals for Team Bollig was Endre Medby, Colton Fletcher, Dominick Sacco, Chris Klack, and Blake Brazil.

The lone goal scorer for Team Dzingel was Matt Rudin.

Team Bollig goaltender Jake Berger played the first half of this game and surrendered only one goal.  Team Bollig netminder Peyton Jones played the second half of the game and pitched a shutout.

Team Dzingel goaltender Josh Creelman played the first half and gave up one goal.  Team Dzingel netminder Tanner Creel started the second half and surrendered four goals.

Players from Team Bollig who stood out to me were the goaltending duo of Jake Berger-Peyton Jones, Dominick Sacco, Colton Fletcher, Will Scherer, Chris Klack, and Endre Medby.  My MVP of Team Bollig goes to forward Colton Fletcher who has taken full advantage of playing alongside Stars veteran Dominick Sacco.  Colton is another kid who has a good combination of size and skill.  He's also a player who is not afraid to crash the net in order to initiate a scoring opportunity.

Players from Team Dzingel who stood out to me were Quin Foreman, Anthony Wyse, Tyse Ausmus, Josh Creelman, and Harrison Aide.  My MVP of Team Dzingel goes to defenseman Tye Ausmus who is another talented defenseman that I hope we see in Lincoln this next season.  Ausmus is one of those kids who definitely plays bigger than his size.

2014 Lincoln Stars Tryout Camp: Day Three (Morning)

Team Bartkowski forward August von Ungern-Sternberg
Photo courtesy of Brandon Anderson
A grey, rainy Saturday in Minneapolis was the setting for day three of the 2014 Lincoln Stars tryout camp at Ridder Arena.

As was the case on Friday, the morning session on Saturday began bright and early at 7:00am.  

Not surprisingly, I thought the overall play on Saturday improved compared to what I saw on Friday.  I think the players are getting better accustomed to the pace of play along with feeling more comfortable with their teammates.


Game #7:  Team Boll (Columbia) vs. Team Johnson (Grey)
Team Boll (Columbia) scored three goals in the second half in route to a 5-2 win over Team Johnson (Grey).  Team Boll improved to 2-1 with the win, while Team Johnson dropped to 1-2.  Much like yesterday's 7:00am game, I thought the flow of this game was a bit sloppy and disorganized at times.

Scoring goals for Team Boll was Grant Baetsen, Dominick Mersch, Chayse Primeau, Jakob Kranabetter, and Lubos Vacek.

Scoring goals for Team Johnson was Sander Boroczky and Grant Anderson..

As I stated yesterday, Team Boll has three goaltenders on their roster and it's a bit confusing trying to track them coming in and out of these games.  Netminders Tommy Nappier and Tanner Holmes each gave up only one goal a piece during their time in net, while Brady Boudreau did not give up any goals.

Team Johnson goaltender Cody Gibson started the first half of the game and gave up 2 goals.  Team Johnson goaltender Quentin Prokopetz started the second half and gave up three goals.  

Players from Team Boll who stood out to me were Max Humitz, Tristan Mullin, Lubos Vacek, Chayse Primeau and the goaltending trio of Nappier, Holmes, and Boudreau.  My MVP of Team Boll goes to defenseman Lubos Vacek from Czechoslovakia.  This is just my worthless opinion as a blogger, but I really hope the Stars can find a place on their roster for Lubos.  He goes about his job quietly, but he's a very efficient skater and has a terrific first past out of the defensive zone.  I'm a big fan of this kid.

Players from Team Johnson who stood out to me were Cameron Lee, Jack Badini, twins AJ and Christian DiCesare, and Grant Anderson.  My MVP of Team Johnson goes to forward Jack Badini who is putting together a very impressive camp.  He's only a '98, but he does not look out of place.

Game #8:  Team Dzingel (Yellow) vs. Team Bartkowski (White)
In a close one, Team Dzingel (Yellow) skated to a 4-3 overtime shootout victory over Team Bartkowski (White).  With the win, Team Dzingel improved to 2-1 while Team Bartkowski fell to 0-3.

Scoring goals for Team Dzingel was Harrison Aide, Patrick Cozzi, Josh Bell, and Tye Ausmus (overtime shootout game winner).

Scoring goals for Team Bartkowski was August von Ungern-Sternberg, Conner Blanck, and Evan Johnson.

