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Preview: Storm begin eight-game homestand against Stars

By Kendall Grayson, 02/19/21, 5:45AM PST


Call 308-338-8144 for tickets!

Kearney, NE. – The Tri-City Storm returns home to the Viaero Center tonight for the first game of an eight-game homestand. After splitting road games against Sioux Falls and Waterloo over the past two weekends, Tri-City returns to action at home tonight against the Lincoln Stars. Tonight’s game between the Storm and the Stars is “Ladies Night”. $5 ladies tickets and $5 kids’ tickets are available for purchase for tonight’s game. Raffles and giveaways for ladies attending the game will be held throughout the night. Tickets for tonight’s home game at the Viaero Center can be purchased by calling 308-338-8144 or by visiting Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05pm.  


Tri-City (16-10-0-1) climbed ahead of the Omaha Lancers for 2nd place in the USHL’s Western Conference standings in Sunday’s 2-0 road shutout victory over the Waterloo Black Hawks. Adam Klapka scored his fifth goal of the season and his team-leading third game-winning goal of the season during Sunday’s 1st period. In the 2nd period, Nicholas Donato scored his first career USHL goal to give Tri-City a 2-0 lead. Connor Hopkins completed his first career USHL shutout by stopping all twenty-five of Waterloo’s shots to seal the win for the Storm. Kieran Cebrian recorded his first career multi-point game in the USHL by assisting on both of the Storm’s scoring plays. Guillaume Richard and Josh Eernisse also recorded assists in the game. The eight-game homestand Tri-City begins tonight at the Viaero Center is tied for the longest homestand in the organization’s twenty-one-season history. The Storm also played eight consecutive home games at the Viaero Center during its first Anderson Cup Championship season in 2003-2004. Tri-City played eight straight home games from February 20th to March 9th, 2004 and posted a 7-1-0-0 record in those eight games. Three of the teams Tri-City faced during that homestand in 2004 are either now defunct or have changed names (River City Lancers, St. Louis Heartland Eagles, Danville Wings). Tri-City holds a 3-3-0-1 record against the Stars in the previous seven games of this year’s ten-game season series.


Lincoln (10-15-1-0) travels to Kearney tonight as the last place team in the USHL’s Western Conference standings. On Monday, the Stars won a 6-2 road decision against the Sioux Falls Stampede. Jack O’Leary (2), Jake Beaune, Yu Sato, James Stefan, and Cole Craft all scored goals for the Stars in the win. Yu Sato became the first Japanese-born player in Lincoln Stars history to score a goal when he gave the team a 4-1 lead forty-eight seconds in the 3rd period. Ryan Ouellette made twenty-six saves on twenty-eight shots to notch his eighth victory of the season in goal for the Stars. To this point in the 2020-2021 regular season, Lincoln has produced a winning record against two conference opponents. Monday’s road victory over Sioux Falls pushed the Stars’ record above .500 to 2-1-0-0 in games played against the Stampede this season. Lincoln has posted a 4-2-1-0 record against Tri-City this season. The Stars have recorded wins over the Storm on December 26th, December 31st, January 6th, and most recently on January 23rd.  After tonight’s road game Lincoln returns to action tomorrow night in a road game at Ralston Arena against the Omaha Lancers.


Following Sunday’s game against Waterloo, Tri-City has now played twenty-seven games of this season’s fifty-four game schedule. Tonight’s game is the beginning of the second half of the 2020-2021 regular season schedule for Tri-City. Scoring leaders for the Storm through the first half of the season included; Cole McWard (11), Carter Mazur (10), and Hunter Strand (9). Rhett Pitlick has recorded eight assists in nine games since joining the Storm through a transaction with the Muskegon Lumberjacks on January 31st. Pitlick is Tri-City’s assists leader through the first half of the season with fifteen. Hunter Strand’s twenty-three points are the most compiled by any Storm skater to this point in the season. Cole McWard leads the Storm with seven power-play goals, and Adam Klapka leads the team with three-game winning goals. Carter Mazur and Hunter Strand have both scored two shorthanded goals this season and are tied for the team lead. Adam Klapka leads the team with fifty-one penalty minutes and Rhett Pitlick is the team’s leader in plus/minus with a +9 (+4 with Muskegon & +5 with Tri-City). Todd Scott has posted an 11-5-0-1 record in twenty games played for the Storm this season. He leads the team with a 2.04 Goals Against Average (GAA) and a save percentage of .912%. He recorded shutouts for the Storm on January 22nd & January 29th. Connor Hopkins recorded his first career USHL shutout in Sunday’s 2-0 road win over the Waterloo Black Hawks. Hopkins has posted a 5-3-0-0 in ten appearances in net this season for Tri-City. He has recorded a GAA of 2.17 and a Save Percentage of 0.898.


Tri-City has had at least one player win the USHL’s Forward of the Week, Defenseman of the Week, and Goalie of the Week award through the first half of the regular season. Hunter Strand was named the USHL’s Forward of the Week for the first time in his USHL career on November 20th and Cole McWard was named the USHL’s Defenseman of the Week for the first time in his USHL career on February 10th. No player in the USHL has collected more weekly awards during the 2020-2021 regular season than Todd Scott. Scott was named the USHL’s Goalie of the Week on November 20th, December 15th, January 29th, and most recently on February 4th.


The Storm is 16-10-0-1 and 2nd place in the Western Conference standings through the first half of the season. Tri-City is 7-3-0-0 when playing at home and 9-7-0-1 in road games this season. Tri-City’s eighty-eight goals scored are the eighth-most of any USHL team. The Storm’s sixty-five goals allowed are the least in the USHL this season. With three hundred and thirty-three penalty minutes through the opening twenty-seven games of the year, Tri-City is currently the fourth-least penalized team in the USHL. Tri-City has been given one hundred and twelve power-plays this season, the fourth most opportunities of any team. The Storm’s twenty-two power-play goals scored are currently the third-most in the league. Tri-City’s four shorthanded goals scored are tied for fifth-best in the league this season. The Storm’s power-play has converted on twenty-two of its one hundred and twelve opportunities this year. At 19.6%, the Tri-City power-play is currently ranked ninth-best in the USHL this season. The Storm’s penalty kill has allowed seven power-play goals in ninety-nine times shorthanded this year. Tri-City’s penalty kill is currently ranked first in the USHL through the opening half of the season at 92.9%.


Tri-City is 10-8-0-1 when outshooting its opponents and 5-2-0-0 when being outshot. The team is 11-2-0-0 when leading after the 1st period and 14-0-0-0 when leading after the 2nd period this season. The Storm is 1-5-0-1 when trailing after the 1st period and 0-6-0-0 when trailing after the 2nd period. Tri-City is 4-3-0-0 when tied after the 1st period and 2-4-0-1 when tied after the 2nd period this season. The team is 5-3-0-1 in one-goal games, 2-3-0-0 in two-goal games, and 3-3-0-0 in three-goal games. The longest winning streak for Tri-City during the first half of the season was four games (Jan 29. vs. OMA, Jan. 30 @ OMA, Jan. 31 vs. OMA, Feb. 5 @ SF). The Storm has lost back-to-back games twice this season (Dec. 26 @ LIN, Dec. 31 vs. LIN & Jan. 6 @ LIN, Jan. 8 vs. SC) but the team has not encountered a losing streak of more than two games.  


Tonight’s game is set to begin at 7:05pm CT and will be streamed live on HockeyTV, and Storm Radio. For tickets to Storm home games at the Viaero Center, call 308-338-8144 or visit