With two veterans, Austen Long and Christian Krygier, out of the lineup Wednesday due to one-game suspensions imposed by the USHL, coach Cody Chupp has found a silver lining for some of the younger players on the Lincoln Stars.
“I think it's big,” Chupp said. “Some guys are going to have some opportunity that maybe they wouldn't have, with guys out of the lineup.
“It's an opportunity; an opportunity for us as a group to succeed with a little bit of adversity and an opportunity for individual guys to play in some situations new to them and improve themselves.”
Wyatt Aamodt returns to help bolster the Stars' defense after serving his own two-game suspension.
The Stars, who have the longest active win streak in the league at three games, look to continue their hot month of November. Lincoln also began October on a three-game win streak before teetering off near the month's end.
“First of all, I think it is a hard league to win in every night,” the coach said. “For us, it has been that buy-in to making it an everyday thing and an every-game thing.
“You can't take a day off, and you can't take a game off, because everyone has the ability to beat you. For us, it is a learning thing. We are learning to compete every day in practice, which is lending itself to competing better in games.”
Lincoln's tough schedule continues, beginning with the Tri-City Storm on Wednesday at the Ice Box before hitting the road for two games Friday and Saturday.
So far the Storm has defeated the Stars twice, with both contests in Kearney in October, but that was when the Stars where still getting their feet under them.
“The in-state rival thing is great, but at the end of the day we want to win every game,” Chupp said. “Our focus remains the same. It's about showing up and doing the work every day in practice, showing up on game nights right from the start, (and) not easing in and waiting for it to happen.
“We have to be prepared right from the start, and if we do that, I like us against anyone in the league.”
The Stars and Storm play at 7 p.m. Wednesday.