The Big Picture

Some people prefer to look at the big picture. Lincoln Stars’ defenseman Dax Lauwers is not one of those people.

Lauwers finds himself wanting to look at “the smaller picture” given the Stars are a win away from returning to the Western Conference Finals. If that happens, it would add to what has been a challenging but rewarding year for Lauwers.

He returned to Lincoln after spending his freshman year at Army. He left Army because the program’s post-graduation requirements of a five-year service commitment would have ended any chances he had of playing pro hockey.

“It was a real tough decision but I made the decision…because I didn’t want to be forced into not playing hockey,” Lauwers said after the Stars’ 3-1 win on Wednesday against the Force.  “I had a hard time putting a ticker on my hockey career. Coming back to this team, I loved it. I have a great billet family. I love what Lincoln is about. I love what this organization is about. We’ve been able to come together as a team and off all the teams I’ve been on, we are a tight-knit group.”

Lauwers’ hope is the tightness the Stars possess can withstand a desperate Force team looking to extend their season by at least one more game. They’ll find out in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals, which are at 7:35 p.m. at Scheels Arena.

One of the reasons why the Stars are up 2-1 in this series has been Lauwers. At 6-3, 200 pounds he, in some cases, has towered over the Force’s smaller line-up given the team’s most productive line, has an average build of a 5-10 player who weighs around 165 pounds.

He has used his build to work forwards of any size in the corners reducing the Force’s game from that to being around the net to taking chances from the outside.

When you combine his size, his ability to punish anyone in his path and the fact he plays in Lincoln, Lauwers is basically ‘The Death Star.’

It is a plan which has worked in this series and a plan which has helped Lauwers quite a bit this year. He came back to Lincoln as a leader and as a player who could really guide his younger teammates.

“Really, that first game in the playoffs you get stuck looking at the big picture,” Lauwers said. “And for me, that wasn’t helping me that much. The second and third game I just tried to focus on next shift and focus on the little things. That’s what we’re doing a good job of as a whole.”

Lauwers feels by looking at the little things, it could help lead to something bigger such as a Western Conference Finals appearance of even a Clark Cup title.

Even when the playoffs are over, Lauwers will still be looking at the little things when it comes to mapping out the rest of his life.

The plan is to play college but he is going to take his time and choose a school which best suits him.

“We set a tone during summer workouts and said, ‘Hey we won’t be satisfied with nothing less than a Clark Cup,'” Lauwers said.  “We may be good in the standings but we are always going to work harder. As for personally, I had a great year at Army and had a lot of fun but I am real excited to continue on with hockey and that’s why I left Army. I am looking forward to playing at the college level and seeing where it goes from there.”