Sunday, March 1, 2015

B³ Weekend Recap: 2/27 & 2/28

Courtesy of Brandon Anderson Photography
The Lincoln Stars wrapped up the month of February much like how they started it with two disappointing losses this past weekend.

 On Friday night in Des Moines, IA, the Buccaneers beat the Stars by a score of 5-2.  Then on Saturday evening at the IceBox, the Sioux Falls Stampede embarrassed Lincoln by a score of 7-3.

The Stars have lost four in a row, and 9 of their last 10 games.  Lincoln has given up a total of 20 goals in their last three games.


With the two regulation losses, the Stars dropped to 14-27-5 (33 points) on the season and are still in last place in the USHL Western Conference.  Click here to view the current league standings.

I really wish I knew what was going on with this team.  I'm not sure I've ever seen a hockey team get worse as the season progressed.   

The 2009-10 Lincoln Stars team that finished with only 16 wins started out bad and stayed that way.  This current Stars team actually looked relatively decent the first month or two before the wheels fell off.  Lincoln has 14 wins with 14 games remaining.  Looking ahead to those remaining games, I'm not so sure they'll be able to match the 16 win total of 2009-10.  I hope I'm wrong.

I"m not going to waste a lot of my time with these recaps this morning.  It's getting to the point that I'm becoming very apathetic to this season, and I hate feeling this way.  Wasting hours researching and writing a weekend recap for two bad losses just isn't something I want to do.

Lincoln 2, Des Moines 5

Another 2nd period collapse by the Stars allowed the Des Moines Buccaneers to skate to a 5-2 win over the Stars.  The win by Des Moines snapped a seven-game losing streak.

The Bucs outscored the Stars 3-0, and outshot them 22-7 in the second period to pull away from Lincoln after a 1-1 first period.  The Stars should petition the USHL to see if they can just skip the 2nd period altogether.

Goal scorers for Lincoln in this game were Patrick Polino (PP), and Ryan Jones (PP).  

Shots were 43-32 overall in favor of Des Moines.  Stars goaltender Cam Hackett stopped 38 of 43 in the loss.  Lincoln went 2-for-5 on the powerplay while the Bucs went 1-for-4.

I thought Lincoln played the best period of the weekend in the first twenty minutes of this game.  They played smart, physical, and were crisp and accurate with their passing.  However, the team did a complete 180 in the second period and seemed to be skating in concrete.  I just don't get how this team can look good in one period and then the following period look so bad.  It has happened too many times this season and nothing has been done to fix it.

Sioux Falls 7, Lincoln 3

It was the "Cooper Marody-Kieffer Bellows Show" last night at the IceBox as the two talented Stampede forwards combined for 6 points (3g, 3a) to propel Sioux Falls to a 7-3 drubbing of the Stars in front of 3,631 fans at the IceBox.

Lincoln got out to a quick 1-0 lead with Cam Lee's goal at the 6:07 mark of the first period, but it was all downhill for the Stars after that.  Lee's first period tally broke a 30-game goalless streak going back to 11/14/14.

After the Lee goal, the Stampede took complete control of the game and rattled off four goals to finish out the first period.  After twenty minutes, the score was 4-1 in favor of the visiting Stampede and this game was pretty much over.

The remaining goals scored by the Stars came from Chris Gambardella in the second period, his first USHL goal, and Patrick Polino in the third period.  Polino finished the game as Lincoln's top point producer with 2 points (1g, 1a).

Shots were 38-23 overall in favor of Sioux Falls.  Stars goaltender Peyton Jones stopped 31 of 37 in the loss.  Lincoln went 0-for-5 on the powerplay while the Stampede went 0-for-2.

Defensively, this team gives up way too many shots on goal, and in turn, an incredibly high amount of quality shots against.  I can probably count on one hand the amount of games the Stars have outshot their opponent.  Defensive turnovers in their own zone play a huge part in those shots totals.  The Stars have struggled all season long getting possession of the puck and getting it cleanly out of their own zone.

Although they have not yet been mathematically eliminated from the western conference playoff race, I would assume that will happen sometime soon.  The USHL trade deadline is Monday, March 2nd at 11:59pm, so if the Stars are going to move any current players for draft picks or younger players, they'll need to do it in the next 36 hours or so.  It will be interesting to see if any further moves will be made.

