Sunday, November 30, 2014

B³ Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

Michael Gillespie celebrates after a goal against Cedar Rapids
Courtesy of Brandon Anderson Photography
The Lincoln Stars went 0-2-1 in three games over the long Thanksgiving weekend with regulation losses to Sioux City and Des Moines, and an overtime shootout loss to Cedar Rapids.

Boxscores:
11/26:  Cedar Rapids 4, Lincoln 3 OT SO
11/27:  Lincoln 0, Sioux City 3
11/29:  Des Moines 3, Lincoln 2

The losses dropped Lincoln record to 5-9-3 (13 points) on the season.  The Stars are in seventh place in the USHL western conference, one point ahead of the Waterloo Blackhawks who have lost 9 straight games.

Click here to view the current league standings.

I'm going to quickly recap each game below.  Instead of individual articles for each game I thought I'd combine all three games into one recap article.

Cedar Rapids 4, Lincoln 3 OT SO

In what was their best effort over the long weekend, the Stars outplayed the top team in the USHL for 60 minutes but came up short in the shootout.

Dominick Sacco got the Stars on the scoreboard very early in this game to give his team a 1-0 lead and pump up the fans in attendance.  However, the Roughriders exploded for three straight goals in the remaining minutes of the first period to take a 3-1 lead into the first intermission.  All three CR goals (one was shorthanded) were on breakaways.

Despite the score, I really thought the Stars played well in that first period.  They made a few mistakes that Cedar Rapids converted into goals.  The Roughriders took full advantage of the few offensive chances they had in the period, but otherwise I thought Lincoln was the better team.

Down 3-1 to the top team in the USHL, the Stars could have easily rolled over on their backs and let the Roughriders rack up even more goals, but Lincoln didn't quit.  Stars goaltender Peyton Jones and his teammates shut the door on the potent Roughriders offense the rest of the game, while Michael Gillespie scored once in the second period and once in the third period to knot the score at 3-3 after sixty minutes.

Neither team scored in the overtime period so this game was decided by a skills competition (shootout).  The only goal scored in the shootout came from the Roughriders which gave them the two points and the 4-3 victory.

Shots were 26-23 in favor of Cedar Rapids.  Stars goaltender Peyton Jones stopped 23 of 26 and 2 of 3 in the shootout.  Lincoln went 1-for-4 on the powerplay while the Roughriders went 0-for-6.  Credit the Lincoln penalty kill unit for keeping the Stars in this game.  Cedar Rapids had one of the top powerplay units in the league, and the Stars put a blanket on them all game long.

Considering how well the Stars played against the top team in the league, I had hopes they would ride that momentum and play even better against Sioux City and Des Moines.  Unfortunately, that didn't happen.

Lincoln 0, Sioux City 3

For the first time this season, the Stars were shutout as the Musketeers blanked the Stars in Sioux City, IA by a score of 3-0.

I'm not sure I want to devote a lot of time to this particular recap.  It wasn't an enjoyable experience to watch it on FASTHockey.  Mentally (and physically), I'm not sure the Stars ever got off the bus.  It was ugly.  The only positive was the play of goaltender Cam Hackett, who stopped 37 of 39 shots in the loss.  You can't ask more from your goaltender on the road than what Cam provided.  He just didn't get any help.

The Muskies got out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, and outshot the Stars 17-5.  In fact, the Muskies outshot Lincoln 31-8 through the first two periods.  SC scored a meaningless empty-net goal to round out the scoring very late in the third period.  The final shot total was 40-20 in favor of SC.  From my viewing on FASTHockey, I think the off-ice officials in Sioux City were generous in giving Lincoln 20 shots on goal.

Anyway, the shutout loss was certainly a letdown compared to the way the played the night before against Cedar Rapids.

Des Moines 3, Lincoln 2

The Stars snatched defeat from the jaws of victory Saturday night as the Des Moines Buccaneers scored two late powerplay goals to come from behind and beat Lincoln by a score of 3-2 at the IceBox.

For the most part, I thought Lincoln played pretty well the first half of this game, but seemed to tire as the game went on.  Like the Omaha game last Friday at the IceBox, I thought the bigger, more physical Bucs wore down Lincoln, which showed in the third period.

Max Humitz gave the Stars a 1-0 lead very late in the first period, and at the time it seemed like the Stars would take the lead into the first intermission.  However, the Bucs scored a powerplay goal with only 2.6 seconds remaining to take the wind out of the Stars' sail and knot the game at 1-1 going into the first intermission.

After a scoreless second period, Patrick Polino opened the scoring in the third period with a shorthanded tally which gave Lincoln a 2-1 lead with roughly 14 minutes remaining in the game.  The IceBox exploded.  The Stars had all the momentum on their side, and from my seat, I really thought the team would rally together and hold off the Bucs.

However, a careless double-minor penalty for high-sticking was called on Lincoln's Joe Lappin at the 10:36 mark of the third period was the beginning of the unraveling.  Bucs forward Tanner Karty scored two powerplay goals during the ensuing four-minute penalty to Lappin to give the Bucs all that they would need to escape the IceBox with two points.

As good as Lincoln's penalty kill unit had looked the last home game against Cedar Rapids, it looked just as bad against Des Moines.  Special teams woes continue to haunt the Stars.  The Bucs went 3-for-7 on the powerplay, while the Stars went 0-for-2.  For the most part, the Stars have cleaned up the undisciplined stick-related penalties that we saw a lot of the past couple of seasons, but they were front and center Saturday night, unfortunately.

Stars goaltender stopped 35 of 38 shots in the loss.  Again, I'm not sure you can ask for more from your goaltender than what Cam provided in these past two games.  He stopped 72 of 77 shots on goal (.935 save percentage) in the two regulation losses to Sioux City and Des Moines.

The long weekend started off pretty well with the Stars playing an inspired, 60-minute effort against Cedar Rapids, but it ended with a thud with the shutout loss to Sioux City and the third period collapse against Des Moines.

Sorry for the abbreviated recaps of these three games.  I wanted to take full advantage of the long weekend and spend as much time as possible with family.

