Ralston, Neb. - The Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League (USHL) look to continue their climb up the Western Conference standings as the team prepares for a trio of games against the conference's top two teams.
Omaha (22-17, 44 pts.) split a pair of games last weekend earning a 4-2 victory at Ralston Arena over the Fargo Force before suffering an 8-1 loss to the Waterloo Black Hawks. The Lancers' weekend began on Friday when the team earned its fourth win in six tries against the Force. Drew Melanson, Ryan Tait and Dominic Racobaldo all recorded a goal and an assist as Omaha earned its fifth consecutive win and third straight at home. The Lancers couldn't stretch that winning streak to a season-high six games though on Saturday when the team dropped an 8-1 decision to the Black Hawks. Waterloo's Justin Kloos registered five assists while J.T. Stenglein added a goal and three assists as the Hawks finished the season series with a 3-1 record against Omaha.
The Lancers return to action tomorrow evening when they conclude their four-game home stand with a visit from the Sioux Falls Stampede. Sioux Falls (28-9-1, 57 pts.) swept its weekend road trip through the state of Michigan last week with a 4-1 win over the U.S. National Team Development Program on Friday followed by a 4-3 overtime triumph over the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Saturday. The Stampede enter the week in the midst of a modest three-game winning streak and have won 12 of 13 games overall since a 5-1 loss to the Lancers back on December 16th. After facing off at Ralston Arena on Wednesday, Sioux Falls continues its current nine-game road trip with stops in Lincoln this Friday and Sioux City on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Omaha wraps up its busy week Friday and Saturday when the team travels to Fargo for a weekend series with the Force. Fargo (24-11-5, 53 pts.) split a pair of games last weekend suffering a 4-2 loss to the Lancers on Friday before rebounding with a 3-2 win over the Lincoln Stars on Saturday. The Force enter the week having won nine out of their last 11 games and 14 of 17 overall.
Omaha Lancers - 22-17-0, 44 pts. (5th Western Conference)
- Omaha enters the week in sole possession of fifth place in the Western Conference. The Lancers are just three standings points behind the Lincoln Stars for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West. Meanwhile, Omaha holds a four point edge over the sixth place Des Moines Buccaneers.
- F Robbie Baillargeon continues to lead all Lancers in scoring with 28 points (12 goals, 16 assists) this season. Committed to Boston University, Baillargeon has registered six goals, seven assists and 13 points in 13 games since coming to Omaha in a trade with the Indiana Ice.
- F Connor Chatham leads all Lancers with 13 goals and 104 shots this season. He is also tied for the team lead with three game-winning conversions this year.
- Omaha is 11-7 at home this season and has been outscored 52-50 in 18 prior games at Ralston Arena. Meanwhile, the Lancers are 11-10 on the road this season and have outscored their opposition 61-58 in 21 prior road contests.
- Omaha's power play currently ranks third overall at 20.3%. The Lancers are 17-5 when scoring a power play goal this season and are one of just four teams in the league with a man-advantage percentage at or above 20%. Meanwhile, Omaha's penalty kill ranks third overall as well at 85.0%.
Wednesday, January 30 vs. Sioux Falls - 28-9-1, 57 pts. (1st Western Conference)
- Wednesday's contest marks the third of eight total meetings during the 2012-13 regular season between the Lancers and Sioux Falls Stampede. Omaha is 1-1 against Sioux Falls this season and 1-0 against the Stampede at Ralston Arena after a 5-1 victory over Sioux Falls back on December 16th.
- Sioux Falls enters the week in sole possession of first place in the Western Conference. The Stampede hold a four standings points edge over second-place Fargo and sit just four points back of the Dubuque Fighting Saints atop the overall USHL standings.
- F Dennis Kravchenko currently leads all Stampede skaters in scoring with 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists). Committed to the University of Massachusetts, Kravchenko has tallied 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) over the last 12 games.
- G Charlie Lindgren, the lone Sioux Falls representative at the 2013 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, leads all USHL goaltenders with 20 victories this season.
- Sioux Falls is 11-5-1 on the road this season and has outscored its opposition 54-47 in 17 prior road contests.
- The Stampede's power play currently ranks fifth overall at 19.2% and is 1-for-9 in two prior showdowns with the Lancers. Meanwhile, Sioux Falls' penalty kill is ninth overall at 82.2% and is 7-for-10 (70.0%) against Omaha this season.
Friday, February 1 @ Fargo - 24-11-5, 53 pts. (2nd Western Conference)
Saturday, February 2 @ Fargo
- Friday and Saturday's contests mark the final two meetings of the 2012-13 regular season between the Lancers and Fargo Force. Omaha is 4-2 against Fargo this season while the Force are 2-2-2 against the Lancers. Omaha is 2-0 against Fargo at Scheels Arena after 3-2 and 4-3 shootout victories in mid-November.
- Fargo enters the week in sole possession of second place in the Western Conference. The Force are just four standings points behind conference-leading Sioux Falls and hold a two point edge over third-place Waterloo.
- Omaha's Jake Randolph leads all scorers in the season series with six points (3 goals, 3 assists) while F Connor Chatham is second with five points (2 goals, 3 assists).
- F Brendan Harms leads all Force skaters in scoring with 44 points (17 points, 27 assists) this season. Committed to Bemidji State University, Harms has recorded 15 multi-point games this year.
- Fargo is 13-3-2 at home this season and has outscored its opposition 70-53 in 18 prior games at Scheels Arena. The Force enter the week having won six of their last seven home games.
- Fargo's power play currently ranks 11th overall at 16.7% while the Force's penalty kill is 10th overall at 81.1%. Fargo is just 1-for-21 (4.8%) on the power play against the Lancers while Omaha's power play is 5-for-23 (21.7%) against the Force.