Team Dzingel goaltender Josh Creelman played the first half of this game and pitched a shutout.  Team Dzingel netminder Tanner Creel played the second half of the game and gave up three goals.

Team Bartkowski goaltender Hunter Shepard started the first half of the game and gave up one goal.  Team Bartkowski netminder Parker Butler started the second half and gave up two goals, and the lone shootout goal.

Players from Team Dzingel who stood out to me were Tye Ausmus, Biagio Lerario, Patrick Cozzi, Harrison Aide, and Josh Bell.  For my MVP of Team Dzingel, I'm going to give some love to goaltender Josh Creelman.  Although he only played one half, Creelman did a fantastic job in the first half of this game keeping Team Bartkowski off the scoreboard.    

Players from Team Bartkowski who stood out to me were August von Ungern-Sternberg, Conner Blanck, Wyatt Kalynuk, Casey Dornbach, and Tristan Rostagno.  My MVP of Team Bartkowski goes to forward August von Ungern-Sternberg.  August is a very talented player who I believe is more than ready to make the jump up to the USHL level.  He was around the puck all game long creating havoc.

Game #9:  Team Bollig (Royal) vs. Team Backes (Black)
On the strength of four 2nd-half goals, Team Bollig cruised to a 5-3 victory over Team Backes.  With the win, Team Bollig improved to 2-1, while Team Backes lost their first tryout camp game and fell to 2-1.

Scoring goals for Team Bollig was Luke Voltin (2), Endre Medby, James Ladouce, and Dominick Sacco.

Scoring goals for Team Backes was Michael Miller, Angus Scott, and Wes Michaud..

Team Bollig goaltender Peyton Jones played the first half of this game and pitched a shutout.  Team Bollig netminder Jake Berger played the second half of the game and also gave up one goal.

Team  Backes goaltender Jacob Nehama played the first half and gave up one goal.  Team Backes netminder Holden Kurtz started the second half and gave up four goals.

Players from Team Bollig who stood out to me were Peyton Jones, Will Scherer, Chris Klack, Luke Voltin, Dominick Sacco, and Endre Medby.  My MVP of Team Bollig goes to forward Luke Voltin, who played most of last season with the Stars before he was sent to Minot of the NAHL.  Voltin has size, speed, and great hands, all of which was on display in this particular game.

Players from Team Backes who stood out to me were Jacob Nehama, Ryan Jones, Angus Scott, and Wes Michaud.  My MVP of Team Backes goes to forward Wes Michaud who has come out of nowhere as a free agent to really have a great camp.  He's a bit on the small size, but plays with no fear and manufactured a ton of offensive chances in this game.  

2014 Lincoln Stars Tryout Camp: Day Two (Afternoon)

Day two of tryout camp concluded with three additional games on Thursday afternoon at Ridder Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

As this camp goes along, I think the quality of the hockey has improved, which is to be expected.  At times some of the morning session games were sloppy, but the sharpness of most players got better in the afternoon I thought.

These kids are playing a ton of hockey, especially compared to prior camps.  A total of 64 minutes (running clock) in each game, twice a day.  That's a grind.

Game #4:  Team Boll (Columbia) vs. Team Dzingel (Yellow)
Team Dzingel rebounded from their morning game in which they gave up 9 goals with a solid 5-3 victory over Team Boll.  Both teams finished the first day of tryout camp with a 1-1 record.

Scoring goals for Team Dzingel was Josh Bell (2 - one of those two was an empty net goal), Logan Orem, Danny DiGrande, and Biagio Lerario.

Scoring goals for Team Boll was Max Humitz, Dominick Mersch, and Tony DeVito (younger brother of former Stars forward Jimmy DeVito).

Team Dzingel goaltender Tanner Creel played the first half of this game and gave two goals.  Team Dzingel netminder Josh Creelman played the second half of the game and surrendered only one goal.

Team Boll is the only team that has three goaltenders, and it's a bit difficult to keep track of who is in goal.  Team Boll goaltender Tommy Nappier gave up one goal in this game.  Brady Boudreau (son of Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau) also gave up one goal.  Team Boll goaltender Tanner Holmes played in most of the second half of the game and gave up 3 goals.

