The Lincoln Stars come out of the holiday break in a flurry with three games in three days.
The three-game set in as many days is a first this season for the Stars, who have played three games in four days twice, going 2-4-0 in those contests.
"It was nice to have some time off and get home for the holidays," Stars captain Dominick Mersch said. "Now it's right back to business with three games in three days.
"We are embracing that challenge and definitely want to get three big wins to start off the second half."
Lincoln gets a test right out of the gate, hosting the Tri-City Storm on Thursday at the Ice Box. The Stars then travel to face the Waterloo Black Hawks for the first time this season on Friday and finish in Sioux City on Saturday.
Tri-City is in second place in the Western Conference and has a 4-0-0 record against the Stars this season. The past two games between the teams have been decided by just one goal.
After Thursday's game, Tri-City and Lincoln will not match up again until the third-to-last game of the regular season.
"Tri-City is a team we have played a bunch," Mersch said. "We not only want to send a message to them, but also to the league that we are ready to push hard this second half."
To help the Stars push hard, they get some important firepower returning to the team.
Paul Cotter and Christian Krygier return to the lineup after helping Team USA to a silver medal at the World Junior A Challenge, and the Stars should be healthy up and down the lineup.
"The guys that were gone are big-time players for us," Mersch said. "I thought our team did a great job of filling the roles of those guys while they were gone, but we are definitely happy to have them back."