That's it for me.  I'm very interested to hear your thoughts.  Please leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading.  Go Stars.


lincolnfan said...

not much to really say about these games anymore... the scores and stats speak for themselves. my memory isn't the greatest, but the 2009-10 season just had a different/more positive feel to it. we had a pretty new team (like this year), but we also had a number of other things going on that season with a lot of injuries that contributed to the losing season. i have no idea what is going on with the team this year...

i'm trying to be hopeful, but i guess i don't see how next year is going to be any different. i know right now the mentality is "build for next year", but we started out the year with a very young, new team that i thought we were going to have a number of returning guys for the next couple of years. i expected that we would start out slow, but i thought by this point we would be winning games and would be in a good spot for next year. even if we do have a number of returning players next year, how is that going to help considering how things are now? of course, i will support the team no matter what and they need our support now more than ever... it's just getting old leaving the Ice Box feeling so frustrated and confused about what is going on...

i wish UNL would figure out that us Stars fans do not need their "help" with parking... apparently there was something going on at Devaney last night? once we got through the first round of parking police checking passes/taking money, we found our normal entrance was blocked off and we had to go around some odd way and sit in traffic with a line of cars for a while. we finally get to the front of the line to get into the lot and there are a couple parking attendants, only they weren't telling cars where to park, they simply seemed to be getting in the way and slowing things down as they were "ushering" cars into the lot. they were also randomly stopping a couple cars as they got to the entrance and talking to them. i really have no idea what all that was about.. it was annoying, to say the least. i wish the new owner would figure out a way that they wouldn't charge for parking for Stars games and just pay a flat fee for the year. even if it meant raising ticket prices a little, i think it would be worth it to not have to deal with UNL.

Yeti said...


You bring up a great point about the 2009-10 team that I had completely forgot about. That squad was hit really hard by injuries, so there was a revolving door of player movement throughout the season. This current Stars team has been relatively healthy for most of the season.

As for the UNL parking idiots, I don't think that is going to change anytime soon. UNL owns the IceBox and the land underneath it, so it's something as fans we'll have to put up with as long as the Stars are playing at the IceBox.

Anonymous said...

This is easily the most frustrating year (at least for me) as a Stars fan.
I think we all knew coming into this year that we weren't going to win our division and even making the playoffs would be a longshot. But I thought we at least would be showing some kind of progress by now. It's difficult to even comment on whats wrong without sounding overly negative and I really don't want to sound like that, but if anything, we seem to be getting worse. I'm not concerned about this year but I'm afraid if somebody doesn't "take the bull by the horns" pretty soon that next year won't be much different. I assume that coach and GM are looking at the big picture.--I hope they get it figured out.

Anonymous said...

Can we trade our GM and Head Coach? Nothing is going to change next season if those two are returning. Each one wants to point the finger at the players after every game but never want to point the thumb.

No wonder these kids stopped playing. I wouldn't want to play for the GM or the Head Coach either.

Unless some major changes are made there will be a lot of fans who don't renew their season tickets including me.

Jason O said...

I think that seeing the same problems that we saw in the pre-season carry on this long is what's most concerning.

Granted, the franchise has gone through an upheaval with last year's tragedy (RIP Chad) and the ownership change along with a near total staff turnover.

And we talk about not coming back next year, but a lot of us will be jonesing for hockey in July.

But maybe not all.

We get that this is a business, I hope Schiff and Co. don't take their revenue sources (AKA ticket buyers) for granted. The on and off-ice product has to improve. The shine of new paint is gone.

This isn't 1996 - there are a lot of other places to spend our limited income on entertainment now.

Anonymous said...

No offense to Yeti, but I hope all of you who are upset and thinking about not renewing their season tickets reach out to the owner Ryan Schiff. I've emailed him in the past and he was very approachable.

This blog is a good resource for fans, but you'll make your voice heard more loudly if you email the owner directly.

Anonymous said...

