Stampede Clinch 1st In The West With Win Over Dubuque
SIOUX FALLS, SD — A strong first period from the Sioux Falls Stampede snapped a three-game losing streak while paving the way for 4-3 victory over the Anderson Cup-winning Dubuque Fighting Saints Saturday night at the Arena.
Sioux Falls finished the regular season with a 3-0-0 record against the Saints.The triumph sealed the Western Conference regular season title for Sioux Falls, giving them home-ice advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs. The win also tied a franchise records for wins in a season at 43 and was head coach Cary Eades’ 100th career USHL coaching win.
“I thought we really had a complete game tonight and a bounce-back win from last night’s disappointment,” said Eades, whose club won at home for the first time since March 20 against the Tri-City Storm.
Kyle Schempp had two goals for the Stampede (43-17-2) while his netminder Charlie Lindgren stumped 25 of 28 shots from the Fighting Saints (43-11-8). The win dumped memories of last weekend in the rearview mirror, with two consecutive disappointing opening period performances leading to a winless (0-2-0) series at home.
“I think our guys learned that if you back up a little bit emotionally or intensity-wise it’s very hard to regain it,” said Eades. “The playoffs start next week early but our mentality is to go in and kill some confidence heading in.”
The Herd finished the opening twenty minutes on top of their opponent thanks to tallies from Schempp and Todd Skirving, two players who had not scored since early March. Schempp initiated the goal-scoring at 8:52 when he pushed the puck under Dubuque goaltender Arthur Brey and into the goal, the center’s 10th goal of the season. Skirving’s 22nd goal of the season came shorthanded and doubled the margin to 2-0 with 9:12 to go. Skirving picked up a loose puck at center, and blew the Dubuque defense leading to a breakaway where Skirving wristed a shot into the upper left hand corner of the net past Brey. A Fighting Saints score with 3:56 on the clock briefly tempered the Herd momentum, dividing Sioux Falls’ advantage to 2-1.
The energy stayed in the Herd’s favor thanks to another Schempp goal 2:05 into the second period, bringing the contest back to a two-score game at 3-1. However, any roll the Herd were on was promptly killed by two goals within 23 ticks of each other, starting with a score by Jarrid Privitera at 15:06. His linemate Evan Janssen tied it up seconds later with a rebound past Lindgren, making it 3-3. The goal did not discourage the Stampede offense, as they regained control of the game with a beautiful goal from Zeb Knutson exactly two minutes before the final intermission. Knudson took a pass up the left wing wall from Dennis Kravchenko and broke in free down the left wing wall before wristing a shot inside the left circle past Brey to give Sioux Falls a 4-3 advantage.
“We responded very well,” said Eades. “We got that go-ahead goal and the momentum back before the end of the period.”
Rock-solid goaltending and stellar defense sealed the 4-3 win for Sioux Falls, who will play the last two games of the year at home in front of their fans.
“To have the last two games at home in front of our fans is a great way to end the season,” said Schempp.
Courtesy: Sioux Falls Stampede