If the Tri-City Storm and the Sioux Falls Stampede end up meeting in the Clark Cup playoffs, you will want to get a ticket. In another fierce battle of two of the best teams in the Western Conference, the Storm ended the Stampede’s nine-game home winning streak with a 3-1 victory before 9,784 fans at the PREMIER Center Saturday night. Sioux Falls defeated Tri-City 4-1 on Friday night.
Sam Stevens scored the only goal for the Stampede who remain two points behind second place Waterloo and are 30-13-4 on the season. Alec Calvaruso was outstanding between the pipes, stopping 24 of 26 shots on the night. It was the final meeting of the regular season between the two teams with Tri-City taking the season series with a 3-1-0 mark.
The Stampede carried the momentum from Friday’s game into the first period and tallied the games first five shots on goal, but Storm goaltender Jake Barczewski was solid and kept the Herd off the board. The Herd successfully killed off a penalty later in the period, but Tri-City would score even strength at 13:54. Colton Kalezic wristed a shot that was stopped by the left pad of Alec Calvaruso, but Filip Forsmark skated in quickly and knocked the puck home to give Tri-City at 1-0 edge. Both teams tallied nine shots in the opening period.
Things intensified in the second period, but it was a defensive battle as both goaltenders played well and neither team scored as both teams posted eight shots on goal.
All 9,784 fans were entertained with a fun third period of play. The Herd nearly tied the game a few minutes in on a nice shot by Artem Ivanyuzhenkov, but Barczewski made a terrific sliding save to keep Sioux Falls off the board. The Storm would add to their lead at 7:11 when Ronnie Attard showed why he is the best defenseman in the league, scoring his USHL record 23rd goal of the season. Attard drove inside the right circle around the Stampede defense and then quickly went behind the net and wrapped the puck around and into the goal for a 2-0 advantage.
The Stampede had to kill off a penalty at 12:12 that took some precious time off the clock and the Herd headed into the final five minutes of play still down a goal. Sioux Falls finally broke through with three minutes left when Sam Stevens deflected a shot from Matt Kessel past Barczewski to bring the home crowd to their feet and make it a 2-1 game. The Stampede pulled Calvaruso in the final two minutes for an extra attacker to try and tie the game, but couldn’t get the bounce and Tri-City ended the game with an empty net goal with 23 seconds remaining in the game.
Tri-City outshot the Stampede 10-5 in the third and 27-22 on the night. The Storm went 0-for-2 on the power play while the Herd were 0-for-1.
The Stampede won’t have to think about the loss for long as they have a quick turnaround with an afternoon game at Sioux City on Sunday. Puck drop is 3:05 PM and fans can catch all the action on KELO News Talk 1320-AM, 105.1-FM, 107.9-FM and KELO.com starting at 2:40 PM.