The Stars will be back in action this upcoming weekend with a Friday night home tilt against the Sioux City Musketeers, and a Saturday road game against the Omaha Lancers.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

B³ Thanksgiving Preview: Cedar Rapids, Sioux City and Des Moines


The Lincoln Stars will will play three games over the long Thanksgiving weekend against some of the top teams in the USHL right now.

Wednesday evening at the IceBox, the Stars will host the red-hot Cedar Rapids Roughriders.  On Thanksgiving evening in Sioux City, IA, the Stars will battle the Musketeers.  The Stars will wrap up the weekend with a Saturday night tilt back at the IceBox against the Des Moines Buccaneers.

Puck drops at 7:05pm CST for each of the three games.

If you you can't make it to any of the games this long 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 are currently tied for last place in the USHL western conference with a record of 5-7-2 (12 points).  Click here to view the current league standings.

Wednesday's opponent will be the top team in the USHL right now, the Cedar Rapids Roughriders. This will be the first of only two meetings between the Stars and the Roughriders during the 2014-15 season.  The final regular season matchup will take place in Cedar Rapids on 4/1/15.

 The 'Riders have a record of 15-2-0 (30 points) and are in first place in the USHL eastern conference.  Cedar Rapids has the top goal scorer in the league (Jiri Fronk - 15 goals in 17 games), the top goaltender in the league (Ben Blacker: 10-2-0, 2.01 goals against average, .941 save percentage), the top scoring offense (4.3 goals per game) and top defense (1.9 goals against per game) in the league, and they are in the top three in both powerplay (25.3%; 2nd overall) and penalty kill percentage (88.5%; 3rd overall).  Wow.

To say the Stars will have their hands full in this game is an understatement.  You will not find a team in the USHL that is clicking as well as the Roughriders are right now.  However, we've seen the Stars play a 60-minute game and beat very good hockey clubs this season.  The Roughriders put their skates on just the same as the Stars, so there's no reason to think that this is an automatic win for Cedar Rapids.  If they don't take the Stars seriously and just half-ass it, Lincoln can certainly win this game with a 60-minute effort.  Winning the special teams war is a must for the Stars, also.

On a rare, Thanksgiving night game, the Stars will travel to the Tyson Event Center Sioux City, IA to battle the Musketeers.  The Muskies are in first place in the USHL western conference with a record of 13-4-1 (27 points).  This will be the third of six meetings between the Stars and Muskies so far this season.  Lincoln is 1-1-0 in the prior two games against Sioux City.  The last times these two teams met in Sioux City, which was on 10/25/14, the Muskies prevailed by the score of 5-3.

The last time the Stars played on Thanksgiving was in 2010, on the road in Sioux City against the Musketeers.  Lincoln won that game in OT by the score of 2-1.  Dominick Shine had the game winning goal in OT.  Let's hope history repeats itself four years later.

Sioux City is on a bit of a roll as of late, going 5-1-0 in their last six games played.  During those six games, the Muskies outscored their competition 32-20.  In their last game at home, the Muskies scored 7 goals on a very good Tri-City squad to win, 7-5.  Sioux City forward Joel Janatuinen (from Finland) had three goals and 1 assist to lead the Muskies on offense in that particular game.

Lincoln's final opponent this Turkey Day weekend will be the Des Moines Buccaneers who are in third place in the USHL western conference with a record of 9-6-2 (20 points), 8 points ahead of the Stars.  This will be the third of eight meetings between the two teams this season.  Lincoln is 1-1-0 in the prior two games against the Bucs, winning their last meeting by a score of 5-2 at the IceBox on 11/11/14.

After starting the season on an incredible tear, the Bucs have cooled down as of late.  After beating the Stars in Des Moines on 11/8/14 by the score of 5-3, the Buccaneers have lost four straight games and were outscored 18-6 in those four losses.  The Buccaneers play Tri-City at home on Wednesday this week, and against Omaha on Friday in Des Moines leading up to the road game Saturday night at the IceBox against Lincoln.

Three games in four days for the Stars this week, and they are playing some quality competition.  It won't be easy but I'd like to see the Stars get at least 4 points out of the upcoming three games.  These three contests should also be a good litmus test to see how the Stars respond after the disappointing home loss last Friday against the Omaha Lancers.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

B³ Postgame Recap: Omaha 4, Lincoln 1

Blake Christensen trades punches with an Omaha player
Courtesy of Brandon Anderson Photography
The Omaha Lancers marched into the IceBox on Friday night and outworked the Lincoln Stars in route to a 4-1 victory in front of a near sellout crowd.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

The loss dropped the Stars back down to last place tie with Waterloo in the USHL western conference with a record of 5-7-2 (12 points).

 Click here to view the current league standings.



I really, really liked the way the Stars started this game.  They were buzzing around the Omaha net and put some quality shots on Lancers goaltender Hayden Hawkey.  I mentioned this on Twitter, but based on what I saw in the first period, I wouldn't have expected that the Stars would have lost the game 4-1.

Neither team would find the back of the net in the first twenty minutes.  Shot totals were 12-7 in favor of Omaha in the first period, but the Stars had to kill a five-minute major for boarding which was whistled on forward Miguel Fidler.  Lincoln's PK unit did a great job killing that long major and momentum really seemed to be on their side at that point in the first.

As well as I thought Lincoln played in the first period, for the most part, it was all Omaha the final two periods of this game.

The Lancers scored two in the second, and two in the third period (including an empty-netter).  Down 3-0 late in the third period, the Stars spoiled Hawkey's shutout attempt thanks to a powerplay goal by Lincoln forward Ludvig Hoff.

Shots were 27-22 in favor of Omaha in this game.  Stars goaltender Cam Hackett stopped 23 of 26 shots in the loss.  Omaha goaltender Hayden Hawkey didn't have to work too hard to get the win, stopping 21 of 22 shots.

Lincoln went 1-for-4 on the powerplay while Omaha went 0-for-3.  I thought Lincoln's PK unit did a great job in this game, however the PP unit still is a mess.  They did get the one goal, but otherwise I thought it looked very disorganized.  I haven't seen a lot of improvement in terms of the PP unit so far this season.  It flat out looks terrible.  The Stars had plenty of PP opportunities in the third period to get back into this game, but many times couldn't even get the puck into the Omaha zone.

