A flurry of goals to start the second period was the difference as the Sioux Falls Stampede fell 4-3 to the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders Friday night at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. The loss was the Herd’s (20-10-4) first in regulation since January 4th. Max Crozier, Jeppe Urup and Jared Westcott scored in the game for the Herd who remain in fourth place in the Western Conference. Alec Calvaruso stopped 22 of 26 shots in between the pipes for Sioux Falls who are still 13-3-2 since December 1st.
The Stampede knew they would be facing a very tough defensive team in Cedar Rapids and they saw that in the first period, but took advantage of two good chances. With the game scoreless midway through the first period, the Herd took advantage on the power play. Max Crozier took the puck from center ice and weaved his way through the RoughRiders defense and backhanded a shot into the back of the goal for a 1-0 lead. Late in the period the Herd would get flagged for a penalty, but it would be the Stampede taking advantage. Matt Kessel found an open Jared Westcott at 19:16 who tallied his 10th goal of the season for a 2-0 lead after one. Cedar Rapids outshot Sioux Falls 8-5 in the period.
Things got crazy in the second as the Herd killed off the final 20 seconds off of a penalty, but the Riders got rolling and scored three unanswered goals in a span of less than three minutes. Nathan Smith got things rolling just 1:20 in when he wristed a shot into the upper left-hand corner of the net. Seconds later it was Liam Walsh who scored on a give-and-go to tie the game at two. The Riders took the lead at 4:05 when Kyle Looft hooked up with Walsh again and Cedar Rapids quickly led 3-2. The Stampede were able to settle things down after that and keep it a one goal game.
The Herd would tie the game at 11:16 when Sam Stevens kicked the puck out of the right corner to Austen Swankler who drove to the goal before sending a pass to the high slot where Jeppe Urup took care of business. Urup waited patiently and wristed the puck into the upper left-hand corner of the net to make it a 3-3 game. From there, Cedar Rapids had several good scoring chances, but Alec Calvaruso was on top of his game and made several big saves to keep the game even heading into the third period. Cedar Rapids outshot the Herd 13-9.
The third period featured some exciting hockey up and down the ice. With the game still tied, the RoughRiders took the lead for good at 11:34. Jack O’Leary took the puck from the left circle and sent a pass into the high slot for Aidan McDonough who wristed a shot through traffic that beat Calvaruso on the glove side for a 4-3 lead. The Herd would get into penalty trouble late in the period and found themselves down two men, but nearly tied the game when Alex Stevens came out of the box and caught a pass to race in on a breakaway, but was denied off the left shoulder of Cedar Rapids goaltender Blake Pietila. The Herd pulled Calvaruso late, but were unable to get the tying goal and came up just short.
Cedar Rapids outshot the Herd 26-19 in the game and went 0-for-4 on the power play while the Herd were 1-for-3.
The Stampede return to action Saturday night when they travel to Madison to face the Capitols at 7:05 PM. Fans can catch the game live on KELO News Talk 1320-AM, 105.1-FM, 107.9-FM and KELO.com starting at 6:40 PM.