Players from Team Dzingel who stood out to me were Biagio Lerario, Demetri Katsis, Anthony Wyse, Josh Bell, and Danny DiGrande.  My MVP of Team Dzingel goes to forward Josh Bell who had the two goals and generated quite a few offensive opportunities on his own.

Players from Team Boll who stood out to me were Tony DeVito, Lubos Vacek, John Schuldt, and Dominick Mersch.  My MVP of Team Boll goes to forward Dominick Mersch who had two very good games on Friday and does not look out of place as a '98.  He has all the tools to be a very good hockey player.

Game #5:  Team Bollig (Royal) vs. Team Johnson (Grey)
Team Bollig exploded for 7 goals in the second half of this game to propel themselves to a 9-4 victory over Team Johnson.  Both teams finished the first day of tryout camp with a 1-1 record.

Scoring goals for Team Bollig was Dominick Sacco (2), Darren Brady (2), Luke Voltin, Jade Miller, Will Scherer,  Colton Fletcher,  Mitch Campbell.  

Scoring goals for Team Johnson was Corey Hoffman, Jack Badini, Dylan Woolf, Aaron Lara.

Team Bollig goaltender Jake Berger played the first half of this game and gave up only 1 goal.  Team Bollig netminder Peyton Jones played the second half of the game and surrendered 3 goals.

Team Johnson goaltender Quentin Prokopetz started the first half of this game and gave up two goals.  Team Johnson goaltender Cody Gibson started the second half and surrendered seven goals.

Players from Team Bollig who stood out to me were Will Scherer, Joe Nathe, Dominick Sacco, Colton Fletcher, and Endre Medby.  My MVP of Team Bollig goes to forward Dominick Sacco who not surprisingly is having a terrific camp.  Sacco easily stands out compared to most of the other forwards here.  He's polished.

Players from Team Johnson who stood out to me were Cameron Lee, Dylan Woolf, Corey Hoffman, Aaron Lara, and Sander Boroczky.  My MVP of Team Johnson goes to forward Aaron Lara, who last season played for the Valencia Flyers, whose head coach is former Stars forward Josh Berge.  Lara had a very solid game and was always in the mix. 

Game #6:  Team Bartkowski (White) vs. Team Backes (Black)
The last game of day two of tryout camp saw Team Backes get a 4-2 victory over Team Bartkowski.  Team Backes improved to 2-0, while Team Bartkowski dropped to 0-2.

Scoring goals for Team Backes was Michael Miller, Jonathan Desbiens, Elijiah Barriga, and Tyler Jutting.

Scoring goals for Team Bartkowski was Conner Blanck and Jared Bethune.

Team Backes goaltender Holden Kurtz played the first half of this game and did not give up any goals.  Team Backes netminder Jacob Nehama played the second half of the game and surrendered two goals.

Team Bartkowski goaltender Parker Butler played the first half and gave up one goal.  Team Bartkowski netminder Hunter Shepard started the second half and surrendered three goals.

Players from Team Backes who stood out to me were Wes Michaud, Tyler Jutting, Angus Scott, Troy Terry, and Elijiah Barriga..  My MVP of Team Backes goes to forward Troy Terry who has showed off some incredible moves so far in this camp.  Really impressed with his game.

Players from Team Bartkowski who stood out to me were Wyatt Kalynuk, Nick Fiorentino, Tyler Augustinsen, Wes Baker, and Jared Bethune.  My MVP of Team White goes to defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk who as a young '97 plays a cool, calm, and composed game.  

2014 Lincoln Stars Tryout Camp: Day Two (Morning)

It's been another long day, but I'm going to bust out two blog articles late this evening to recap the six games played today at the 2014 Lincoln Stars tryout camp.

It all started early this morning at 7:00am with the first game, and the sixth and final game of the day ended at 7:30pm.  That's a lot of hockey with only a 1:15 lunch break.


So far, I've been pretty impressed with the amount of talent here at camp.  It's going to be tough to whittle this roster down to only 23 players to start the season.  I don't envy the GM and the coaches.

Before I get to the recaps, I wanted to mention the particulars of how each of these games are played.  Each game consists of two 32-minute halves (running clock).  If any penalties are called by the refs on the ice, the player on the receiving end of the penalty gets to try a penalty shot.