I know a lot of Stars fans were upset at the officiating last night, but the Lancers definitely deserved to win this game.  They made some adjustments in between the first and second periods and out-muscled the Stars during the last forty minutes.  The Lancers were bigger, stronger and wanted it more than Lincoln.  From my seat it seemed like the Stars wilted as the game progressed due to Omaha's physical play and intense forecheck.  Lincoln had no answer.  Omaha simply ground them down.

It certainly doesn't get any easier for the Stars as their next two games are against the top two teams in the USHL right now.  This upcoming Wednesday (day before Thanksgiving) at the IceBox, the Stars will host the red-hot Cedar Rapids Roughriders, who have the top record in the USHL at 14-2-0.

Then on Thanksgiving day in Sioux City, the Stars will take on the Musketeers, who are tops in the western conference with a record of 12-4-1.  Some tough games ahead, but all games at this point are tough.  There are no easy games in the USHL.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

B³ Pregame Report: Omaha Lancers vs. Lincoln Stars

Stars forward Brad Hawkinson scores the GWG in OT
to beat Omaha at the IceBox on 3/23/13
Courtesy of Shooting Star Photography
The best rivalry in all of junior hockey continues this Friday evening when the Lincoln Stars host the Omaha Lancers at the IceBox.

The Stars will only play the lone home game this weekend, but it's a big one.

Puck drops at 7:05pm CST for the game Friday night against the Lancers.

If you can't make it to the 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 live on FASTHockey for a fee.



With a record of 5-6-2 (12 points) the Lincoln Stars are in sixth place in the USHL western conference, one point ahead of the last place Omaha Lancers.  The Stars are 2-0-1 in their last three games played.  Click here to view the current league standings.

This will be the first of eight meetings between the Stars and the Lancers during the 2014-15 regular season. The Stars' all-time record against the Lancers is 53-63-12 (Home: 31-26-8; Away: 22-37-4).  Thanks to Mike Melbye for those all-time stats.

As I mentioned above, the Lancers currently occupy last place in the USHL western conference with a record of 4-7-3 (11 points).   Although they started the season very slow, winning only once in their first nine games played , the Lancers have rebounded a bit and are 3-1-1 in their last five games played.

Still, it's odd to see the Lancers near the bottom of the standings.  Most pundits expected them to be a pretty good team this season, especially considering the amount of players returning from last season, which includes 2013-14 USHL Goaltender of the Year, Hayden Hawkey.

Offensively, the Lancers have really struggled to score goals so far this season.  Through 14 games, Omaha has scored only 31 total goals (2.2 average per game), which is dead last in the USHL.  To compare, the Stars average 3.3 goals scored through 13 games played.

One player for the Lancers who has not had any trouble scoring goals is forward Shane Gersich.  The University of North Dakota commit (and Washington Capitals draft pick) has racked up 15 points (10g, 5a) so far this season.  His 10 goals accounts for 32% of the total goals the Lancers have scored this season.  Gersich is definitely a player the Stars will need to watch closely Friday night at the IceBox.

The Stars are coming off a very successful long road trip to Youngstown, OH where they earned 3 of a possible 4 points with a 5-4 OT loss last Friday against the Phantoms, and then a 4-3 OT win on Sunday.

Switching gears....

Courtesy of Brandon Anderson Photography
For the second time so far this season, Lincoln Stars d-man Cam Lee was named the USHL Defenseman of the Week.

Click here to read more about that.

Here's an excerpt from the USHL.com article linked above:

Cam Lee, D, Lincoln Stars:  The defenseman had two points (1g, 1a) and registered a plus-seven rating in helping the Stars earn five of a possible six points in the standings during the week.  He was a plus-one in Tuesday’s 5-2 victory over the Des Moines Buccaneers as the Stars snapped a three-game losing streak.  

The 17-year-old then scored a goal and finished with a game high plus-three rating in Friday’s 5-4 shootout loss to the Youngstown Phantoms.  Lee then finished his week by dishing out an assist and again finishing with a game high plus-three rating in Sunday’s 4-3 overtime win against Youngstown.  The Ferguson’s Cove, Nova Scotia native has eight points (4g, 4a) through 10 games this season, tying for 11th in scoring among USHL defensemen.  He is committed to Providence College.

Courtesy of Brandon Anderson Photography
In other news breaking this week, Lincoln Stars forward Michael Gillespie has committed to play college hockey at Ohio State University, starting the fall of 2015.

 Click here to read more about that.

Here's an excerpt from the article linked above:

Lincoln Stars forward Michael Gillespie has committed to play college hockey at Ohio State University following his USHL career.



Gillespie is currently tied for the team lead with 11 points (9g, 2a) in 13 games for the Stars this season.  His nine goals are tied for the sixth-most overall in the USHL.  The 18-year-old has netted eight goals over his last nine games.

The New City, New York native came to the Stars after being selected by the team in Phase Two of the 2014 USHL Draft.  He previously played for the New Jersey Rockets and New York Saints hockey programs.  Last year, he was named the EHL Rookie of the Year while playing for the Rockets.

Gillespie is joined by Stars teammate Miguel Fidler who is also committed to Ohio State University.

World War III kicks off tomorrow night in front of what will hopefully be a sellout IceBox crowd.  No matter where each team is at in the standings, these battles between the Stars and the Lancers are always epic.  Can't wait to see another one in person.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

B³ Postgame Recap: Lincoln 4, Youngstown 3 OT

Stars forward Biagio Lerario scored the game-winning goal with only 28 seconds remaining in overtime tonight in Youngstown, OH to give Lincoln a 4-3 sudden-death victory over the Phantoms.

The Stars earned three of four possible points this weekend on their long road trip to Youngstown.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the win and the two points, the Stars improved to 5-6-2 (12 points) on the season, and have moved into 6th place in the USHL western conference.  Click here to view the current league standings.

I was traveling to Colorado this afternoon, and I caught bits and pieces of this game on the 93.7 FM "The Ticket" radio app.  I was hoping to watch a replay of the game tonight, but I have crappy wifi where I am at, so that's not going to happen.  So as a result, this "recap" will be very brief.  I apologize for that.

