Gamblers Pregame Primer: Lincoln Stars, Jan. 31

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It was a successful final weekend of January for the Gamblers, who defeated Chicago by a 6-0 mark on the road and followed it up with a 2-1 overtime victory over Team USA in Saturday’s Teddy Bear Toss game. But Green Bay was unable to sustain momentum into its Tuesday night matchup with Dubuque, falling by a 4-2 regulation score. Now, the Gamblers are faced with a critical road weekend stretch against Lincoln (11-18-7) and Cedar Rapids to finish out the month, before returning home for three straight contests.

Let’s get a preview of this weekend’s first matchup in Lincoln with our ‘pregame primer’. The puck is set to drop at 7:05 p.m. CT at the Lincoln Ice Box in Lincoln, Neb. Make sure to follow myself and @GamblersHockey on Twitter for continual updates throughout both weekend games.

Season Series: No games played
2012-2013 Series: Green Bay 0-1-0, Lincoln 1-0-0
Record vs. Lincoln under Derek Lalonde: 1-1-0
Record @ Lincoln since 2011: 0-1-0
Average Score over 2 games since 2011: Lincoln 4, Green Bay 2.5

comp

comp

Team Season Stats
Green Bay: 18-13-5 record (.569 WPCT) | 41 team PTS (T-third in Eastern Conference)
Lincoln: 11-18-7 record (.403 WPCT) | 29 team PTS (seventh in Western Conference)

Season Individual Leaders
Points: GB Nick Schmaltz (37), GB Matt Weis (31),  LIN John Simonson (27)

League Comparison
League Comparison

Goals: GB Kevin Irwin (14), GB Ryan Lough (12), LIN John Simonson (11)
Assists: GB Nick Schmaltz (27), GB Matt Weis (20), LIN John Simonson (16)

Goaltender Comparison
Jared Rutledge (GB): 18-10-3 record | 2.77 GAA | .912 save rate | 28.7 SV/G (31 GP)
Cam Hackett (GB): 0-3-2 record | 3.03 GAA | .891 save rate | 21.8 SV/G (6 GP)
Michael Bitzer (LIN): 8-15-6 record | 2.98 GAA | .906 save rate | 27 SV/G (31 GP)
Jacob Nehama (LIN): 3-1-1 record | 2.60 GAA | .918 save rate | 25.1 SV/G (8 GP)

Storylines to Watch

  • Special Teams Struggles — With a 12.29% power play conversion rate and 80% penalty kill mark — second and fourth-worst, respectively, among USHL teams — Lincoln is one of the least formidable teams when it comes to special teams opportunities. They’ve also forced just four short-handed goals to this point in the season, which ties for second-least in the league.
  • Solid in Net of Late — Lincoln’s .893 save rate may rank third worst among USHL teams, but they’ve gotten solid play out of Jacob Nehama and Michael Bitzer of late, combining to post a .920 save rate while allowing 2.40 goals allowed on average over their last five contest. Because of this, the Stars have just one regulation loss in that span and have a shutout victory against Omaha to their credit.
  • Penalty Kill Success — The Gamblers have allowed just one short-handed goal in their last six games, raising their season penalty-kill rate to 85.62% — third best in the Eastern Conference.

Around the League

  • Tri-City dealt F Christian Horn to Sioux Falls in return for F Daniel Fritz Tuesday afternoon.
  • Waterloo leapfrogged Omaha for the Western Conference’s top spot with its 6-2 victory over Fargo Saturday night, meanwhile extending its wins streak to 13 games — the longest in the USHL this season. The Black Hawks haven’t lost since December 13.
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