Game #1:  Team Backes (Black) vs. Team Dzingel (Yellow)
Team Backes (Black) got out to a quick 5-1 halftime lead before holding on for a 9-6 win over Team Dzingel (Yellow).  This game was very sloppy at times, and I think that may have something to do with the early 7:00am start time.  Players are required to be at the rink 60 minutes before their game, so that means these kids were at the rink at 6:00am getting ready.

Scoring goals for Team Backes was Blake Christensen (2), Troy Terry (2), Angus Scott, Nathan Dingmann, Jonathan Desbiens, Jake McLaughlin, and Elijiah Barriga.

Scoring goals for Team Dzingel was Biagio Lerario (3), Willie Brown (2), and Danny DiGrande.

Team Backes goaltender Jacob Nehama played the first half of this game and gave up only one goal, however he was not tested much.  His team played very well in front of him and limited the amount of shots that got to him.  Team Backes goaltender Holden Kurtz played the second half of the game and surrendered 5 goals.

Team Dzingel goaltender Tanner Creel started the first half of the game and gave up 5 goals.  Team Dzingel goaltender Josh Creelman started the second half and gave up four goals.  

Players from Team Backes who stood out to me were Troy Terry, Wes Michaud, Blake Christensen, Ryan Jones, Jonathan Desbiens, and Angus Scott.  My MVP of Team Backes goes to forward Blake Christensen who had two goals and was around the puck all game long.

Players from Team Dzingel who stood out to me were Tye Ausmus, Biagio Lerario, Anthony Wyse, Danny DiGrande, and Josh Owings.  My MVP of Team Dzingel goes to forward Biagio Lerario who hat the hat trick and could have easily scored 4 or 5 goals.  He's been one of the top forwards in this camp thus far.  Really impressed with his game.

Game #2:  Team Bollig (Royal) vs. Team Boll (Columbia)
In a close one, Team Boll (Columbia) skated to a 6-5 victory over Team Bollig (Royal).  Although still high-scoring, this game had much better flow compared to the first game.

Scoring goals for Team Boll was Tristan Mullin, Dylan Malmquist, Adam Papaoyanou, Miguel Fidler, Dominick Mersch, Michael Gillespie.  

Scoring goals for Team Bollig was Endre Medby, Blake Brazil, Colton Fletcher, Dominick Sacco, Patrick Gazzillo.

Team Boll goaltender Tommy Nappier played the first half of this game and gave up 2 goals.  Team Boll netminder Tanner Holmes played the second half of the game and surrendered 3 goals.

Team Bollig goaltenders Peyton Jones (first half) and Jake Berger (second half) each gave up three goals in their respective halves.

Players from Team Boll who stood out to me were Dominick Mersch, Max Humitz, Dylan Malmquist, Miguel Fidler, Connor Frantti, and Lubos Vacek..  My MVP of Team Boll goes to forward Michael Gillespie.  Although Gillespie is an undersized forward, he's fearless with and without the puck.  Really impressed with his tenaciousness in this game.  

Players from Team Bolling who stood out to me were James Ladouce, Colton Fletcher, Dominick Sacco, Sam Field, and Josef Suska.  My co-MVP's of Team Bollig are going to go to forwards Dominick Sacco and Colton Fletcher.  Both players were on the same line and generated a ton of offensive chances.  They seemed to have some very good chemistry.  

Game #3:  Team Bartkowski (White) vs. Team Johnson (Grey)
In a lower scoring affair compared to the other two morning games, Team Johnson (Grey) beat Team Bartkowski (White) by a score of 4-2.

Scoring goals for Team Johnson was Sander Boroczky (3), and Jack Badini.

Scoring goals for Team Bartkowski was August von Ungern-Sternberg, and Brett Horn.

Team Johnson goaltender Cody Gibson played the first half of this game and gave up only one goal.  Team Johnson netminder Quentin Prokopetz played the second half of the game and also gave up one goal.

Team  Bartkowski goaltender Hunter Shephard played the first half and gave up one goal.  Team Bartkowski netminder Parker Butler started the second half and surrendered three goals.

Players from Team Johnson who stood out to me were Cameron Lee, Hunter Anderson, Jack Badini, and Sander Boroczky.  My MVP of Team Johnson goes to forward Sander Boroczky who had the hat trick and showed some good explosiveness with the puck. 

