The Sioux Falls Stampede’s unofficial second half of the season got off on the right skate as two quick power play goals boosted the Herd past the rough and tumble Sioux City Musketeers 4-1 at the Arena Friday night, the team’s fifth win in a row. Sioux Falls’ eighth triumph in nine games gives the Herd another undisputed night in first place in the Western Conference ahead of the Fargo Force.
Netminder Charlie Lindgren was stellar in goal, permitting a lone goal on 27 Sioux City shots, while C.J. Franklin provided the offense for Sioux Falls (21-8-1) with two goals who have now won eight of their last nine games overall.
“We knew they were a physical team,” said Lindgren. “We were ready for that, and I thought we responded well.
A ferocious power play performance by the Stampede allowed Sioux Falls to leave the first period on top 2-1. The Herd were flawless on the man advantage in back-to-back attempts and squelched the only power play the Musketeers went on. Winger C.J. Franklin did the lamp-lighting honors first, slamming in a rebound off of a long Sam Rothstein attempt 4:35 into the young game to make it 1-0. Though the Musketeers evened the margin less than a minute later, Thomas Forgione’s fifth goal in four games and the Herd’s second power play score of the period assured the Herd entered the first intermission leading 2-1.
“It’s always great to get a power play goal. It gets our team going and it doesn’t give them any energy,” said Franklin. “It’s always nice to come out and just bury it.”
The Herd came out of the second period with a clean 3-1 advantage after twenty minutes in which both teams seemed infatuated with the penalty box. Sioux Falls pounced early on, with Franklin capitalizing on a Zeb Knutson shot only 1:15 after the first intermission had ended. The goal was the only scoring in the infraction-filled period as five different Stampede players spent time in the sin bin, a total the Herd’s I-29 rival had little trouble matching.
“They (Sioux City) are just a grit and spit kind of team,” said Franklin. “They just want to get dirty. We just have to match their intensity and come out and play.”
Lindgren stopped all six shots thrown at him in the relatively civil third period, while the penalty kill thwarted two Musketeer man advantages. Tony Calderone’s goal with 1:57 left on the clock clinched a 4-1 victory, the Herd’s second win in as many nights during the four-game homestand. Sioux Falls will have a rematch against their archrivals tomorrow night in a rare back-to-back.
“They (Sioux City) fought us hard tonight and they’ll be ready to play to try and get a split in the series,” said head coach Cary Eades. “We have to come out and play another good 60 minutes like tonight.”
The Sioux Falls Stampede will face the Sioux City Musketeers again tomorrow night 7:05 at the Arena. The first 500 fans will receive Stampede golf balls, courtesy of Golf Addiction. Tickets are available at the Sioux Falls Arena Box Office.
Courtesy: Jim Olander, Vice President Broadcast & Communications, Sioux Falls Stampede Hockey