Been a long time fan but this team looks to be rebuilding from a worse position than last season. The forwards have yet to build any chemistry whatsoever. Whether thats due to the trades in the last month, or lack of talent, who knows. The real problem on this team is the defence. Their inability to clear the zone, clear the front of the net, handle opposition forwards cutting off the wing has led to every loss. Isn't there any defence man on our team with a slapshot from the point? Flipping the puck towards the net from the point is worthless. It's a turnover. The opposition knows the way to beat us is pressure the defence. we will cough it up,...and we always do.
Only the goaltending is acceptable. Without Hackett, this team would set the mark for futility. At the start of the season I was skeptical of his play, but he has proven himself to be one of the best in the league. I can't believe he will return.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree I was skeptical about Cam Hackett at the beginning of the year, but no more. The only reason we've won the games we have is due to our goaltending. I sit in Section G. The running joke there is the only time we see any hockey on our end is during the 2nd period. It seems our trade-happy GM has missed the fact that we need some defensive help, and has instead kept the revolving door whirling with forwards.

Anonymous said...

The problems of this team are not about to be solved with the next draft. The lack of talent is the GMs fault. The lack of any semblance of systems is on the coach. Neither of them have successful track records. Should we be surprised?

Anonymous said...

I suggest most of you "critics" take a walk down the road to Memorial Stadium and spend your money there and stop crying. Where the Huskers play the "pregnant sisters of the valley" each weekend in the "Big 12". Where a National Championship was last won in a prior century...These young Stars men don't need fans like you. Most of them risk everything to come to this league in search of a dream. To live with strangers for 7 months and have their families worry about their sons on a daily basis. Where they put their bodies through rigors most of us can't comprehend. Then, after a long week of practice, countless hours on a bus, completing 2 or 3 grueling league games, where will you find these young men on a Sunday afternoon, at a bowling alley with their so called "fans". You'll find them at a "Meet and Greet" signing autographs for you "people" at the local chicken shack instead of being at home resting their weary bodies. I suggest most of you pick up a Webster's and look up the definition of the word "class", "respect" and "grateful" and get some. Win or lose, this franchise has given most of us countless hours of entertainment. Sadly most of their players rarely get compensated for their efforts here in Lincoln. Keep at it Stars players, don't let your dream die in spite of your detractors. I for one appreciate your efforts and thank you for the sacrifices you make in the name of this great game!

Anonymous said...

Aren't there 14 teams in your so called "Big 12"?

They do make the sacrifices but it's to chase their dream, fans just get to watch. They should be aloud to be critical of how a franchise is ran that they have been following for 20 years.

This is a bad hockey team and I feel for the individual players on it. I hope ownership and management get turned around. So the players that come in next year can have a much better time in Lincoln.

Anonymous said...

Lets not forget that some of these kids are going to go play hockey at one of these "pregnant sisters of the valley" schools you are referring to. Way to keep it classy and respectful

PS the B1G has 14 teams in it, if you were trying to make that joke.

Jason Orth said...

Anonymous (3/2, 10:45),

Before you attack the bowling-alley dwelling, chicken-shack dining fans of this poor 'burg, you may want to look up "courage" and post your name. The outdated comment about the Huskers Football team is either from afar, or incredibly insulated. Either way it smacks of snobbery.

This is entertainment, and the end fulfillment of the hockey playing dreams, if they go past the free college that 95% of them will get (and that 95% of us fans didn't) will enlighten them to that fact soon enough.

Here the truth that may hurt: the Stars and the Big Ten member Huskers have something in common, the kids are playing for the benefit of others, whether it be the business owner or the athletic department's revenue stream. The compensation for such is up for debate, but it's always framed in the context of revenue at the top.

I'm sorry if you had nobler ideas of what this is. If that bothers you than take issue with the development system of Junior Hockey and its 60 games away from home, the incredible commitment of a college player still far from home, or the toll taken by a pro athlete even further from home.

The fans have the right to complain about what's being put in front of them, that they shell out money they worked for, yet still recognize the hard work the kids put in.

In fact I'd think that the fans feel for the kids and the position they're put in is the driver behind these complaints.

The comments to me look more directed at the big boys, the coaches, GM, owners - those who are being paid, and compensated for this entertainment product, that is increasingly under more competition.

Fans have choices and the more choices that take away from the Stars could send this franchise packing to an even smaller, more remote hovel in the middle of nowhere. Those fans showing up at the chicken shacks, bowling alleys and grocery stores are fans that care about the Stars, and the kids, and will be here long after the kids are gone, supporting the next group of Stars players.

Everyone from the top down is learning. Hopefully they have it figured out next year.

EVERYONE wants to win or at least try hard.

Anonymous said...

Also worth noting that ticket prices for this development league are fast catching up to the minor pro leagues. There needs to be value.