SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Stampede) — The Sioux Falls Stampede Hockey Club earned two points in USHL standings with Saturday night’s 5-2 win over the Des Moines Buccaneers. The Herd is now ahead of the Buccaneers in conference standings and holds a playoff spot.
With a scoreless first ten minutes, both teams battled to get on the scoreboard first. Ultimately, the Buccaneers were able to find the back of Xavier Medina’s net 10:27 into the period, putting the Stampede down by one goal. A few moments later, Sam Harris put a halt to the Buccaneers’ lead with a goal of his own, assisted by Clint Levens. His 25th goal of the season moved Harris into 11th place in the USHL for goals scored.
The Herd came out of the locker room with a fire under their feet for the second period. With numbers on their side, Isaac Gordon passed to Will McDonough on a two-on-one advantage leading McDonough to score with just 2:03 expired from the clock. Maddox Fleming added to the Stampede’s lead while on a double-minor powerplay with under four minutes to play. Fleming’s 12th goal of the season was assisted by Max Rud and JJ Wiebusch, putting the Herd up by two goals heading into the third.
The Buccaneers were able to close the gap slightly seven minutes into the third frame with a goal from Davis Borozinskis. This one goal lead lasted for most of the period until the Buccaneers pulled Max Lundgren from his net, leading to Clint Levens sinking an empty-net goal with 1:01 left to play. With 21 seconds left in the matchup, Maddox Fleming marked his second goal of the evening, this time on another empty net, with a pass from Sam Harris.
Xavier Medina earned the win while in net for the Herd, hitting 22 saves on 24 attempts and a .917 save percentage. Medina is now 13-15-3 between the pipes for the Stampede, marking a .908 save percentage and 3.01 goals against average.
The Herd is back to the Denny Sanford Premier Center Sunday afternoon for a 4:05 p.m. puck drop against the Omaha Lancers. Now that the team is in a playoff position, the Stampede will be fighting for every point in their nine remaining regular season games. They are now just one point ahead of the Buccaneers, sitting at the playoff threshold of sixth place.