WHO: Stampede (39-16-7) at Waterloo (39-16-7)
WHAT: Game 1 of Western Conference Semi-Finals
WHEN: Tonight (Friday) 7:05 PM
WHERE: Young Arena
RADIO: KELO 1320-AM, 105.1-FM or click here to listen live
VIDEO: HockeyTV: Click here
TONIGHT’S GAME: The Stampede travel to Waterloo to face the Black Hawks in the Game 1 of the Western Conference Semi-Final series which is best-of-five. The two teams will meet again tomorrow night in game two before the series shifts to Sioux Falls early next week.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: The Stampede and Black Hawks finished with identical records during the regular season, but the Black Hawks earned the bye with more regulation and overtime wins (38 vs 36). Sioux Falls took the season series against the Hawks, going 4-1-1, including a 2-0-1 mark at Young Arena.
The Herd will keep an eye on Emil Ohrvall who tallied 10 points (8g, 2a) in six games against the Stampede during the regular season. He led the Hawks in scoring during the regular season with 63 points, Matej Blumel was second with 60 points. In goal, Evan Fear faced the Stampede just once, allowing four goals in a shootout loss. He played the last two games of the regular season for the Black Hawks and went 9-2-3 with a 2.13 GAA and a .925 save percentage in 14 games with Waterloo this season.
For Sioux Falls, Brian Chambers recorded eight points (3g, 5a) in six games while Cade Borchardt, Ethan Phillips and Artem Ivanyuzhenkov all tallied seven points against the Hawks during the regular season. Ethan Phillips (1g, 3a) and Max Crozier (4a) lead the Stampede in playoff scoring with four points each.
STAMPEDE UPDATE: The Stampede are coming off a two-game first round series sweep of Sioux City and one of the most memorable games in franchise history. The Herd clinched the series with a 3-2 victory in quadruple overtime on Wednesday. The game began at 7:05 PM and ended at 12:13 AM with the teams combining for over 90 shots on goal. Austen Swankler played hero, scoring the game-winning goal 2:57 into the fourth overtime and ending the longest game in USHL history during the Tier I era. Jaxson Stauber was outstanding between the pipes, stopping 39 of 41 shots for his second straight playoff victory.
The Stampede entered the playoffs having won five of their last six games and going 7-3-0 over their last 10 games. The Herd went 3-6-0 during the month of November, but finished the season going 31-9-5, one of the best records in all of the USHL.
BLACK HAWKS UPDATE: The Black Hawks received a first round bye after winning the tiebreaker with the Stampede and playing their first game since last Saturday. They closed out the regular season with a weekend sweep of the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Last Friday, the Hawks squeaked past the Saints 2-1 on home ice before handing Dubuque a 6-2 thumping on Saturday. The Hawks scored four goals in just over a four-minute timespan in the third period to pull away. Six different players scored goals while Evan Fear stopped 18 of 20 shots in goal.
The Black Hawks finished the regular season going 8-2-2 over their final 12 games and went 19-7-5 on home ice. Waterloo finished the regular season with the top power play in the league at 26.1% and were sixth on the penalty kill at 82%.
UP NEXT: The Stampede face Waterloo in Game 2 of the series on Saturday at Young Arena at 7:05 PM. Fans can catch the game live on KELO News Talk 1320-AM, 105.1-FM and KELO.com. The series will shift to Sioux Falls for Game 3 on Tuesday and, if necessary, Game 4 on Wednesday. Tickets for Game 3 are on sale now through the PREMIER Center or Ticketmaster. For more information, contact the Stampede at 336-6060.