Waterloo, IA—Less than 48 hours after playing a four-overtime thriller at the PREMIER Center, the Stampede kicked off their Western Conference Semi-Final series against Waterloo with another OT thriller. Sam Stevens goal with just 30 seconds remaining in overtime lifted the Herd to a 3-2, come-from-behind, victory over the Waterloo Black Hawks in Game 1 on Friday night at Young Arena. Including the nearly five overtimes the Stampede have played, Sioux Falls has played the equivalent of four games in four days.
Matt Kessel and Max Crozier tallied the Stampede’s regulation goals while Jaxson Stauber put together a stellar performance, stopping 35 of 37 shots in goal for his third straight playoff win. The Herd and the Black Hawks meet again in game two on Saturday night at Young Arena.
After a scoreless first period in which both teams tallied nine shots on goal, the Stampede grabbed the first goal of the series at 5:44 on a goal from Matt Kessel. Cade Borchardt brought the puck into the Waterloo zone and dropped into the high slot for Jami Krannila who quickly sent the puck in front of the goal to a streaking Matt Kessel who quickly tipped the puck past Waterloo goaltender Evan Fear for a 1-0 lead. The Black Hawks would respond at 9:18 when Emil Ohrvall faked a shot inside the right circle and sent a pass in the slot for Matej Blumel who one-timed the pass over the right pad of Jaxson Stauber.
It remained that way until the Hawks scored on a somewhat controversial call. Wyatt Schingoethe jammed the puck in through the pads of Stauber, but it appeared the whistle blew before the puck crossed the line. The officials called it a goal though after review and the Hawks took a 2-1 lead. Both teams registered seven shots in the period, but the Hawks held the lead heading into the third period.
It remained a one goal lead for Waterloo until the midway point of the third period when the Stampede were awarded a 5-on-3 power play for 1:30. Anthony Romano got the puck out to the left point to Max Crozier who wristed a shot through traffic and through the five-hole of Evan Fear to tie the game, 2-2. The Herd still had over a minute of power play time remaining after the goal, but weren’t able to get the puck in and the game remained tied. Sioux Falls gained some momentum as the period went on and outshot the Hawks 11-7. Fear made some big saves, denying the Herd a few chances to regain the lead and the game eventually went into overtime.
Waterloo came out flying in the overtime and had several good scoring chances, but Stauber continued to play well in goal and made big stops to keep the Black Hawks off the board. Things didn’t look good at the 7:21 mark of the overtime when the Stampede were called for too many men on the ice and it resulted in a two-minute power play for the Black Hawks. Stauber and the Stampede defense held off the Hawks charged and were able to kill it off and keep the game tied. It looked as though the game would be headed into double overtime, but the Stampede would have none of that again. Andre Lee brought the puck down the right-wing side and backhanded a pass into the air through the slot to a streaking Sam Stevens who batted the puck in the air and into the net to lift the Herd to the game one victory.
Waterloo outshot the Stampede 12-5 in the overtime and 37-34 in the game. Waterloo finished the night 1-for-3 on the power play while the Stampede were 1-for-7.
The two teams square off again Saturday night in the second game of the best-of-five series. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 PM and fans can catch all the action on KELO News Talk 1320-AM, 105.1-FM and KELO.com.