Following the Stars' 4-2 victory over the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Friday night, we sat down with head coach Cody Chupp to get his thoughts on Lincoln's opening weekend of the 2019-20 regular season ...
Cody Chupp: “I talked about it a bit last night, but I thought for 45 or 50 minutes of the game [Thursday], we were very effective. Credit to Fargo, they did a fantastic job of getting in shot lanes and blocking a ton of shots in those instances where we were starting to tilt the ice. I think the dangerous part of games like that is thinking that because we weren’t able to put the puck in the net that there’s something we need to change or alter or we need to make an extra pass or whatever it may be. What I appreciated about [Friday] was that we entered the game with the same approach that we left off with last night. I thought we were able to find our game quicker to get pucks into their end and create our forecheck and get to our speed game. As the game went on, it was resilience in a lot of areas that ultimately allowed us to find a win we needed. I thought to get that goal late in the first from [Matthew] Barbolini, getting to the net-front, being strong in the net-front, that’s an area that we talked about in our game that was missing in the early portions. For him to get there, to get rewarded, hammers home that point and we stayed on our pressure and on our push for the course of the game."
On Muskegon’s goal to cut the lead to 3-2 and Travis Treloar’s goal 65 seconds later:
“I loved our response. We stayed the course, we continued to pressure. We didn’t play “not to lose,” we played to get that next one, which was huge for us. It was nice for the power play to get rewarded. I thought they've done great things through the course of the weekend. It’s nice to get the monkey off our bank and get one in the back of the net.”
On defenseman Carter Schade making his USHL debut:
“He was our first pick in the Futures Draft this past year. I thought Carter was fantastic in his Stars debut. He’s a guy that has a bright future, not only in our organization but in hockey. It was great to spend some time with him, to get him into a game.”
On goaltenders Ryan McInchak and Jake Mucitelli:
[McInchak] is a goalie that loves to compete. That fits very well with our culture here in Lincoln. He’s receptive to coaching and working with [goalie coach] Chris Holt. The same goes for Moose. Those two guys have started to improve in the short time they’ve spent with Chris and he’s done a fantastic job with both of them. I think they’re both confident kids right now and that’s exactly what you want from your goaltenders. They push each other but have a great relationship. We’re pleased with both of their performances on the week. I know Moose got the loss, but I thought he made four or five fantastic saves in the game and Ryan the same thing. There were a couple of times where we really needed a big one and [Ryan] was there for us. It was a complete team effort and that does not exclude our goaltenders.
On the assortment of talent ranging in USHL experience on the roster:
“We have a great group of core older guys that have played in the league and guys that had big summers and are starting to take advantage of some opportunity. We also have a great group of young players that plays hard, plays the right way, that’s committed to doing things right when they’re out there. I think that’s a good recipe in a sense that sometimes young players don’t understand how hard it is to come into our league and be effective. Embracing the little things that don’t always show up on the scoresheet is really important for those young guys. It takes a lot of character, a lot of buy-ins to be able to do those things. I’ve been impressed on both sides with our start and now our mission is the same as always: continue to get better every single day and clean up some areas we have to clean up. But, our work ethic and our compete level we showed through the majority of two games this weekend was exciting and we’re looking to build off that.”
The Stars are 1-1 on the regular season and hope to follow up their victory over Muskegon this Saturday (October 5th) when they travel to Sioux Falls to take on the Stampede! Watch the game live on HockeyTV or listen on Mixlr.
(Photo courtesy of Brandon Anderson)