Photo Courtesy: BA Photos
Lincoln, NE—For the third straight game the Sioux Falls Stampede sent the game into overtime or a shootout and for the third straight time and fifth time this season, the Herd came up just short. The Stampede let a 3-0 first period lead slip away, but rallied to tie the game 4-4 in the final 30 seconds of the game only to watch Lincoln take the game in overtime, 5-4, Saturday night at The Ice Box. The Stampede are now winless in their last five games and winless in all five overtime/shootout games this season.
Four different players scored goals while Mikhail Berdin stopped 40 of 44 shots in goal to help the Stampede earn a point as they stand at 4-4-5 on the season. Despite their struggles in the extra session, the Herd have earned at least a point in four of their last five games and sit tied for third place in the Western Conference.
A night after scoring just one goal in a heartbreaking OT loss to Sioux City, the Stampede came out firing and tallied three goals in the first period. The Herd grabbed the first goal of the game just 5:50 into the game when Lucas Breault won a battle in the left wing corner and sent a perfect pass in front of the net to Adam Dawe who tapped the puck into the back of the net to give the Herd a 1-0 lead. Sioux Falls added to their lead at 8:41 just as a penalty to Jack St. Ivany expired. St. Ivany grabbed the puck out of the box and brought the puck down the left-wing boards before sending a pass onto the tap of Kevin Conley who quickly wristed the puck past Lincoln goaltender Tomas Vomacka for a two-goal advantage. The Herd would make it a three-goal advantage at 15:31 when Mitchell Mattson raced hard to the net and took a pass in the slot from Matt Gould, slapping the puck past Vomacka and sent Vomacka to the bench early. The Stars outshot the Herd 13-12 in the period.
The second period brought plenty of craziness. With the Stampede on the power play and looking to take a 4-0 lead, the Stars came to life with a shorthanded goal at the nine minute mark when Dominick Mersch blasted a shot into the upper right-hand corner of the net to make it a 3-1 game. Later in the period a high sticking penalty that should have been on Lincoln went uncalled and the Stars took advantage, scoring their second of the night when Paul Cotter fired a shot that went just under the crossbar and over the goal line to make it a 3-2 game. The goal was reviewed as it appeared to had hit the crossbar and bounce out, but the referee said it went over the line and the goal stood. Things got chippy from there with both teams exchanging some jabs, but the Herd took a 3-2 lead into the locker room despite being outshot 10-2.
The Stars kept the pressure coming and would tie the game just 2:27 into the period when Atte Tuliara wristed a shot from the right point through traffic and perfectly into the upper left-hand corner of the net. Lincoln wasn’t done scoring, they would take the lead and score their fourth unanswered goal at 5:02 when Casey Dornbach beat Berdin for a 4-3 lead. It remained a one goal game until late in the period and the Stampede pulled Berdin for an extra attacker. Jack St. Ivany jumped up to keep the puck in the zone and skated behind the Lincoln net before send a pass in the high slot for Nolan Walker who fired a shot through traffic and into the upper right-hand corner of the net to tie the game 4-4 with just 30 seconds remaining in regulation.
That goal would eventually force overtime where once again the Stampede had a few good chances, but would come up on the wrong end of the score. An errant pass at the Stampede blue line led to a breakaway for Lincoln that was stopped by Berdin, but the rebound bounced back to Dornbach who found Paul Cotter in the slot and Cotter slipped the puck under the pads of Berdin for the victory.
Lincoln outshot the Herd 18-6 in the third period and 45-21 in the game. The Herd finished 0-for-5 on the power play while the Stars were 0-for-4.
Sioux Falls returns to action on Friday when they open a weekend series at home against the Muskegon Lumberjacks at the PREMIER Center. Saturday night is Teddy Bear Toss Night, presented by Dental Solutions. Fans are encouraged to bring a new teddy bear to the game and toss it onto the ice after the Herd’s first goal. All bears collected will be donated to brighten the smiles of children less fortunate during the holiday season.