ORANGE CITY, NJ -- C.J. Franklin scored on a breakaway with 2.3 seconds left in overtime to lift the Sioux Falls Stampede to a 5-4 victory over the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in the first game of the USHL Atlantic Challenge in New Jersey.

Franklin had a goal and an assist while Griffin Molino, Kristoffer Brun and Ed McGovern also scored goals for the Herd. David Jacobson started the game in goal and stopped 9 of 11 shots while Shane Starrett stopped 11 of 13 in the second half of the game.

Despite it being the first pre-season game, both teams played well in the first period. The game was scoreless until the final four minutes. Sioux Falls got on the board first when Logan O’Connor scored the first goal of the year. Dennis Kravchenko sent a pass into the slot for Franklin who got a shot on goal, but was stopped by Chris Birdsall, but O’Connor was there for the rebound and knocked home the rebound to give the Herd a 1-0 lead. The celebration would be short lived however, as Cedar Rapids responded 25 seconds later on a nice give-and-go goal from Avni Berisha. Sioux Falls outshot the Riders, 9-5 in the period.

Cedar Rapids took a 2-1 lead just 3:48 into the second period when Mark Auk took a pass in the slot and slipped a backhand shot under the left glove of Jacobson. The Herd would respond five minutes later when Molino scored his first goal as a member of the Herd. Conner Valesano brought the puck down the right wing boards and slid the puck into the slot where Molino buried the pass into the back of the net. The Herd regained the lead at 11:23 when Brun’s wrist shot from the top of the left circle beat Cedar Rapids goalie Danny Tirone. McGovern made it a 4-2 game when he scored at 11:51 off a blast from the right point. Sioux Falls outshot Cedar Rapids 7-6 in the period.

In the third, the momentum shifted in favor of Cedar Rapids who rallied to tie the game. Cody Champagne scored on a blast from the right circle at 2:59 to cut the lead in half and then Jason Kalinowski ripped a shot into the upper right hand corner of the net past the stick side of Starrett to tie the game at four. Sioux Falls settled down after that, but neither team was able to score and the game eventually went to overtime.

In the extra session, both teams played 3-on-3 in an experiment with the league. Both teams traded scoring chances, but the game came down to the final seconds when Chad Duchense blocked a 2-on-1 pass in the Stampede zone that was picked up by Zeb Knutson who then fed the puck to Franklin who scored on a breakaway to give the Herd a 5-4 win.

Sioux Falls outshot Cedar Rapids 30-24 on the night and went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill and 0-for-1 on the powerplay.

Sioux Falls returns to action at the USHL Atlantic Challenge Saturday at 11:30 AM CT when they face the Youngstown Phantoms.

Courtesy:  Sioux Falls Stampede