SIOUX FALLS, SD -- The Sioux Falls Stampede finished the 2012-13 regular season with a win against the team they had the most trouble against as they squeezed a 4-2 win over the Omaha Lancers Saturday night at the Arena in front of a sellout crowd of 4,668 fans. It marked the fourth sellout of the season for the Herd.

The team from Nebraska came into the night carrying a 5-2-0 record against their bordering rivals, the only team in the USHL with a winning record against the Herd.

“It was a little extra motivation for the guys,” said head coach Cary Eades.  “We wanted to continue the good mojo heading into the playoffs, especially against Omaha.”

Four different players hit the scoreboard for the Herd, while netminder David Jacobson had a solid performance in goal with 22 shots stopped in 24 Lancer attempts.  The Stampede finished the regular season with a franchise best record of 45-17-2. They also set a franchise record for most points in a season with 92.

Victor Bjorking and Tony Calderone scored within 14 seconds of each other not even two minutes into the game to propel the Herd to an early 2-0 cliff over the Lancers.  Bjorkung kicked off the lamp-lightning at 1:43 with an absolute monster of a shot from the left side just a few feet outside the blue line, the defenseman’s seventh goal the season.  The tally was followed not long after by a swift Calderone wrist shot while the audience was finishing celebrating the first goal.  Sioux Falls appeared to have a third goal at 9:15 by Conner Valesano, but it was waived off due to high-sticking after a small conference of referees.

The second period featured more offensive pressure from the Lancers, as two Omaha goals bookended a lone Herd score.  Omaha’s Tyler Hines cut the margin in half at 4:24 to make it 3-2 Sioux Falls, but Dakota Joshua’s first goal as a member of the Herd provided a response 1:40 later.  However, persistence paid off for the Lancers and Ryan Tait brought it right back to a one-goal hole with 4:25 left before the final intermission.

Things remained at a tense 3-2 standstill until Todd Skirving clinched the contest with a clutch score on a nice 2-on-1 break with Kyle Schempp with just 2:14 remaining on the clock.

“Schempp put a nice saucer pass right on my tape,” said Skirving.  “It gave me a wide open net and I was fortunate enough to be in the right spot.”

Sioux Falls will now wait for the results Sunday night to see if they’ll be facing the Lincoln Stars or the Waterloo Black Hawks at home Tuesday night.  Lincoln leads Waterloo by one point for third place, but the Black Hawks play Sunday at Indiana in their final game of the season. If Waterloo wins, they would finish third and the Stampede would play Lincoln. If they lose, the Herd will face the Hawks in the first round.

“Whoever we get, it’s going to be a real good team,” said Eades.

Regardless of the Herd face, Game 1 will be at the Sioux Falls Arena 7:05 pm Tuesday night with Game 2 to come Wednesday night at the same time.  Be sure to visit Sunday night for the complete first round playoff schedule.

Courtesy:  Sioux Falls Stampede