Thursday, March 12, 2015

B³ Weekend Preview: Tri-City and Sioux Falls

The Lincoln Stars will stay in Nebraska this weekend with a Friday road tilt in Kearney against the Tri-City Storm, and then a Saturday evening home game at the IceBox against the Sioux Falls Stampede.

Puck drops at 7:30pm CST this Friday night in Kearney, and at 7:05pm CST on Saturday in Lincoln.

If you you can't make it to the games this weekend, you can follow the boxscores online via Pointstreak, listen to Stars radio announcer Mike Melbye on 93.7 FM "The Ticket," or watch the games live on FASTHockey for a fee.

The Stars enter this weekend with a record of 15-29-5 (35 points) and are in last place in the USHL western conference.  Lincoln is 4-14-0 in their last 18 games played, and each one of those four wins came in a shootout.  The last time the Stars won a game in regulation was 1/3/15 when the good guys got a 3-2 home victory over the Madison Capitols.  Click here to view the current league standings.

Lincoln is coming off another disappointing home loss to the Tri-City Storm this past Tuesday night at the IceBox.  In that particular game, the Storm outscored Lincoln 6-0 in the last two periods in route to a 6-1 win.

Lincoln's opponent this Friday, the aforementioned Tri-City Storm, currently sit in second place in the USHL western conference with a record of 31-13-6 (68 points), only one point behind the first-place Sioux City Musketeers.  The Storm actually have one game in hand over the Muskies at the time of this article.

Tri-City's winning percentage of .680 is tied for best overall in the entire USHL with the Cedar Rapids Roughriders.  The Storm are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games played.  Tri-City has also won 10 in a row at home, making this Friday's game at the Viaero Event Center in Kearney, NE a tough task for the Lincoln Stars.

Thankfully, this Friday's game versus the Storm will be the last time the Stars play them in the 2014-15 USHL regular season.  Lincoln is 1-6-0 in the previous seven games against Tri-City this season.  In those seven games, the Storm have outscored the Stars 26-11, including 13-3 in the second period alone.

On Saturday, the Sioux Falls Stampede will gallop into the IceBox for the second time this season.  The 'Pede are currently in fourth place in the USHL western conference with a record of 25-18-5 (55 points).  At the moment, it appears that the Stampede and the fifth place Des Moines Buccaneers (52 points) are the two teams fighting for the last playoff spot in the western conference.

This will be the third of four meetings between the Stars and the 'Pede this season.  Lincoln is 0-2-0 in the two prior meetings with Sioux Falls.  In their last meeting, which came a few weeks ago on 2/28/15 at the IceBox, the Stampede outscored the Stars 4-1 in the first period in route to a 7-3 drubbing.

This Friday, the Stampede will be in Omaha to face the Lancers, so hopefully our rivals to the north will tire out Sioux Falls so they'll be extra flat against the Stars on Saturday.  The 'Pede have lost three in a row coming into this weekend.  Sioux Falls were outscored 21-7 in those three losses.

Just when you think this Stars team has hit rock bottom and you expect them to maybe pull together as a team and make an attempt to crawl out of their hole, they somehow regress and dig an even deeper hole.  At this point of the season, I'm not expecting wins but I'd at least like to see improvement from game to game.  Play with some pride, and finish out these last 11 games of the season on a somewhat positive note.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For all my criticism of management last week, I would be more than happy to eat those words if they manage to get this program turned around next year. My problem is I wish they would stop laying the blame on the players effort-- I don't have a problem with holding players accountable but management needs to show some ability to adjust to adversity and show some accountability of their own.
That being said, I firmly feel that management deserves a bit more time to build a quality team. Nobody expected for us to be an elite team this year but I was expecting to see steady progress as the season went on.
With all the draft picks we've accumulated, next years team will more than likely look vastly different--some players won't be back and new players will come in--but the ability of management to mold these players and adjust to adversity will be even more critical to succeed.