Sioux Falls, SD—In a game for the ages, the Sioux Falls Stampede defeated the Sioux City Musketeers 3-2 in four overtimes in a game that started Wednesday night and ended Thursday morning at the PREMIER Center. Austen Swankler’s goal at 2:57 of the fourth overtime ended the longest game in USHL history during the Tier I era. The game began at 7:05 PM and ended at 12:13 AM and was 122 minutes and 57 seconds long.
The Stampede swept the two-game series with their rivals from Sioux City and advance to the Western Conference Semi-Finals where they will face Waterloo starting this weekend on the road. Ethan Phillips and Andre Lee tallied goals for the Herd while Jaxson Stauber was stellar between the pipes stopping 39 of 41 shots on the night. Including the regular season, the Herd went 9-0-1 against Sioux City this season.
The Stampede knew the Musketeers would come out desperate with their season on the line and they did just that, putting up five quick shots on the Herd, but Sioux Falls stayed strong and kept the game scoreless. For the second straight night the Stampede grabbed the first goal of the game at 11:03 when Ethan Phillips tallied his first of the playoffs. Phillips made the play all by himself knocking the puck out of the defensive zone and then poked check the puck through the neutral zone before racing into the Musketeers zone on a breakaway where he beat Ben Kraws under the left pad for a 1-0 lead. The Musketeers would respond at 15:08 when Anthony Kehrer sent a pass into the slot for Blake Biondi who quickly wristed the puck into the upper right-hand corner of the net to make it 1-1. Sioux Falls went 0-for-2 on the power play in the first while the Musketeers were 0-for-1, both teams tallied nine shots in the period.
The Musketeers took their first lead of the playoffs just 2:20 in when Anthony Kehrer sent a pass through the slot to Albin Nilsson who came charging in and tipped the puck over the left shoulder of Stauber to give the Musketeers their first lead of the playoffs. The Stampede took control of the rest of the period though, outshooting Sioux City 10-2 in the period, but the Musketeers took a 2-1 lead into the locker room.
The Stampede went on a power play early in the third and were able to finally cash in and tie the game. Max Crozier sent a pass into the high slot for Andre Lee who wristed a shot through traffic and into the net to tie the game at two. Both teams tallied eight shots on goal, but neither would score and the game remain tied 2-2, putting the game into overtime.
The first overtime saw the Musketeers on the power play to start things, but the Herd were able to kill it off and eventually went on their own power play, but couldn’t convert sending the game into a second overtime. Sioux City outshot the Herd 9-5. In the second OT the Herd got another chance on the power play, but Kraws and the Musketeers defense shut down the Herd and kept the game tied at two. It would eventually go into a third overtime with both teams finding some chances, including Andre Lee being stopped on a backhand shot that was for sure headed into the goal but again, nothing would budge.
As the game went into the fourth overtime it became the longest game in USHL history in the Tier I era so something had to give. Jaxson Stauber made a big save that was collected by Max Crozier who sent a pass up the right side to Austen Swankler who then used his speed to enter the Sioux City zone, get past a defenseman and backhand a shot through the pads of Kraws for a historic victory, 3-2.
Sioux Falls outshot the Musketeers 52-41 on the night and finished 1-for-10 on the power play while the Musketeers were 0-for-7.
The Stampede will now advance to the Western Conference Semi-Final where they will play Waterloo starting this weekend at Young Arena. The Herd tied the Black Hawks for second place during the regular season with an identical record. An official schedule will be made available on Thursday. Visit sfstampede.com or follow @sfstampede on social media for the latest info.