KEARNEY — The Lincoln Stars were well represented Tuesday at the USHL/NHL Top Prospects game with five players earning a spot on Team West.
The likes of Paul Cotter, Devlin McCabe, Cole Krygier, Christian Krygier and Philippe Lapointe also had Stars' coach Cody Chupp alongside them on the bench, as Chupp served as an assistant to Tri-City coach Anthony Noreen.
“It's huge; all those guys individually put a lot of time in making sure our players are well taken care of,” Stars general manager Jon Hull said. “Not only on the ice, but off the ice it is good to see them get recognized for it. This game centers around the players, but it is certainly nice to see guys get rewarded for their efforts.”
Stars athletic trainer/equipment manager Corey Courtney, along with team photographer Brandon Anderson and director of communications and broadcasting Collin Schuck were also recognized by the league.
In the past three seasons, the Stars have had multiple players drafted in the National Hockey League, including Cayden Primeau and Ryan Poehling, who were both selected by the Montreal Canadiens.
Tanner Laczynski and Ryan Jones were also two former Stars who went in recent drafts, with both Laczynski and Primeau playing in the prospects game.
“There is some professional aspect to the (prospect) game,” Hull said. “They know it is not a rivalry game, and they know it is kind of a showcase, but at the same time they want to represent themselves, their teammates, their franchise and the (USHL) with the upmost respect.”
Cotter and Lapointe highlighted Team West. Lapointe assisted on the game-tying goal to knot the score 2-2 in the third period and on Cotter's go-ahead power-play goal giving Team West its first lead of the night at 3-2.
Team East was able to regain the lead with two unanswered goals for a 4-3 victory. The losing team in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects game has gone on to have a team from its conference win the Clark Cup in four of the past five years.
“Overall I think it important for (the Stars) to enjoy the experience,” Hull said. “Enjoy the time and give it the best effort.”
Along with five players making the prospects game, Hull sees the team coming together as a whole.
“Guys are doing things now in groups,” Hull said. “For them to get selected as a group is an extra opportunity to get closer and bond and our guys back in Lincoln certainly support this and are rooting for them as well.”