Thursday, January 22, 2015

B³ Weekend Preview: Sioux Falls and Omaha

Lincoln's four-game road trip continues this weekend with two crucial contests against western conference divisional foes who are above them in the standings.  On Friday, the Stars will be in Sioux Falls, SD to face the Stampede for the first time this season.  Then on Saturday, the Stars will take on the Omaha Lancers in Ralston, NE.

Puck drops at 7:05pm CST on Friday, and at 7:35pm CST on Saturday.

If you you can't make it to either of the two road 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 come into this weekend with a record of 12-15-5 (29 points) and are in 7th place in the USHL western conference.  Lincoln is six points ahead of the last place Waterloo Blackhawks, and 8 points behind the sixth place Fargo Force.  The Stars are 11 points out of fourth place (playoff eligible) in the west.  Click here to view the current league standings.

Lincoln is coming off an impressive 3-2 overtime road victory this past Wednesday evening against the Madison Capitols.  The win snapped Lincoln's three-game losing streak.

Lincoln opponent this Friday evening will be the Sioux Falls Stampede, who sit in fifth place in the USHL western conference with a record of 17-13-4 (38 points).  Sioux Falls has a record of 11-6-3 in 20 home games this season .  The Stampede are 6-1-1 in their last eight games, which were all at home.  Their game against Lincoln on Friday will wrap up a nine-game homestand.

Surprisingly, this will be the first time in the 2014-15 regular the Stars and Stampede will play one another.  Lincoln and Sioux Falls will play a total of four times this season.  Friday's game in Sioux Falls, SD will be played at the brand new Denny Sanford Premier Center, which replaced the old (and horribly designed for hockey) Sioux Falls Arena.

At Ralston Arena on Saturday, the Stars will battle their rival the Omaha Lancers, who sit in second place in the USHL western conference with a record of 19-9-5 (43 points), two points out of first place.

This will be the fifth of eight meetings between the two rivals.  Lincoln is has a record (1-2-1) in their four prior games against Omaha this season.  In their last meeting against Omaha, the Stars won in dramatic fashion with a 5-4 OT victory at the IceBox on 1/9/15.

Since Lincoln's win against Omaha on 1/9/15, which snapped their nine-game winning streak, the Lancers are 3-1-0 in their last four games played.  So if you go back 14 games, the Lancers sport a very impressive record of 12-1-1.  Five of those twelve wins came in a shootout.

Big, big weekend to say the least for the Lincoln Stars.  They are a relatively healthy bunch right now, fighting like crazy to get back into the playoff hunt.  Getting three of four points this weekend has to be considered the starting point.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

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