Stampede claim Clark Cup with improbable playoff run

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The Stampede hoisted the Clark Cup for the third time in franchise history following Friday’s convincing 5-1 win at Chicago, completing a finals sweep and improbable playoff run.

The Stampede finished the Clark Cup playoffs 11-1 overall, including 7-0 at the PREMIER Center, but saved their best for last with a lopsided 5-1 road win to capture the cup.

“It was amazing.  I didn’t know what to expect.  I went up, I grabbed it and just went straight to my team because everyone was a part of this, everyone won this, this was team effort.  Everyone deserved to hold that cup right away, so I wanted to get it to them as fast as possible,” Stampede captain Blake Bride said.

Stampede goalie Jaxson Stauber, who was thrust into duty late in the regular season due to an injury, won a franchise-record eleven postseason games, and was named playoff MVP.

“It’s a real story of perseverance and then to see his approach and maturity from him, which is hugely satisfying and obviously, over 94 percent save ratio and an under 1.4, that’s unbelievable,” Stampede head coach Scott Owens said.

“You know, I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my teammates, not just the D but the forwards, they were coming back and playing hard defense, so a lot of credit has to go to them,” Stampede goaltender Jaxson Stauber said.

After an unbelievable five-week stretch of hockey, there’s no rest for the weary, as the Stampede start the building process over again.

“Right now, we just kind of enjoy it and in three weeks we have our first tryout camp and we try to restock and see who’s back, see who’s leaving, and then just try to learn from this, there’s a lot of value in playing this many quality games at the end of the year,” Owens said.

“This team has so much talent and there’s a lot of kids coming back that are ready to take over and keep pursuing and take this next team to to the next level, just like this team, so we’re in a bright spot and it’s going to be another good year next year,” Bride said.

The Stampede will host an end-of-year celebration at 5:30 Tuesday at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.

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