March 6, 2013 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Omaha Lancers
Ralston, Neb. - After a busy three-game week last week, the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League (USHL) take to the frozen surface just twice this week as the team prepares for a road contest at the Tri-City Storm on Friday followed by a home showdown with the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Sunday.
Omaha (30-22, 60 pts.) won just one out of three games last week as the team remains just one standings point back of the Lincoln Stars and Waterloo Black Hawks for the final and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The busy week began on Wednesday with a 2-1 setback to the Sioux City Musketeers at Ralston Arena before the Lancers rebounded on Friday by closing out their five-game home stand with a convincing 5-1 triumph over the Des Moines Buccaneers. The weekend ended on a sour note though as Omaha suffered a 6-2 defeat in Sioux City on Saturday. The loss was the team's fifth setback over the last seven games. Despite that recent slump, the Lancers have still won 13 of their last 19 games overall are tied for the third most victories (30) in the entire league.
Omaha returns to action Friday as the team invades the Viaero Event Center for the final time this season for a showdown with the Tri-City Storm. Like the Lancers, Tri-City (20-24-6, 46 pts.) claimed just one out of three games last week. The busy road week began with a 6-4 loss at the Waterloo Black Hawks on Thursday before the Storm found their way back into the win column on Friday with a 6-4 triumph at the Indiana Ice. Finally, Tri-City found itself on the wrong end of a 5-4 overtime decision at the Youngstown Phantoms on Saturday to close out the busy three-day stretch. All told, the Storm have dropped seven of their last nine games overall posting a 2-5-2 record during that time. After hosting the Lancers on Friday, Tri-City closes out its weekend home stand on Saturday with a visit from Muskegon.
Meanwhile, after an off day Saturday, Omaha wraps up its weekend Sunday when the Lumberjacks come to Ralston Arena for the first and only time this season. Muskegon (27-15-10, 64 pts.) split a pair of games last week earning a 3-1 victory at the U.S. National Team Development Program on Friday before suffering a 2-1 overtime defeat in Indiana on Saturday. The Lumberjacks enter the week having won five out of their last eight games overall and have surrendered just 11 goals against during that stretch. Muskegon's Nebraska weekend begins Friday in Lincoln and continues Saturday after Tri-City before concluding in Omaha on Sunday.
Omaha Lancers - 30-22-0, 60 pts. (5th Western Conference)
- Omaha enters the week in sole possession of fifth place in the Western Conference standings. The Lancers are just one standings point behind the Lincoln Stars and Waterloo Black Hawks for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West. Meanwhile, Omaha trails second-place Fargo by just five points. Waterloo has played two fewer games than the Lancers to date while Lincoln has played one fewer game.
- The Lancers enter the week having won 13 of their last 19 games overall. Omaha finished the month of February 6-4 overall, which is the exact same record the team posted in January. The Lancers have now won six games in each of the last three months.
- Affiliate players F Shane Gersich and D Jimmy Schuldt, who made their Lancers' debuts last weekend, are not expected to be in the lineup this weekend but could return to the team later this season. As affiliate players, each can play up to six regular season games.
- D Jake Bischoff is expected to return to the lineup this Friday. Bischoff just completed his high school season in Grand Rapids, MN where he tallied eight goals, 17 assists and 25 points in 19 games. After suiting up Friday, Bischoff will miss Sunday's game vs. Muskegon as he's one of 10 finalists for Minnesota Mr. Hockey, which will be announced on Sunday. He is then expected to be available for the Lancers for the remainder of the season.
- F Robbie Baillargeon continues to lead all Lancers in scoring this season with 38 points (17 goals, 21 assists). Committed to Boston University, Baillargeon leads all Lancers with 17 goals and has tallied 23 points in 26 games since coming to Omaha in a trade with the Indiana Ice.
- G Alex Lyon has started 16 of the team's last 18 games and has produced a 11-5 record during that stretch. Committed to Yale University, Lyon is tied for second among all USHL goaltenders with 23 wins this season and also boasts the league's second-best save percentage (.920) and fourth-best goals-against average (2.54).
- Omaha's power play currently ranks sixth overall at 18.1%. The Lancers went just 1-for-17 on the man-advantage in three games last week and are 22-7 when scoring a power play goal this season. Meanwhile, Omaha's penalty kill remains first among all USHL teams at 87.2%. The Lancers have surrendered just two power play goal against over the last 13 games going 41-for-43 (95.3%) during that stretch.
Friday, March 8 @ Tri-City - 20-24-6, 46 pts. (6th Western Conference)
- Friday's contest marks the seventh of eight total meetings during the 2012-13 regular season between the Lancers and Tri-City Storm. Omaha is just 1-5 against Tri-City this season and has dropped five straight head-to-head meetings with the Storm. Four of those five setbacks have been by just a single goal, including a 2-1 Tri-City victory on February 16th in the most recent get-together.
- The Storm enter the week in sole possession of sixth place in the Western Conference. Tri-City trails Lincoln and Waterloo by 15 standings points for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West with just 14 games remaining.
- Tri-City's Tim Bonner leads all scorers in the season series with seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) while the Storm's Michael Vecchione and Jared Linnell are second with six points each. Meanwhile, Connor Chatham and Tyler Moy have paced the Lancers with five points apiece through the first six meetings.
- F Trevor Moore leads all Tri-City skaters in scoring this season with 49 points (18 goals, 31 assists).
- Tri-City is 11-12-2 at home this season and has been outscored 85-76 in 25 prior home games.
- Tri-City's power play enters the week ranked third overall at 21.4% but is 0-for-11 in six prior meetings with the Lancers. Meanwhile, the Storm's penalty is 12th overall at 80.0% and is 15-for-20 (75.0%) head-to-head against Omaha this season.
Sunday, March 10 vs. Muskegon Lumberjacks - 27-15-10, 64 pts. (2nd Eastern Conference)
- Sunday's contest marks the first and only meeting of the 2012-13 regular season between the Lancers and Muskegon Lumberjacks. Omaha is 2-0-1 in three meetings with Muskegon since the Lumberjacks entered the USHL during the 2010-11 season. The Lancers claimed the only head-to-head meeting last season with a 7-3 triumph in Muskegon.
- The Lumberjacks enter the week in sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference. Muskegon trails conference-leading Dubuque by 14 points and holds a three standings point edge over third-place Green Bay.
- F Adam Gilmour leads all Lumberjacks in scoring with 40 points (17 goals, 23 assists) this season.
- G Kevin Lindskoug currently leads all USHL netminders with a .928 save percentage and is second with a 2.32 goals-against average.
- Muskegon is 13-8-6 on the road this season and has outscored its opposition 75-72 in 27 prior road contests.
- The Lumberjacks' power play enters the week ranked 11th overall at 16.0% while Muskegon's penalty kill is second overall at 86.3%.