Players from Team Bartkowski who stood out to me were Wes Baker, Wyatt Kalynuk, Tristan Rostagno, August von Ungern-Sternberg, and Casey Dornbach.  My MVP of Team Bartkowski goes to forward Wes Baker.  As a free agent, Baker is relatively unknown to me, but he showed good poise with the puck in this game.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

2014 Lincoln Stars Tryout Camp: Day One

Stars head coach Chris Hartsberg (center) addresses players before practice
It's been a long day, but I want to get a quick article up before I go to bed and get up early for day two of the tryout camp.

There are a total of 120 players here at 2014 camp divided into 6 teams.  Each team consists of two goaltenders, six defensemen, and twelve forwards.

I've been asked by the Stars to not post the tryout roster sheets on this blog, or on Twitter.


So unlike in years past, you will not see the camp roster sheets posted here.  However, I was told I am allowed to mention specific players here and on Twitter.  So although I'm not exactly happy with not being able to post the roster sheets here, I'm glad I will be able to highlight players who catch my eye.

Players from last year's Stars team who are here at camp are: Jacob Nehama, Luke Shiplo, Tristan Rostagno, Patrick Gazzillo, Connor Frantti, Jonathan Desbiens, Blake Christensen, Keegan Ward, Dominick Sacco, Max Humitz, Hunter Anderson, Luke Voltin, and Biagio Lerario.  Missing are forwards Ludvig Hoff, Brandon Smith and Thomas Carey.  A surprising camp addition from last season is defenseman Luke Shiplo.  I had thought Shiplo was attending Western Michigan this fall, but I guess that's not the case.

Of the 45 players previously protected by the Stars that I highlighted in this blog article, all but six are here at camp.  Those six missing are: (D) Austin Cho, (F) Michael Floodstrand, (F) Jacob Harris, (D) Michael Prapavessis, (D) Liam Schioler, and (F) Kyle Weller.  Floodstrand will play for Team USA U-18 next season, while Prapavessis will be attending RPI.  So all in all, a very good turnout.

Unlike in years past, the Stars opened up training camp with team practices instead of jumping right into games.  Although as a fan it wasn't the most exciting thing to watch tonight (queue Allen Iverson), I think it's a great idea to give the players some time to adjust.  Instead of throwing them right into a game environment the very first day, the Stars allowed them to ease into the tryout camp with a good practice.  It also gives the players a chance to get to know their teammates before the games begin in force tomorrow.

Stars head coach Chris Hartsberg led all of the three practices this evening, with assistant coach Mick Berge and goaltending coach Chris Holt helping out.  The practices were very fast paced, with constant back-and-forth action.  These were only practices, so I don't feel comfortable singling out players who stood out.  I will do that during the games, however.

Looking at the roster sheet I was given by the Stars, this is a very young camp.  There are only 5 players born in 1994 in this group of 120 participants.  There are a ton of players here born between 1996-98.  This may be an indication on the type of team the Stars have this next season.  Young, but very talented and hungry.

The schedule of games tomorrow starts very early, with the first scrimmage beginning at 7:00am.  I will post frequent game updates on Twitter, so check that out when you can.  I will tweet final scores from each game, and goal scorers.  There isn't much of a lunch break tomorrow, so blog updates will come late Friday after the last game is done.

That's about it!  Time for me to get some sleep and start this all over again in the morning.  If you have any specific questions you'd like to ask, please email me at lincolnstarshockey@gmail.com or leave a comment below.  Thanks for reading.  -Yeti (Tim)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Last article before tryout camp

This will be my last article before I leave Wednesday afternoon for Minneapolis and begin blogging from the tryout camp.  My next article should be posted late Thursday evening, after the first session.  

Click here to view the tryout camp schedule.  

We will also try to post the tryout camp rosters here on the blog as soon as I receive them.

There is free wifi available inside Ridder Arena, so I may try to do some updates during the day, but most of my camp recap articles will come later at night after the scrimmages are complete. 

 I am also going to utilize the "Black and Blue" Twitter account quite often throughout the camp with quick bits of information during each day.  I'll include that link below. 

 It might be a good idea to bookmark the Twitter link in order to follow along.  Better yet, if you're on Twitter already, give the B³ a follow.

