The Stampede enter the final weekend of the regular season tied for second place in the USHL Western Conference. The playoffs start next week, and Sioux Falls is prepared for a variety of scenarios. KELOLAND’s Grant Sweeter has that story.
The Stampede will play a pair of meaningful games this weekend, and Jaxson Stauber will be starting in goal following an ankle injury to starting netminder Alec Calvaruso.
“He’s a two year guy so he’s been around and he knows what he’s doing and in practice he’s lights out and he just has that mentality, you know when he’s out there on the ice, he’s going to be ready to go,” Blake Bride says.
“That’s something that when you’re not playing a lot you always have to do is just to be prepared because you never know what’s going to happen and when you get those opportunities, you want to be able to take advantage of them,” Jaxson Stauber says.
“The Stampede are currently tied for second in the Western Conference standings and if they can hang on to second place in their final two games, they will get a first round bye for the Clark Cup Playoffs,” KELOLAND’S Grant Sweeter says.
“I think our guys are going to be excited, they’re meaningful games. You know anytime you’re playing meaningful games in hockey in April, it’s a good thing,” Head Coach Scott Owens says.
A first-round bye would earn the Stampede some much-needed rest following a long regular season.
“Not just the goal tending but we’ve got some other guys, you know when you play a season that six and a half/seven months long you get guys banged up and so we’d like to get healthy. If we need to play Tuesday, we’ll play Tuesday,” Owens says.
The Herd hopes to make a deep playoff run, and depth of talent will be a key to the team’s success.
“Our team’s pretty much stacked, we’ve got a lot of strong individuals but we have a great team together so it all comes together nicely,” Bride says.
Sioux Falls and Waterloo are currently tied for second place. The Stampede hosts Sioux City on Friday and Des Moines Saturday, while the Black Hawks play a home-and-home against Dubuque.