When the Lincoln Stars hit the ice this weekend, they'll see a reflection of themselves in more ways than one.
Head coach Cody Chupp brought with him a specific system from Green Bay (8-6-2) after serving three years as an assistant coach with the Gamblers, the the Stars' (7-6-0) opponent Friday and Saturday.
"Green Bay is a good team," Chupp said. "They play well, they play fast and they play very similar to us.
"To have success this weekend, it's about us being the best version of us and locking into who we are, better than them locking into who they are."
After finishing with three games in four days, and losing two close contests, the Stars' focus quickly turned to consistency through 60 minutes of play.
"We've seen spurts of those details coming through," Chupp said. "When we are successful, that's because we are doing things right."
When the Stars find success against their opponents, it usually has come from dominance of the second period. The Stars have outscored opponents 16-8 in the second frame, with Green Bay having similar results, outscoring opponents 16-12.
"We just have to do what we do best," Stars forward Collin Peters said. "We have to outwork (Green Bay) too; move our feet everywhere and be hard to play against."
Lincoln has been outscored 11-7 in the first period, and 20-15 in the third by opponents this season as the Stars look for a faster start come Friday. For the Stars to find success, they say they need to be ready from the start.
"To spot teams two or three goals, you put yourself in a bad spot," Chupp said. "It's about being prepared all the time and doing it all the time, so our focus this week has been about our consistency and about our starts."
Green Bay also has struggled with slow starts, being outscored 15-11 in the first period. The Stars hope they can use that to transition quickly out of the gate.
"A lot of it for us is preparation, and it is mostly mental," Chupp said. "We are a young team and part of the maturation as a player is learning how to switch gears, and learning how to be mentally prepared to start the game from the drop of the puck."
Lincoln and Green Bay square off in Round 1 at the Ice Box at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Saturday's contest against Green Bay marks the annual Teddy Bear toss to benefit Community Action of Lancaster and Saunders Counties to help give a gift to a child in need during the holiday season.
Fans can bring new or gently used stuffed animals to the Ice Box, or purchase a teddy bear during the game, which starts at 7 p.m.