Geneva, IL—A five goal second period helped lift the Sioux Falls Stampede to a 7-4 victory over the Chicago Steel Friday night at the Fox Valley Ice Arena. The Herd trailed 2-0 early in the first period, but rattled off six unanswered goals en route to their 32nd victory of the season. Jared Westcott tallied two goals while Artem Ivanyuzhenkov tallied a goal and three assists in the victory. Jaxson Stauber stopped 20 of 24 shots in goal while Alec Calvaruso stopped all six shots he faced in relief as the Herd finish the season series with Chicago, 2-0-0. The win put the Herd (32-13-4) one point ahead of the Waterloo Black Hawks for second place in the Western Conference with the two teams slated to face each other Saturday night in Waterloo.
The Steel came out flying and were skating circles around the Herd in the first few minutes of the game. Chicago grabbed a 1-0 lead 5:12 into the period with a power play goal. John Spetz took the puck from the right point and blasted a shot through traffic and into the back of the net. Just over two minutes later the Steel extended their lead when Ville Rasanen tallied his first goal of the season off a shot from the top of the left circle that beat Stampede goaltender Jaxon Stabuer’s glove for a 2-0 advantage.
The Stampede were able to settle down after that and got on the board with three minutes remaining when Ethan Phillips tallied his 12th goal of the season on the power play. Phillips took a pass from Anthony Romano to the right of the goaltender and sent a pass through the crease that deflected off Justin Robbins stick and into the net to make it a 2-1 game. Chicago outshot the Herd 16-6 in the period.
The Stampede started the second on the power play and took advantage just 1:18 into the period when Anthony Romano tallied his 19th goal of the season. The Herd took their first lead of the night at 5:39 when Sam Stevens tallied his fourth goal in as many games. Artem Ivanyuzhenkov drove into the Steel zone and down the right-wing boards heading towards the net before backhanding a pass through the slot to Stevens who skated in and knocked the puck into the net to make it 3-2. It remained that way until 11:07 when the Herd struck on the power play again. Ivanyuzhenkov found Swankler on the backdoor and Swankler backhanded the puck off Chicago goaltender Justin Robbins and into the net for a 4-2 advantage.
Less than two minutes later the Herd extended their lead on a goal from Jared Westcott. Carl Bergulund sent a pass up ice to Westcott who raced inside the offensive zone and cut in front of the net where he backhanded a shot into the net for a 5-2 lead. Sioux Falls kept rolling and scored their sixth unanswered goal with 57 seconds remaining in the period when Wescott struck again, this time jamming in a rebound, for his second of the night and 14th of the season. Sioux Falls outshot Chicago 10-6 in the period.
The Steel made a little bit of a rally in the third, getting back-to-back power play goals at 2:59 and 6:26 to cut the Stampede lead to two goals. That sent Stauber to the bench in favor of Alec Calvaruso and the Stampede clamped down for the rest of the period. The Herd iced the game with 1:47 left in the game on an empty net goal from Ivanyuzhenkov.
Chicago outshot the Stampede 8-3 in the third period and 30-19 in the game. Sioux Falls finished the night 3-for-4 on the power play while Chicago was 3-for5.
The Stampede return to action Saturday night when they travel to Waterloo in a battle for second place with the Black Hawks. The Herd enter the game one point ahead of the Hawks for second place in the Western Conference. Fans can catch all the action on KELO News Talk 1320-AM, 105.1-FM, 107.9-FM and KELO.com starting at 6:40 PM. The game will also be available on HockeyTV.com.