Sioux Falls, SD
The Sioux Falls Stampede have won five straight games, including victories against the league's top two teams - Fargo and Tri-City - and currently stand third in the USHL Western Conference.
The Stampede earned at least one point in all eight of their November games, and have climbed within three points of first-place Fargo in the standings.
"You know, it's funny how confidence works in a lot of things, and especially in sports. I think the guys had a couple good games where they were able to see their name in the box score and all of the sudden they don't grip the stick quite as tightly," Stampede head coach Scott Owens said.
Sioux Falls has averaged nearly five goals per game during its point streak, but has also benefited from the play of netminder Mikhail Berdin. The Winnipeg Jets draft pick currently ranks third in the league in save percentage.
"He's kind of a big game goaltender and we feel very confident when he's out there. He's a second year guy now, he's a Winnipeg draft, he's a very talented young man, and I think he's been playing real well of late," Owens said.
"He's probably one of the best goalies in the USHL, if not the best, drafted by Winnipeg. We know he has our back back there and he always knows that he can count on us to score goals and pick him up. You saw last weekend getting on ESPN top ten scoring that goal, pretty special," Stampede forward Khristian Acosta said.
The Stampede will spend a majority of December on their home ice, but head coach Scott Owens says the club isn't looking too far ahead in a week-to-week league.
"I think guys would be surprised to know how many days it is until Christmas. I think everybody is approaching this week, and the road trip, then home series again. You're programmed to know you're playing until the middle of April, and so you just keep your nose to the grindstone and keep plugging along," Owens said.
"We're not worried about going home and seeing our families. We're just worried about getting points each night. Hopefully getting a win each night, or at least getting a point. Just doing the little things right, getting a team win and hopefully just getting the fans happy and excited to watch us play," Acosta said.
The Stampede will open December with a pair of road games, including Friday's contest at Omaha. The Puck drops at 7:05.
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