A rough January now over, the Central Illinois Flying Aces hope to get a better start to February as they look to climb the USHL standings.
After splitting two road games against the Tri-City Storm, the Aces are back in Nebraska for 7:05 p.m. games Friday and Saturday against the Omaha Lancers at Ralston Arena.
Central Illinois went 2-7-1 last month after dropping the first six and now stands at 12-19-4 overall, four points out of eighth place in the nine-team Eastern Conference.
But the Aces also boast a hot goalie in Ryan Snowden, who stopped all 46 shots he saw from Tri-City. He made 31 saves in a 2-0 win Friday and followed up with 15 in relief during a 4-0 loss Saturday.
Omaha (21-10-3) is second in the Western Conference, three points behind the Storm. The Lancers had won three in a row before a 3-2 shootout loss to Tri-City on Sunday.
Omaha boasts two top backstops in Zach Driscoll and Vincent Purpura. Driscoll, who sports a 12-6-1 record, ranks second in the league in goals-aganst average at 1.79, while Purpura (7-2-2) is third at 2.07.
The Lancers' offense is led by center Filip Suchy with 17 goals and 17 assists. Christian O'Neill adds 10 tallies and 21 helpers.
Aces winger Jakub Lacka ranks third among USHL rookies with his team-best 13 goals, while center Max Andreev's 20 assists are one shy of cracking the top 10 overall.