Matt Van Voorhis’ goal at 6:44 of the third period proved to be the game winner as the Stampede earned their sixth straight road win with a 3-2 victory at Sioux City Saturday night. C.J. Franklin tallied his team leading 30th goal of the season while Victor Bjorkung scored as well in the victory for the Herd who improved to 39-14-2 on the year and increased their lead in the West to seven points over Fargo while remaining just three points behind Dubuque in the race for the Anderson Cup.
The Stampede won for the fourth straight game overall and finished their season series with Sioux City with a 7-0-1 mark. Charlie Lindgren earned his 30th win of the season with 25 saves and is now just one win shy of tying the franchise record for wins in a season of 31 set by David Bowen back during the 1999-2000 season.
The Musketeers showed why they have beaten some of the top teams in the league in the first period as they came out flying and controlled much of the play in the first period. They broke through and scored at 10:54 when Tomas Torok shot went off the goal post and bounced to Cullen Munson who swatted the rebound into the back of the net to give Sioux City a 1-0 lead. The Herd didn’t tally their first shot on net until just under seven minutes remaining when they were on the powerplay. The Musketeers went 0-for-3 on the powerplay while the Herd were 0-for-1. Sioux City outshot the Herd 11-4 in the period.
Sioux Falls got on the board at 12:29 when C.J. Franklin took the puck off an offensive zone face-off and wristed the puck from the right circle and clanked it off the right goal post and into the back of the net for his 30th goal of the season. With the goal, Franklin becomes the first Stampede player since Jake Hansen in 2007-08 to hit 30 goals in a season.
The game stayed tied 1-1 until the final minute of the period when Victor Bjorkung took a pass from Kyle Schempp and blasted the puck into the back of the net with 47 seconds remaining. Bjorkung fired a shot from the left point through traffic and into the back of the net to make it a 2-1 game. It marked the second straight night the Herd scored in the final minute of the second period to take a lead into the locker room. The Herd outshot the Musketeers 10-6 in the period.
Sioux City went on the powerplay early in the third and cashed in when Michael Kapla’s blast from the right point found its way past Lindgren and into the back of the net to make it a 2-2 game at 3:33. Three minutes later the Herd would regain the lead again when Matt Van Voorhis tallied his fourth goal of the season. Connor Valesano brought the puck into the Musketeers zone and dropped it back to Joe Schuldt who fired a shot onto the pads of Musketeers netminder Connor Girard, but Van Voorhis hustled down the left wing boards and slapped the rebound over the left shoulder of Girard and into the back of the net to give Sioux Falls a 3-2 edge. Sioux City tried to rally late in the third period, but Lindgren was once again solid in between the pipes and the Herd held on for the victories.
Both teams finished the night with 27 shots each. The Musketeers finished the night 1-for-5 on the powerplay while the Herd finished 0-for-4.
The Stampede can clinch a playoff spot by earning a point on Wednesday when they host Tri-City at 7:05 PM at the Sioux Falls Arena. It is the start of three games in four days for the club who will play at Lincoln and at Tri-City on Friday and Saturday. Tickets for Wednesday’s game are available through the Sioux Falls Arena Box Office or any Ticketmaster location.
Courtesy: Jim Olander, Vice President Broadcast & Communications, Sioux Falls Stampede Hockey