CORRECTION: Sioux Falls Did Not win the Andersen Cup last year.
The Stampede entered this season with a lot of expectations after coming up just short of the Finals a year ago. The team didn't lose much during the off season, but still dropped 11 more games this year. Throw those records out the window, because now every team starts over.
Last year the Stampede finished the regular season first in the Western Conference earning the top seed in the playoffs. After a roller coaster season that included highs, lows, and many roster changes they are ready to start with a clean slate.
"We've definitely had an up and down year, but we are ready for the playoffs and making it a run at. We are ready for anybody," said Stampede Defensemen Chad Duchesne.
"Our season started over on February 1st," Stampede Coach Cary Eades said. "We made five trades in January and went on quite a roll. Since then we have taken a step back in the win and loss columns over the last couple weekends. We like our club, we like our chances, and we're ready to roll into the playoffs."
They enter the post season with six players that scored over 40 points, including C.J. Franklin who finished with 51. Although the team can find the back of the net, they're toughness is what will carry them.
"We have a lot of skill guys on this team and I think we are one of the most skilled teams in the league. We can also grind teams down because we are checking team. We really wear teams down, we're very disciplined, and that is how we get our wins. Overall I think we are a tough team to play against every night," Stampede Defensemen Jack Stander said.
Coach Eades saw his team that was supposed to win it all last year fall short, so he knows at this point his team has as good a chance as any.
"Everybody starts zero and zero. It's a fresh new season and we can wipe away any disappointment we had in the regular season. We are one of four teams in a very tough Western Conference that qualified for the playoffs, so let's bring it on," Eades said.
The Stampede will now focus on their round one opponent from Waterloo. The Blackhawks won the Anderson Cup this season. Games one and two will be in Waterloo this Friday and Saturday. Game three will take place in Sioux Falls April 17th. It is a best of five series.