B³ Twitter Page:  Click Here

Looking at the Ridder Arena seating chart (pictured below-click to enlarge), I will most likely camp out at the top of section 12 or 13, so if you see me sitting there taking notes, please feel free to introduce yourself.  I always enjoy meeting the folks who read this blog.  If you want to spot me, I'm about 6'3", 200 pounds, glasses, beard, and I will probably be wearing a black "Bauer" jacket.  I'll also be lugging around my laptop backpack. 


If there are any specific questions you have about the camp, or about certain players, feel free to leave a comment on any of the articles posted in the next four days.  If you'd rather stay anonymous, you can send me an email at lincolnstarshockey@gmail.com.  Thanks.  -Yeti (Tim)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

B³ Preview: 2014 Lincoln Stars Tryout Camp

Ridder Arena - Minneapolis, MN
With the Lincoln Stars 2014 tryout camp less than a week away, I thought it might be a good idea to do a quick preview for those interested.  Last year at the 2013 tryout camp, 115 players were in attendance, divided into six teams.  The 2014 camp will also have six teams, so I am assuming another group of 110+ players will be competing.  Click here to view the camp schedule.

Let's first look briefly at the Lincoln players from last season who *could* be in attendance:


From 2013-14 season:
F - Hunter Anderson ('94)
F - Thomas Carey
F - Blake Christensen
F - Jonathan Desbiens (import)
F - Ludwig Hoff (import)
F - Max Humitz
F - Biagio Lerario
F - Dominick Sacco
F - Brandon Smith ('94)
F - Luke Voltin
F - Keegan Ward
D - Connor Frantti ('94)
D - Patrick Gazzillo 
D - Tristan Rostagno
G - Jacob Nehama

Players born in 1994 are considered "overagers" in the eyes of the USHL next season.  Each USHL team can roster only (4) overagers on their team.  Also, teams can roster only (4) import players (players born outside of the USA).

Just because a player spent last season with the Stars doesn't mean that they automatically have a spot on the roster for next season.  We have seen veteran players in the past get cut after the tryout camp, so nothing is guaranteed.  Everyone has to earn a spot.  More so now than in years prior, all roster spots are up for grabs with a new general manager (Jon Hull) and head coach (Chris Hartsburg) on board.

Per the USHL, the Lincoln Stars and every other team in the league must cut down to 30 players on its main roster and another 18 on its affiliate roster by July 10.  Then just before the 2014-15 regular season begins, the coaches will cut down to 23 players on the main roster.  Those 23 players will start the regular season on the main roster.

For the majority of the 2013-14 regular season, the Stars rostered a total of 14 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders (23 total players).  So when you consider the number of veteran players coming back, all of the former draft picks, and then all of the free agent invites, there will be a lot of competition for only 23 spots on the roster.  

Tryout camp can definitely be an intimidating atmosphere for a new player.  If a player shows up and has a bad couple of days, there's good reason to believe that they might not make it on the roster, or even worse, not get protected by the Stars..  It doesn't mean that player is bad, or isn't deserving, but the camp can be a pressure cooker.  If you don't impress the coaches in those couple of days at camp, you can easily find yourself on the outside looking in.

One of the things I enjoy most about the tryout camp every year is watching the invited non-drafted players who come out of nowhere and perform very well.  Last year, it was forwards Brandon Smith and  Hunter Anderson.  Two years ago it was forward Michael Neville from Canada.  Three years ago it was forward Will Suter and goaltender Charles Williams.  

Each year it seems like a few "free agent" players appear at camp as relative unknowns to make the team.  Can't wait to see those players in action.  It is definitely a lot harder for a non-drafted player to make the team, and I enjoy rooting for those "underdog" players.

The above is just one fan's opinion.  I'll post a quick article on Tuesday before I leave for Minnesota on Wednesday afternoon.  

Sunday, June 1, 2014

B³ Prospect Watch: Tryout Camp Edition

I thought I'd create a list of all of the players previously drafted (or acquired via trade or free agency) by the Lincoln Stars who could be at the 2014 tryout camp next week in Minneapolis, MN.  

Some of these players were just drafted by the Stars last month, while some others were drafted in 2013, or 2012, and have been previously protected by the team.  

This list does not include players who suited up for at least 10 games for the Stars last season.  I will post a different article soon and mention the players from last season who could be at Ridder Arena next week trying out for the Stars.


This particular blog article is VERY long.  I didn't want to hog the entire page of the website with this lone post, so click the "Read more" link below to check it out.  Thanks.