The Stampede got into penalty trouble in the third period and let a 3-1 lead slip away, falling 4-3 to Tri-City Saturday night at the Viaero Event Center. It marked the first time all season the Herd lost a game in regulation when leading after two periods and dropped their overall record to 21-13-4 and are 1-6-2 in their last nine games. The Herd still has a tight hold on the fourth and final playoff spot and trail third place Sioux City by just two points. Ryan Schwalbe, Logan O’Connor and Tony Calderone all scored in the loss while Art Brey stopped 20 of 24 shots in goal. It was the final meeting of the year between the two teams as Sioux Falls finished just 2-4-1 against the Storm (15-21-2).
The Herd came out flying in the first and registered 14 shots on goal, but much like the previous handful of games, the Stampede could not get a bounce and were held scoreless. The Storm grabbed the first goal of the game 8:41 on a power play goal from Patrick Curry. Curry took a pass inside the left circle and raced past the Stampede defense before wristing a shot into the upper right hand corner of the net past Art Brey. That would be the only goal of the period as Tri-City took a 1-0 lead into the locker room.
The Stampede didn’t waste much time tying the game in the second, scoring just 1:56 in on a goal from Ryan Schwalbe. Schwalbe stole the puck at center ice, raced down the right wing wall and wristed a shot from inside the right circle into the upper right hand corner of the net and past the glove of Storm goaltender Jacob Johansson. It was Schwalbe’s fourth goal of the season and first as a member of the Stampede. It would stay that way until the 10:27 mark of the period when Logan O’Connor tallied his second goal of the season. Jason Stephanik wristed a shot that was stopped by the right pad of Johansson, but the rebound bounced inside the crease and O’Connor dove and knocked the puck into the back of the net to give Sioux Falls a 2-1 lead. Sioux Falls and Tri-City both had nine shots on goal in the period.
The third period started out well for the Stampede as they extended their lead to 3-1 when Tony Calderone tallied his 13th goal of the season just 1:48 in. Things changed just minutes later though when Eduard Simun was flagged for a delay of game after dropping the gloves and Ed McGovern was called for abuse of officials, and received a ten minute misconduct. Just seconds later Chad Duchesne covered the puck in the corner and was called for a delay of game and R.J. Majkozak was called for abuse of officials and a received a ten minute misconduct. It led to a 5-on-3 advantage for Tri-City and they cashed in at 4:29 when Chris Wilkie blasted a shot into the upper right hand corner of the net. Less than four minutes later the Storm scored again on the power play when Ryan McMurphy took a pass in the left circle from Tory Dello and lifted it into the back of the net to tie the game 3-3.
Three minutes later the Storm completed the comeback when Christian Horn’s shot from the top of the left circle took an awkward bounce and caught Brey off guard, beating him on the glove side to give the Storm a 4-3 advantage. It was the first even strength goal of the night for the Storm. Sioux Falls would try to rally late for the second night in a row, but this time the Storm kept the Herd off the board and held on for victory.
Tri-City finished the night 3-for-10 on the power play while Sioux Falls went 1-for-6. The Stampede outshot the Storm, 32-24 on the night.
Sioux Falls returns to action Friday night when they host Cedar Rapids at 7 PM for “Thomas Vanek Night.” The first 500 fans through the doors will receive a FREE Stampede Thomas Vanek bobblehead. In honor of the Herd’s all-time leading scorer, the Stampede are offering a special ticket offer. Fans can purchase two tickets for just $12 through the Stampede office. This is offer is valid until 5 PM Friday only at the Stampede office or by calling 336-6060.
Courtesy: Jim Olander, Vice President Broadcast & Marketing, Sioux Falls Stampede Hockey