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Ross Mitton's first year in the USHL was a dream -- He finished the season raising the USHL Clark Cup with the Fargo Force in the 2017-18 season.

Now with the Lincoln Stars after being traded from Fargo in 2018-19, Mitton is trying to translate the tools needed to bring the cup back to Lincoln.

"That year we were really close together as a team," Mitton said. "I think that really helped us go a long way during the season."

It is a fresh start for the Stars (1-1-0), but they'll face an early test on the road against the Sioux Falls Stampede, the defending Clark Cup champions, Saturday. Lincoln returns to the Ice Box to face the Stampede Oct. 11 in the Stars' home opener.

For Mitton, sometimes finding success on the ice comes off the ice.

"I want to try and bring the guys as close together as much as possible," Mitton said. "Off the ice, away from the rink. It develops that chemistry and trust on the ice. I'm just trying to do that and I think we'll have a good season."

Facing the defending champions is something third-year Stars head coach and first-year general manager Cody Chupp wants the team to face early in the season.

"One thing about (Sioux Falls head coach) Scotty Owens is he's a great coach," Chupp said. "His teams are always going to skate and they are always going to pressure. They do a lot of things really well in transition.

"For us, our game plan doesn't really change. Make sure we have a good start and find our game quickly. Then use our strengths. Our ability to get on the forecheck -- our ability to stay tenacious on pucks and regain pucks before they ever get back on our defensive zone."

Saturday's game in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, starts at 7 p.m.

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

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