Each team scored one goal a piece in each of the three periods tonight.  The Phantoms got out to an early 1-0 lead at the 5:11 mark of the first period, however Stars forward Miguel Fidler answered with his second goal of the season much later to knot the game at 1-1.  Shots were even at 12-12 through twenty minutes.

Youngstown took a 2-1 lead at the 7:18 mark of the second period, but once again, the Stars would answer back.  Michael Gillespie scored his team-leading 9th goal of the season at the 12:01 mark of the middle stanza to even the score at 2-2.  Shots were 15-7 in favor of Youngstown in the second period.

The Stars actually took a 3-2 lead at the 4:31 mark of the third period on a Grant Jozefek breakaway.  The Phantoms answered quickly less than a minute later to tie the game at 3-3, where the score would stay through sixty minutes.  Shots were 12-8 in favor of Lincoln in the final period in regulation.

In the five-minute, 4-on-4 overtime period, Stars forward Biagio Lerario scored the game-winning goal with only 28 seconds remaining to win the game for Lincoln.

Stars goaltender Cam Hackett stopped 33 of 36 shots on goal to record his third win of the season.  From what I was told by people who watched the game, Cam played very, very well and was a big reason why the Stars were able to get the two points tonight.

Lincoln went 0-for-1 on the powerplay (only one PP in the entire game?), while the Phantoms went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.

Nice to see the Stars were able to blank the Phantoms on the powerplay tonight as the Phantoms went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.  As I said the other day, once this team starts winning more and more special teams wars during games, they'll start picking up more points.  5-on-5 this team can play with any team in the league.

It's also nice to see forward Miguel Fidler pick up two big points tonight (he had one goal and the primary assist on the Lerario's GWG).  Fidler has struggled at times this season, but it appears he's turning it around and playing with more confidence.  He came into this season with a lot of hype behind his name, being an Ohio State commit and Florida Panthers draft pick.  Fidler started slow, scoring only two points in his first ten games played. but he has three points in his last three games.

The Stars will be back in action this Friday at the IceBox against their rival the Omaha Lancers.  No matter where each team is in the rankings, the Stars and Lancers always battle hard during these rivalry games.  Can't wait for that one.  World War III comes to the IceBox this Friday night.  I can't wait.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

B³ Postgame Recap: Lincoln 4, Youngstown 5 OT Shootout

The Youngstown Phantoms scored the game-tying goal with only one minute remaining in the third period before winning in the OT shootout Friday evening to beat the visiting Lincoln Stars by a score of 5-4.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the OT loss, the Stars dropped to 4-6-2 (10 points) on the season.  With the one point the Stars earned, they are now in a tie with the Omaha Lancers for last place in the USHL western conference.  Click here to view the current league standings.

I caught bits and pieces of this game on FASTHockey on Friday night, but I was able to sit down and watch the replay this morning.

There was no scoring in the first period of this game, but overall I thought Lincoln played pretty well.  No slow start for Lincoln either as the Stars outshot the Phantoms 10-7 in the first twenty minutes.  Lincoln's penalty kill unit, and goaltender Peyton Jones, were tested three times in the first period and held the Phantoms off the scoreboard.

Patrick Polino gave the Stars a 1-0 lead early in the first period thanks to some good teamwork between Polino and Grant Jozefek deep in the Phantoms' zone.  Polino forced a Youngstown defender to make a pass sooner than he wanted to, and Grant Jozefek jumped on the turnover.  From along the boards, Jozefek quickly turned and wristed a backdoor pass across the slot to a streaking Polino who one-timed the puck into the net.

After the Polino goal, it seemed like the Phantoms kicked it into a higher gear and really put some heavy pressure on the Stars' defense and Peyton Jones.  Jones really had to make some big sames in the early to mid portion of the second period to keep the Phantoms off the scoreboard.

However, a Youngstown powerplay goal at the 10:16 mark tied this game at 1-1.  On that particular goal, the shot came from just inside the blueline and it appeared that Jones may have been screened.

Just about two minutes after their first goal of the game, Youngstown struck again on a rebound shot past Jones.  On that goal, a quick shot off a faceoff in the Lincoln zone looked looked like it was initially saved by Jones, but the rebound went right to a Youngstown forward who capitalized with the goal.

Youngstown took a 2-1 lead into the second intermission.  Shots were 14-7 in favor of the Phantoms in the second period.

In a wild and crazy third period, both teams combined for five goals scored, including four in the last five minutes of the game.

At the 11:48 mark of the third period, Dominick Sacco scored on an odd-man rush to even the score at 2-2.  After a bit of a slow start to the season, Dom has really exploded as of late.  In the first 6 games of the season, Sacco had 3 points (all assists).  In his last 6 games played, Dominick has scored 8 points (5g, 3a).

Youngstown's third goal of the game, which was shorthanded, was definitely the one goal the Stars would want back.  Lincoln turned the puck over in their own zone when they had numbers, and Phantoms forward Ryan Lomberg somehow got loose with the puck before he backhanded a shot glove-high past Jones.  It was an ugly goal that really shouldn't have happened had the Stars protected the puck better in their own zone.

The shorthanded goal by Lomberg gave the Phantoms a 3-2 lead with just about 5 minutes remaining in the third period.  Rather than roll over and give up the two points to the Phantoms, the Stars dug and and mounted an incredible comeback with two goals scored in a 1:04 stretch late in the third period.

A tremendous assist by Blake Christensen to a streaking Cam Lee tied the game at 3-3 with 3:53 remaining in regulation.  Christensen skated the puck into the Phantoms' zone along the boards and waited for Lee who was crashing the net before threading the needle to Cam who one-timed it into the net.

Just about a minute after the Cam Lee goal, the Stars scored again to take a 4-3 lead with only 2:49 remaining in regulation.  An incredible individual effort by Lincoln forward Chris Klack allowed him to score his first goal in a Lincoln Stars uniform.  After receiving a great home-run pass by defenseman Ryan Jones, Klack skated into the Youngstown zone on a partial breakaway.  While being dragged down from behind, Klack somehow got a shot off on his knees that got past the Youngstown goaltender.  This one was a beauty.

