SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Stampede goaltender Jaxson Stauber has helped guide Sioux Falls to its fourth Clark Cup Final appearance, but his season has been a roller coaster journey.
Jaxson Stauber began the season as the Stampede’s top goalie, starting 13 of the team’s first 21 games. After Sioux Falls signed Alec Calvaruso in December, Stauber’s role changed, as he appeared in only 16 of the team’s final 41 contests.
“When Calvaruso starts so well in December through Christmas, he was outstanding, his numbers were great. It was tough for Jaxson. He had to be patient,” Stampede Head Coach Scott Owens said.
“Going into the year I was expecting to play a lot, so it was disappointing for me, but I just kind of had to stay focused and keep working. When my opportunity came I just had to be ready,” Stampede Goalie Jaxson Stauber said.
Rather than sulk about his lack of playing time, Stauber prepared everyday as if he was the starter. That mentality paid off after Calvaruso went down with an injury late in the regular season. Jaxson would start the final two games before the playoffs, even earning his first career shutout.
“To get those two games under my belt and kind of get back in the swing of things definitely helped getting into the playoffs where I was going to be playing a lot more,” Stauber said.
Stauber’s play has continued to elevate since returning to the starting role, as he leads the USHL in playoff wins, save percentage, and goals against average.
“I just think he knows he’s the guy. He doesn’t have any other noise, he can just concentrate on what he’s doing,” Owens said.
After experiencing numerous highs and lows, Stauber has helped guide the Stampede to the Clark Cup Final, which his coach calls a fitting end for a young man who’s always been about the team.
“I just think his approach has been so good, and I think he’s getting rewarded for it because his approach has been so good. He’s continued to work hard in practice and has been team-first all the way,” Owens said.
Stauber and the Stampede open the Clark Cup Final against Chicago Friday night. The puck drops on game one at 7:05.