In a few short hours, the Ice will take on the Green Bay Gamblers at the Pepsi Coliseum in a matchup of two of the teams near the top of the stacked USHL Eastern Conference.
Both teams will be without top players -- the Ice without Sean Kuraly, GB without defensemen Jordan Schmaltz and Andy Welinski and goaltender Ryan McKay, as they are all participating in the World Junior A Challenge, representing the United States.
Schmaltz, one of the top prospects in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft pool, was traded to the Gamblers this week in exchange for leading scorer David Goodwin. That bolsters an already-strong Gambler defensive unit when everyone will return. Meanwhile, the Ice have had few problems scoring goals and goaltender Jon Gillies has had a tremendous start, with a 1.89 GAA so far this season.
As expected in a matchup of elite teams, the special teams will be in force tonight. The Ice have the league's top power play, the Gamblers the top PK unit. Not only that, but GB's PP (24%) and the Ice's PK are in the top three in the USHL.
Faceoff is 7 p.m. at the Pepsi Coliseum. It's the first of a double-weekend of home games for the Ice, who host Muskegon at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Lumberjacks are facing Youngstown tonight.
Green Bay Gamblers (8-3-0)
Indiana Ice (7-2-1)
7:05 p.m., Pepsi Coliseum, Indianapolis, IN
Season series: First meeting
Tale of the Tape
Ice (7-2-1, 3rd USHL East)
Head coach: Kyle Wallack
GF: 40 (1st). GA: 25 (3rd)
PP: 34.2% (1st). PK: 89.1 % (4th)
Home record: 3-1-0
Leading scorers: Daniil Tarasov (7-10-17), Jacob Fallon (6-6-12), Alex Barron (1-10-11), Sean Kuraly (4-7-11, will not dress), Robbie Baillargeon (4-4-8, 3 goals last weekend)
Leading +/-: Alex Barron (+9), Daniil Tarasov (+9)
Leading PIM: Daniil Tarasov (27), R.J. Boyd (26)
Leading goaltender: Jon Gillies (6-1-1, 1.89 GAA, .932sv%, 1 SHO), Dalton Izyk (1-1-0, 4.20 GAA, .873 sv%)
11/5: at Youngstown (SOL 3-4)
11/4: vs. Cedar Rapids (W 5-1)
10/29: vs. Waterloo (L 3-4)
10/28: vs. Waterloo (W 2-0)
10/22: at Lincoln (L 1-3)
Gamblers (8-3-0, 2nd USHL East)
Head coach: Derek Lalonde
GF: 38 (t2nd). GA: 26 (t4th)
PP: 24.4% (3rd). PK: 90.9% (1st)
Road record: 6-1-0
Leading scorers: Nolan LaPorte (6-2-8), Andy Welinski (5-3-8, will not dress), Markus Lauridsen (0-8-8), Kyle Novak (4-3-7).
Leading +/-: Markus Lauridsen (+7)
Leading PIM: Sheldon Drees (24), Dakota Mermis (22).
Leading goaltender: Ryan McKay (4-1-0, 1.60 GAA, .939sv%, will not dress), Adam Wilcox (4-2-0, 2.67 GAA, .906sv%, 1 SHO)
11/5: at Waterloo (W 4-0)
11/4: at Des Moines (L 0-4)
10/29: at Sioux City (W 4-1)
10/28: at Fargo (W 4-1)
10/22: vs. Cedar Rapids (L 2-5)
Ice next 5 games
11/12: vs. Muskegon
11/18: at Cedar Rapids
11/19: at Waterloo
11/23: at Green Bay
11/25: vs. Sioux City