It was looking like the Stars were going to ride the momentum of the two quick goal to victory, but that wasn't the case.  Referee Lucas Martin had to be the show all night long, and that didn't change very late in the third period when he called the Stars for a minor penalty with only 1:21 remaining.

The Phantoms pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker during the ensuing powerplay and eventually scored a 6-on-4 PP goal with about a minute left in the third period to knot the score at 4-4.

Shots were 13-10 in favor of Lincoln in the third period.

In the five-minute 4-on-4 overtime period, the Phantoms outshot Lincoln 3-0 but were held scoreless.  In the skill competition (shootout), the Phantoms scored once and the Stars were blanked which gave Youngstown the two points.  Have I mentioned how much I hate the shootout?  It's so silly to end a game with a skills competition.  They don't end basketball games with free-throw shooting contests, do they?

Stars goaltender Peyton Jones stopped 30 of 34 in the loss, however I thought he played very, very well considering the amount of quality shots he faced.  Without some of his big saves in the first and especially second periods, the Stars never would have had the opportunity to lead in this game.

The Stars finished 0-for-5 on the powerplay, while the Phantoms went 2-for-8 with the man advantage and scored one shorthanded goal.

All in all, it was a pretty quality road effort by the Stars last night in Youngstown from what I saw on FASTHockey.  Unfortunately, the Stars lost the special teams war which pretty much lost them the game.  I'm hoping this team can learn to play better on the PP and PK, because 5-on-5 they are a pretty good hockey club.

I normally don't like mentioning this on my blog because it may come across as sour grapes, but I'm not sure I've ever seen a team dive and embellish as much as the Youngstown Phantoms.  It was terrible, especially in the 3rd period and in OT.  I saw Ryan Lomberg, after embellishing a high stick penalty that was called against Stars defenseman Ryan Cook in the OT period, actually smile and laugh to his teammates on the bench afterwards.  He knew exactly what he was doing.  Gutless.

These two teams have Saturday off, but they will get back at it Sunday afternoon for a 4:05pm CST tilt.  After listening to Stars head coach Chris Hartsburg after the Friday game, the Sunday game could be an interesting one to watch.  When interviewed on the radio by Mike Melbye, Hartsburg was very critical of Phantoms head coach Anthony Noreen.  In fact, Hartburg called Noreen a "mockery."  From what I've heard from people who were there, Noreen spent all night yelling and screaming at the refs...begging them for calls.  I guess Hartsburg wasn't a fan of that and called him out during the game, and afterwards.  I love it.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

B³ Weekend Preview: Youngstown Phantoms

16 hours away in Youngstown, OH, the Lincoln Stars are gearing up for a weekend series against the hometown Phantoms hockey club.  The two teams will play Friday evening, and Sunday afternoon.

Puck drops at 6:05pm CST on Friday, and at 4:05pm CST on Sunday.

If you you'd like to keep track of the Stars this weekend in Youngstown, 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 Phantoms enter these two games against Lincoln with a record of 7-5-1 (15 points), and are currently in fifth place in the USHL eastern conference.  The Phantoms are 4-3-0 in seven home games this season, but they've lost their last two games at home.  In those two most recent home games, the Phantoms gave up 12 goals against.

These upcoming two games will be the only times the Stars and Phantoms will face one another during the 2014-15 regular season.  

Youngstown is led by talented '96 forward Kyle Connor, who is thought of by many pundits to be the top forward in the entire USHL.  Through 12 games so far this season, Connor has scored 16 points (6g, 10a).  Last season for the Phantoms, Connor racked up 74 points (31g, 43a) in 56 games played.  The Michigan native will attend the University of Michigan in the fall of 2015, and is considered to be an early first round selection in the 2015 NHL entry draft.


Another talented Phantoms forward to watch for this weekend is Maxim Letunov, who hails from Moscow, Russia.  Through 13 games this season, Letunov has scored 14 points (7g, 7a).  Last season for Youngstown, Letunov potted 43 points (19g, 24a) in 60 games played.  Letunov was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the 2nd round of the 2014 NHL entry draft.  The tall, lanky Russian has committed to play his college hockey at Boston University, starting the fall of 2015.

A somewhat familiar name on the Phantoms' roster is '94 forward Ryan Lomberg, whom the Lincoln Stars traded to Youngstown back in August.  Click here to read more about how the Stars originally acquired Lomberg's USHL rights and some of the issues with his leaving the University of Maine.  Less than a month after he was acquired by the Stars, he was traded to the Youngstown Phantoms for three draft picks.  Lomberg was originally obtained by Lincoln from the Muskegon Lumberjacks for an 11th round Phase II draft pick in 2015.  So basically, the Stars turned that 11th round pick into 3 draft picks (2015 Phase I 3rd, Phase II 2nd, and 2016 Phase II 6th) in the trade with Youngstown.  Heck of a return.

The Stars are coming off what could be their best 60-minute effort of the season, which was a 5-2 drubbing of the Des Moines Buccaneers this past Tuesday evening at the IceBox in Lincoln.  Hopefully the boys can keep the positive momentum rolling this weekend in Youngstown, OH.

In other news....

The Stars announced today that the 11/7/14 game against the Sioux City Musketeers that was postponed has been rescheduled for Wednesday, February 25th.  Click here to read more about that.  Surprisingly, UNL has waived the parking fee for that game.  Honestly, I'm shocked that UNL would turn down the opportunity to collect money.

Anyway, I'll post recaps of the games this weekend here on the blog so come back for those.  

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

B³ Postgame Recap: Des Moines 2, Lincoln 5

Chris Klack shows off the military themed jerseys worn by the Stars
Courtesy of Brandon Anderson Photography
The Lincoln Stars got out to a quick 3-0 lead and cruised to a 5-2 victory over the Des Moines Buccaneers Tuesday evening at the IceBox.  The win snapped Lincoln's three-game losing streak.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

The win improved Lincoln's record to 4-6-1 (9 points), good enough for 8th place in the USHL western conference. 

 Click here to view the current league standings.


