Green Bay vs. Lincoln Stars, 12/1/17

Lincoln Stars forward Casey Dornbach gets a shot past Green Bay Gamblers goalie Maksim Zhukov during a December game at the Ice Box.

FRANCIS GARDLER, JOURNAL STAR FILE PHOTO

In the midst of a four-game losing streak, the Lincoln Stars are keeping a positive attitude to begin the new year, especially as the strong play of Dominick Mersch and Casey Dornbach continues.

Mersch, one shy of his career-high 11 goals, led the United States Hockey League in December with seven tallies, while Dornbach has racked up 23 points through 23 games and is ninth in league scoring. The duo has the Stars trending in the right direction.

“We are learning and we are progressing as we go,” Stars coach Cody Chupp said. “There have been some positives and some negatives, and I said it in my interview after our last game, we lost three straight this weekend, but it may have been the best that we have played.”

The Stars lost by one goal in each of those games.

Knowing they are on the cusp of being on the winning end, it's going to take leadership and veteran players to keep the locker room positive.

“We have to build off the positives and continue to get better on a daily basis,” Chupp said. “It will take care of itself as long as we do things right.

“To understand, despite the losses there are a lot of positives to take out of the last three games; every one of them. It's about making the bounces go our way now.”

One thing the Stars hope to see is the continued offensive production of Mersch, who has found a knack for putting the puck in the net this season.

If Mersch can continue his production, plus the return of a healthy Paul Cotter, Chupp thinks the Stars' offense will be hard to stop top to bottom.

“It would be great to get them all going at once,” the coach said. “That is kind of the uplifting part where there has been points in our season where certain guys have (produced) and certain guys have trailed off.

“For us it's about finding that consistency to build up where we have 18 to 20 guys every single night is kind of exciting to think about when guys like Mersch are scoring as many goals as they are. It's uplifting for the future of this team. Mersch has scored those goals from the work he has put into this team.”

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7431 or tgray@journalstar.com.

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