Previewing Tonight's Game Between the Musketeers and Lincoln Stars
Friday, March 16, 2012 - Submitted by Jordan Berger
Sioux City Musketeers vs. Lincoln Stars March 16th, 2012 – 7:00 PM – Tyson Events Center
2011-12 Regular Season Game #51 2011-12 Records:
SC: 22-27-1 (45 Pts, 5th in West) LIN: 30-15-4 (64 Pts, 2nd in West)
GAME PREVIEW: Tonight is the seventh of eight regular season meetings between conference rivals the Sioux City Musketeers and Lincoln Stars. The second place Stars are 4-2-0 against Sioux City in the season series and won the most recent between the teams 4-2 on February 17th at the Lincoln Ice Box. Former Musketeer Will Suter notched the first hat trick of his USHL career while goaltender Jackson Teichroeb made 21 saves in Lincoln’s second straight win over the Musketeers. The playoff race in the Western Conference is hitting its crescendo as the Musketeers have just ten games remaining in its regular season schedule. Sioux City put itself in good position for the stretch run after two big road wins last weekend over the Waterloo Black Hawks and Dubuque Fighting Saints. The four points vaulted the Musketeers past the Tri-City Storm and Des Moines Buccaneers into sole possession of 5th place in the West and that’s where they stand entering weekend play.
After scoring a season high seven goals in a 7-2 win over the Black Hawks, Sioux City then shutout the defending Clark Cup Champion Dubuque Fighting Saints 3-0 last Saturday at the Mystique Ice Center. Goaltender Matt Skoff made 25 saves for the 12th shutout of his USHL career while RW Tim O’Brien scored two goals for the second consecutive game. Leading goal scorer Brad Robbins broke a scoreless tie at the 16:54 mark of the second period with a shorthanded goal and Skoff made the goal stand up as the game winner. The Musketeers will look to break their three game home losing streak tonight when they host one of the best in the West as the rough and tumble Stars come to Tyson Events Center for the final time this season.
The Stars are one of five USHL teams to have already clinched a playoff berth and are looking to overtake the arch-rival Omaha Lancers for first place in the Western Conference. Lincoln is 11-1-2 in its last 13 games and enters the game having won three straight games, all on the road. They took care of the Muskegon Lumberjacks 5-2 in their most recent contest and have outscored their opponents 14-4 on their current four game road trip which ends tonight. Zach Aston-Reese, Brent Tate, Luke Johnson, and the USHL’s leading scorer Kevin Roy all tallied in the win over the Lumberjacks while Teichroeb made 30 saves as Lincoln swept its Eastern swing. After tonight, the Stars return to the Ice Box for four straight home games.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: The Musketeers are led by second-year veteran right wing Tim O’Brien. The Winnetka, IL native was named the co-winner of the USHL’s Offensive Player of the Week after recording 4 goals and a +6 rating in weekend wins over Dubuque and Waterloo. The Dartmouth commit returned last Friday after missing six games with a lower body injury. O’Brien has put up 15 points (8g, 7a) and a +7 rating in just 29 games this season as he’s missed 21 games due to injury. The Musketeers are 15-13-1 when O’Brien plays and 7-14-0 when he is not in the lineup. The do-it-all winger notched both the first shorthanded goal and first game winning goal of his USHL career on Friday in Waterloo. 19 of his 21 career goals have come at even strength and he’s +16 in his 74-game career.
The Stars, meanwhile, are led by first-year sensation Kevin Roy. The Lac Beauport, QC native continues to dominate on the score-sheet as he leads the USHL in goals (43), points (81), power play points (21) and shots (244). The Brown commit has killed the Musketeers in the season series, recording 11 points (8g, 3a) in 6 games against Sioux City. On February 22nd, the left wing Roy notched his 38th goal of the season which set a new record for most goals by a player since the USHL became Tier I in 2002-03. Former Musketeer Rod Taylor holds the all-time USHL goal record with 67 set in 1986-87 with Sioux City
BETWEEN THE PIPES: Starting goaltender Matt Skoff (19-20-1) is expected to make his sixth straight start tonight. The McKee’s Rocks, PA native is one of the hottest goaltenders in the USHL and is coming off the 12th shutout of his career after blanking the Fighting Saints 3-0 last Saturday. The Penn State recruit now has 4 shutouts on the season which ties him for the league lead. Skoff has allowed just six goals in his last four starts to see his goals-against-average drop to 2.93 (11th) and his save-percentage rise to .906 (11th). He is 2-3-0 in five starts against the Stars this season including a 5-0 shutout win over Lincoln on December 31st. No active USHL goaltender has as many shutouts (12), wins (63), appearances (134), or played as many minutes (7599:00) as the third-year veteran Skoff over his USHL career.
It is unclear who Head Coach Chad Johnson will tap for tonight as goaltenders Jackson Teichroeb and Charles Williams have each made four starts in Lincoln’s last eight games. The London, ONT native Teichroeb made the most recent start for the Stars and made 30 saves in Lincoln’s 5-2 win over Muskegon. That performance came a night after Williams made 34 saves in a 4-0 shutout win over the Team USA U17’s in Ann Arbor. Both goaltenders sit 4th and 5th in goal-against-average in the USHL but Williams has been slightly better statistically with a 13-3-3 record, .909 save-percentage, and four shutouts. Teichroeb, acquired in an offseason trade with Dubuque, has made 32 appearances while Williams has made 22. Teichroeb has seen the bulk of the action against the Musketeers, making 5 starts against Sioux City and going 3-2-0 with a 2.61 GAA and .900 SV%. The Canton, MI native Williams made 28 saves in Lincoln’s 6-2 over Sioux City in his only start against the Musketeers this season on January 13th.
COACHES: Musketeers Head Coach and General Manager Brett Larson is in his first season behind the bench for Sioux City. The 39-year old Duluth, MN native was named the team’s ninth Head Coach in franchise history on May 21, 2011. Larson comes to Sioux City a year after he was an Associate Coach on the 2011 NCAA Champion University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. The Stars are led by second-year bench boss Chad Johnson. In his first season in Lincoln last year, Johnson led the Stars back to the Clark Cup Playoffs a year after Lincoln finished last in the Western Conference in 2009-10.
ALUMNI UPDATE: 2010-11 Musketeer Captain Ryan Carpenter had a fine freshman campaign for the Bowling Green Falcons. The Oviedo, FL native led the Falcons in scoring with 29 points (10g, 19a) and had a big weekend in the opening ro