Through the prior 10 games this season, the Stars were plagued a bit by slow starts, but that certainly wasn't the case Tuesday night against the Bucs.  I thought the Stars came out strong and played with a sense of urgency that I hadn't seen in a long time.  They seemed to forecheck more aggressively (especially in the first period) than what I've seen in the past, which was refreshing.  The Stars didn't give the Bucs a chance to think before they had a body on them, separating them from the puck.

Michael Gillespie got the party started with his 8th of the season (leads the Stars) on a 3-on-0 with just under five minutes remaining in the first period to give Lincoln a 1-0 lead.  Stars took that 1-0 lead into the first intermission, leading on shots as well, 14-10.

It was a relatively quiet first period (1 goal, 1 minor penalty), but that all changed in the second period with five total goals scored (four of which were on the powerplay), and 46 penalty minutes whistled.

Biagio Lerario made sure the Stars wouldn't start slow in the second period with his fifth goal of the season scored exactly one minute in.  The next four goals scored in the middle stanza were all on the powerplay.  Both teams were getting a little chippy with their play, so the refs really got whistle happy at this point.

Joe Lappin scored his first as a member of the Lincoln Stars (his first official USHL goal as well) at the 3:34 mark of the second period with a nice, quick PP wrister to give his team a commanding 3-0 lead.  Lappin's goal proved to be the eventual game-winner, also.

At this point in the second period, the Stars were clicking on all cylinders.  However, the Bucs stopped the bleeding (temporarily) at the 8:17 mark with a 5-on-3 powerplay goal to pull within two goals at 3-1.

Ryan Jones answered just a few minutes later for the Stars with his first goal in a Lincoln Stars uniform which gave Lincoln a 4-1 lead.  Jones' powerplay goal came on a blast from just inside the blueline, which beat Des Moines goaltender Ryland Pashovitz.  Immediately after the Jones goal, Pashovitz was pulled by the Des Moines coaches in favor of goaltender Ryan Ruck.

With just over two minutes remaining in the wild and crazy second period, the Bucs scored a PP goal to pull back to within two goals.  Stars took the 4-2 lead into the second intermission.  Shots were 10-7 in favor of Des Moines in the herky-jerky, whistle-filled second period.

The lone third period goal came on a nice odd-man rush by Stars forwards Michael Gillespie and Max Humitz.  Gillespie brought the puck into the offensive zone and showed tremendous patience before threading the puck at the last second to Humitz who was able to tap it into the open net.  Stars lead 5-2 at this point and would carry that score until the final buzzer.

The Stars went 2-for-5 on the powerplay, while the Bucs went 2-for-6 with the man advantage.  In regards to the powerplay, I thought Lincoln did a much better job being mobile while in the offensive zone.  I didn't see a lot of standing around.  Being more mobile created some quick odd-man opportunities in which the Stars were able to manufacture goals.

Stars goaltender Peyton Jones was solid between the pipes, stopping 30 of 32 to notch his 2nd win of the season.  A quality performance by Peyton last night.  Apart from the two PP goals against (and one was a 5-on-3 goal), he shut the door on the Bucs at even-strength.

The Stars wore military-themed jerseys last night in honor of Veteran's Day.  Proceeds from the jersey auction (the Stars reported $7000 was raised) went to the Student Veteran Organization at University of Nebraska.

The Stars will go on their longest (in miles) road trip of the season this weekend when they take a 16-hour bus ride to Youngstown, OH to battle the Phantoms.  In another weird scheduling quirk, the Stars and Phantoms will play Friday night in Youngstown, and then on Sunday.  No game on Saturday.  More on that long road trip later in the week.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Monday, November 10, 2014

B³ Pregame Report: Des Moines Buccaneers vs. Lincoln Stars

On Veteran's Day at the IceBox on Tuesday, the Lincoln Stars will be looking to snap their three-game losing streak with a tilt against the visiting Des Moines Buccaneers.

Puck drops at 7:05pm CST.

If you can't make it to the 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 live on FASTHockey for a fee.

With a record of 3-6-1 (7 points) the Lincoln Stars are in last place in the USHL western conference, three points behind the seventh place Omaha Lancers.  Click here to view the current league standings.

Lincoln's opponent Tuesday evening, the Des Moines Buccaneers, are a familiar one for the Stars.  This past Saturday night in Des Moines, the Bucs beat the Stars by a score of 5-3.  Coming into Veteran's Day game, the Buccaneers have a record of 9-3-1 (19 points) and are in a two-way tie for first place in the USHL western conference with the Sioux City Musketeers.

The Stars will be honoring veterans with tickets specials Tuesday night along with a silent auction for the military themed jerseys the team will be wearing during the game.  Click here to read more about that.

To the left you'll see more particulars of the silent jersey auction, which the Stars tweeted earlier today.  If it's hard to read the text on the image you can click on it to enlarge it.

A $400 starting point is a little too rich for my blood, but it's going to a good cause.  As someone who grew up in a military household, I'm happy to see the Stars do this for veterans.

I've seen other USHL/college/NHL teams do this, and I've always wondered why the Stars didn't do the same especially considering how rabid our fans base is.  Seemed like a slam dunk to put a Stars logo on a digitized camouflage jersey and sell them after the game to benefit a veterans group.  I'm hoping this will now be an annual thing for the Stars.

Hopefully we'll see a good crowd for this game and a 60 minute effort from the Stars on the ice.  I'm sure there are a lot of Stars fans eager to get their live hockey fix after the postponement of the Friday night game last week.  Let's pack the IceBox and help the Stars get back into the winning column.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

B³ Postgame Recap: Lincoln 3, Des Moines 5

The Des Moines Buccaneers got out to a 3-0 start and withstood a third period rally by Lincoln to beat the Stars in Des Moines, IA by a score of 5-3.  The loss was Lincoln's third in a row.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the loss, the Stars fell to 3-6-1 (7 points) on the season and are still in last place in the USHL western conference, three points behind the 7th place Omaha Lancers.  Click here to view the current league standings.

Another slow start for the Stars allowed the Bucs to jump out to a 1-0 lead less than three minutes into the first period thanks to a powerplay goal by forward Mark Petaccio.  That lead increased to 2-0 at the halfway point of the first period after an even-strength goal from Bucs forward Joe Widmar.

