Sioux Falls, SD—If the Sioux Falls Stampede were hoping to gain some momentum and energy heading into the Clark Cup Playoffs it was mission accomplished Saturday night as the Herd rolled over the Des Moines Buccaneers 7-0 before 8,618 fans at the PREMIER Center. Anthony Romano tallied two goals while Andre Lee and Artem Ivanyuzhenkov tallied a goal and an assist each in the win. Jaxson Stauber notched his first career USHL shutout with 16 saves in goal.
The Stampede finished the regular season tied with Waterloo for second in the West with identical records of 39-16-7, but the Black Hawks earn the number two seed in the playoffs due to the tiebreaker for more regulation and overtime wins. Sioux Falls will open the playoffs on Tuesday in a best-of-three series against the Sioux City Musketeers with all three games taking place at the PREMIER Center.
The Herd’s 85 points on the season are third best in franchise history and their 39 wins are fourth best in team history. Sioux Falls finished 23-5-3 on home ice, the best record ever by any Stampede team at the PREMIER Center and second most overall, just one shy of the record of 24 set back during the 2012-13 season.
The Stampede were ready to go from the puck drop and it took them just 1:08 in to grab the first goal of the game. Cade Borchardt and Carl Burglund broke into the Bucs zone and a nice give-and-go play got the puck in the slot from Berglund back to Borchardt who knocked the puck into the net for a 1-0 lead. It remained that way until the 11:59 mark of the period when the Herd struck again, this time Andre Lee tallied his 20th of the season. Brian Chambers took the puck behind the Bucs net and sent a perfect pass into the slot for Lee who quickly one-timed the puck into the upper right-hand corner of the net to make it a 2-0 game. Both teams exchanged two powerplays during the period, but neither could convert and it remained a 2-0 game heading into the second period. Sioux Falls outshot the Bucs 9-5 in the period.
The Stampede kept in high gear in the second adding to their lead at 6:39 on Max Crozier’s 10th blast of the season. After the puck squeaked through the creased, Austen Swankler picked it up and sent it out to the right point for Crozier who blasted a shot perfectly into the upper left-hand corner of the net for a 3-0 edge. It remained that way until 17:37 when Sam Stevens knocked home his 10th of the year. Andre Lee and Blake Bride got a shot onto the net of Buccaneers goaltender James Durham and Sam Stevens jammed in the rebound for a 4-0 advantage. Austen Swankler and Anthony Romano teamed up at 18:54 to give the Herd a comfortable 5-0 advantage at the end of two periods. Sioux Falls outshot Des Moines 27-5 in the period.
Sioux Falls would keep the foot on the gas pedal in the third and score two more goals to close out the game. Artem Ivanyuzhenkov tallied his 47th career Stampede goal placing him in the top 10 all-time amongst Stampede goal scorers at 10:57. Matt Kessel got Ivanyuzhenkov the puck at the top of the right circle and Ivanyuzhenkov wristed a shot through traffic and into the net for his team leading 50th point of the season and a commanding 6-0 lead. Sioux Falls closed out the game when Romano tallied his second of the night with 59 seconds remaining to give Sioux Falls a 7-0 victory.
The Stampede outshot the Bucs 42-16 in the game and went 0-for-3 on the power play while Des Moines was 0-for-2.
The Stampede open their best-of-three first round series of the Clark Cup Playoffs against Sioux City this Tuesday night at 7:05 PM at the PREMIER Center. Tickets will go on sale at noon on Sunday for the game. Game 2 is set for Wednesday night and, if necessary, Game 3 will be on Thursday. Game times are 7:05 PM each night. For more information, contact the Stampede office on Monday at 605-336-6060.