Bucs took that 2-0 lead into the first intermission.  Shots were even at 13-13 through twenty minutes.

In the middle stanza, the Bucs added one more goal to take a 3-0 lead going into the second intermission.  Shots were 16-11 in favor of Des Moines in the second period.  Through forty minutes, I thought the Bucs were the more aggressive team with and without the puck.  The Stars had some good offensive chances, but overall I thought Des Moines was the stronger team.

As we've seen quite a bit this season, the Stars wait until they are down a few goals before they wake up, and that was the case in the third period.  Lincoln goals from Michael Gillespie, Patrick Polino (PP), and Dominick Sacco actually brought the Stars to within one goal with 4:54 remaining in the game.  Bucs led 4-3 at the time and the Stars seemed to have all of the momentum.

However, with less than a minute remaining, the Stars were unable to get the puck out of their own zone and it cost them.  Des Moines scored with 35 seconds remaining to complete the scoring and shut the door on Lincoln's comeback attempt.

Buccaneers forward Mark Petaccio finished the game as the #1 star with 4 points (2g, 2a).  Petaccio was a player I noticed immediately at the 2014 USHL Fall Classic in Sioux City.  At the time, he was playing for the Tri-City Storm.  He's a big kid who plays with an edge and was putting up points at the Fall Classic.  At the time I remember thinking to myself, "this kid is going to wreak havoc in the western conference.  I wish we had him in a Stars uniform."  Surprisingly, the Storm traded Petaccio to the Bucs before the regular season started.  Petaccio is a '94 (overager), so I'm assuming the Storm just didn't have room for him.

Stars goaltender Cam Hackett stopped 42 of 47 shots in the loss, while Bucs netminder Ryan Ruck stopped 36 of 39 for the win.

Lincoln finished 1-for-5 on the powerplay while Des Moines went 2-for-4.  Special teams certainly hasn't been "special" for the Stars so far this season.  Patrick Polino's powerplay goal in this game broke a 0-for-21 snap on the PP for Lincoln.  No where to go but up in terms of productivity from the PP and PK units.

I mentioned this on Twitter last night in the waning moments of the third period, but I'm not sure why this Stars team waits until they are down 2-3 goals before they start playing at the level they are capable of.  They are a better team than their record indicates, I'm pretty certain of that.

Defensively, this team can play a whole lot better.  You aren't going to win too many games when you give up 47 shots on goal, and average 36 shots against per game.  Lincoln has given up at least 5 goals in four of their last five games played.

It will be interesting to see how this team responds this upcoming Tuesday when they face the Bucs again, this time at the IceBox.  We'll know a lot about their character, for sure.  I would expect them to play a 60 minute effort and get a little payback.

Don't forget that the game against Des Moines this Tuesday at the IceBox is Military Appreciation Night.  The Stars will be wearing special jerseys designed by trainer Corey Courtney to commemorate the event, and a silent auction will be held during the game for the jerseys.  Click here to read more about that.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sioux City Musketeers vs. Lincoln Stars: POSTPONED

Friday night's matchup between the Sioux City Musketeers and the Lincoln Stars at the IceBox was postponed due to an on ice issue.

Click here to read the official response to the postponement by the Lincoln Stars.

I wasn't at the game (battling a cold), but a friend who was there told me that it appeared a staff member accidentally nicked one of the glycol coolant lines underneath the ice (and concrete) when drilling a hole for one of the goalpost pegs.

The IceBox rink staff had to first chip through the ice, and then chip through a layer of concrete below the ice before they could get to the glycol coolant line to repair that.  Once that leak was repaired, they had to fill in the concrete hole and then try to get the ice to build up again.

For those of you who attended the "Battles on Ice" outdoor games last year between the Stars-Lancers and UND-UNO, you'll remember that the same thing (sort of) happened up there.  During the first intermission of the UND-UNO game, someone nicked the glycol line under the ice, which caused a long delay (picture of the leak below).  That repair was much easier to fix because there wasn't a layer of concrete below the ice.


Try as they might, the ice rink staff at the IceBox just weren't able to get the patch of ice above the leak solid enough to safely play a game.  At around 7:30pm, the announcement was made inside the arena that the game would be cancelled and played at a later date.  That date has yet to be announced.

I'm sure the Stars feel terrible about this, but accidents happen.  From what I was told by people in attendance, the ice rink staff really worked hard to get it fixed.

If you were there last night, I hope you kept your ticket stub because you'll likely need it for when this game is eventually played.  I would assume this game will be rescheduled for a Sunday, or weekday night (not a Friday) sometime in the future.

Unfortunately, this means the Stars will only play one game for the third straight weekend.  Tonight the good guys will be in Des Moines to face the Buccaneers.  Last night, the Bucs beat Fargo 4-2 to move into a first place tie with Sioux City in the USHL western conference.  The Bucs and Stars will play again next Tuesday, November 11th at the IceBox.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

B³ Weekend Preview: Sioux City and Des Moines


The Lincoln Stars will face off against the top two teams in the USHL western conference this weekend when they take on the Sioux City Musketeers at home on Friday, and the Buccaneers in Des Moines, IA on Saturday.

Puck drops at 7:05pm CST for each game.

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 the weekend with a record or 3-5-1 (7 points) and are in last place in the USHL western conference.  Click here to view the current league standings.

Lincoln's first opponent this weekend, the Sioux City Musketeers, sport a record of 8-3-1 (17 points) and are in first place in the USHL western conference.  The Muskies have the 2nd best record in the entire USHL, behind only the eastern conference leading Cedar Rapids Roughriders (9-1-0).

This will be the third time the Stars and Muskies will face another this season.  The Stars are 1-1-0 against Sioux City in those previous two games, including a 4-3 OT shootout victory at the IceBox on 10/3/14.  In their last meeting on 10/25/14 in Sioux City, the Stars lost by a score of 5-3.  Since winning that game against the Stars on 10/25, the Muskies are 0-2-0 and have been outscored 9-3.

Lincoln's second opponent this weekend, the Des Moines Buccaneers, are the surprise team of the USHL, by far.  They currently occupy second place in the USHL western conference with a record of 7-3-1 (15 points).  This will be the first of eight meetings between the two clubs.  These same two teams will play each other next Tuesday, October 11th at the IceBox.

Coming into this season, the Bucs hired a new head coach (Dave Allison) after a disappointing 2013-14 season in which they finished in sixth place in the west, and out of the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.

Many hockey pundits who follow the USHL expected this Bucs team to struggle out of the gate.  When I saw them play at the 2014 USHL Fall Classic this past September in Sioux City, they looked like hot garbage.  Seriously, this team looked incredibly bad.  So bad, they gave up 16 goals against in only two games played at the Fall Classic.  I had them pegged for last place in the western conference, without a doubt.

However, once the games actually counted, the Bucs turned it around quickly.  In their first seven games of the 2014-15 regular season, Des Moines bolted out to an impressive record of 6-0-1.  To be honest, I wasn't sure if their hot start was just luck at first.  However, this team is for real and other USHL clubs cannot take them for granted.

The Bucs' goaltending duo of Ryan Ruck (4-3-0, 3.01 gaa, .912 save %) and Ryland Pashovitz (3-0-1, 1.71 gaa, .924 save %) have certainly been a big part of their hot start.  

Don't forget that the Stars' home game on Friday night against the Sioux City Musketeers will be their annual jersey auction to benefit the American Cancer Society.  So make you stick around after the game and help donate to a great cause.

Sorry for the abbreviated weekend preview.  I've been sick this week, so I haven't had a lot of energy to devote to the blog.  I doubt I'll be healthy enough to watch the Friday night game in person, but I'll be watching on FASTHockey.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

B³ Postgame Recap: Waterloo 6, Lincoln 4

Grant Jozefek celebrates after his 1st period goal
Courtesy of Shooting Star Photos
The IceBox in Lincoln, NE turned into a haunted house for the Stars on Halloween night as the visiting Waterloo Blackhawks scored five of the first six goals scored to cruise to a 6-4 victory.

Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the loss, the Stars dropped to 3-5-1 (7 points) and are now tied with the Sioux Falls Stampede for last place in the USHL western conference.  Click here to view the current league standings.



Waterloo improved to 4-3-2 (10 points) with the win, which was their sixth in a row against the Stars dating back to last season.  The Blackhawks outscored the Stars 28-9 in those six games.  I knew Waterloo had Lincoln's number as of late, but I didn't think it was that bad.  It's always a bad matchup for Lincoln.

The Stars found themselves behind the 8 ball very early on in this game as the Blackhawks scored on their first shot just 34 seconds in.

However, the Stars answered quickly when forward Grant Jozefek scored his first USHL goal on an incredible shot about four minutes after the first Waterloo goal.  Grant skated into the Waterloo zone on the left wing before ripping a beautiful shot that beat Blackhawks goaltender Hayden Lavigne high, glove side.

Waterloo added another goal halfway through the first period to take a 2-1 lead.  Some miscommunication behind the Lincoln goal allowed Waterloo to take advantage of a Stars turnover.  That score would last to the first intermission.  The Blackhawks outshot the Stars 8-6 in first twenty minutes.  For the most part, I thought both teams were evenly matched in the first period. 

I hate to sound like I'm a negative nancy, but the first 10 minutes of the second period was as bad as I've seen the Stars play at the IceBox in a long, long time.  Defensively, it was a train wreck.  They couldn't get the puck out of their own zone, and when they did finally get posession of the puck, the immediately gave it up.  It was just ugly hockey, and Waterloo scored three straight goals to start the second period to take a commanding 5-1 lead.

Stars goaltender Cam Hackett, who started the game for Lincoln, was pulled after the fourth Waterloo goal.  Peyton Jones played the rest of the game in relief of Hackett.

As bad as Lincoln played in the first half of the middle period, I thought they played pretty well in the last half.  

Dominick Sacco scored Lincoln's first shorthanded goal of the season on a breakaway to make the score 5-2,  Ludvig Hoff scored later in the period to give the Stars some life, down only two goals at this point.

Heading into the second intermission, the Stars trailed the Blackhawks by a score of 5-3.  Shots were 17-6 in favor of Waterloo in the second period.

For the most part, I thought Lincoln was the better team in the third period.  They outshot the Blackhawks 15-6, but were only able to get one of those 15 shots past Lavigne.  Waterloo added a shorthanded goal in the third period to complete their scoring.  Waterloo's sixth goal of the game was scored by forward Brock Boeser, who had a hat trick (and 1 assist) against the Stars. 

Michael Gillespie's third period goal at the 5:32 mark completed the scoring for both teams.  Gillespie now leads the Stars in goal-scoring with 6 in 9 games.  

Take away the first 10 minutes of the second period, this was a pretty even game.  But those 10 minutes were so, so bad....Lincoln could not recover.

Total shots were 31-27 in favor of Waterloo.  Both teams were not very successful at all on the powerplay.  Waterloo went 1-for-7, while the Stars went 0-for-7.  Good and bad special teams for Lincoln in this game.  The PK looked great, and is improving compared to earlier this season.  The PP unit, however, is a mess.  Stars are better off playing 5-on-5 than playing a man up.

Cam Hackett stopped 20 of 24 before he was pulled in the second period.  In relief, Peyton Jones stopped 5 of 7 and picked up the loss.

Great to see defenseman Dylan Woolf back in the lineup last night after missing all of the preseason and 8 games of the regular season due to injury.  He's a big kid who loves to throw his weight around.  The boarding call called against him by referee Todd Lacina in the second period was a joke.  It was a very clean hit.  See the photo below of the hit in question, taken by Brandon Anderson.

Speaking of Todd Lacina, I doubt he'll be getting a Christmas card from Stars head coach Chris Hartsburg this year.  Hartsburg called out the officiating after the game when talking to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye.  

Stars are back in action this upcoming Friday at the IceBox against the Sioux City Musketeers.  The following day on Saturday, the Stars will be in Des Moines, IA to battle the Bucs.  Another big test for Lincoln next weekend as the Muskies and Buccaneers are the top two teams in the USHL western conference right now.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.


Edit:  Check out the video below from Brandon Anderson that has video highlights of the game and post-game comments from head coach Chris Hartsburg.