WHO: Stampede (39-16-7) vs Chicago (37-21-4)
WHAT: Game 3 of Clark Cup Final (SF leads 2-0)
WHEN: Tonight (Friday) 7:05 PM
WHERE: Fox Valley Ice Arena
VIEWING PARTY: Watch livre at Buffalo Wild Wings (Louise Ave & East Side locations)
RADIO: KELO 1320-AM, 105.1-FM or click here to listen live
VIDEO: HockeyTV: Click here
TONIGHT’S GAME: The Stampede face the Chicago Steel in Game 3 of the Clark Cup Final. The Stampede grabbed Games 1 and 2 of the series in Sioux Falls last Friday and Sunday. Now the series has shifted to the Fox Valley Ice Arena, home of the Chicago Steel. With a win tonight the Stampede would capture their third Clark Cup title in franchise history. A win by Chicago and a Game 4 would take place tomorrow night in Chicago.
GAME 1 RECAP: The Stampede grabbed the first game of the series for the fourth straight playoff series after holding off the Steel 3-2 in Game 1. After a scoreless first period, the Stampede scored twice in the second period to take a 2-0 lead. Carl Berglund gave Sioux Falls a 1-0 lead just 51 seconds into the period when he wristed a shot past Justin Robbins. The Herd extended their lead at 6:37 when Andre Lee notched his fifth of the playoffs. Chicago responded at 11:04 when Josiah Slavin wristed a shot into the upper right-hand corner of the net to make it a 2-1 game.
The Steel would tie things up 2:32 into the third when John Spetz one-timed a pass at the left point into the upper right-hand corner of the net to make it 2-2. Just as it appeared the game might be headed for overtime, the Herd regained the lead with 5:01 remaining in regulation when Brian Chambers found Jared Westcott inside the left circle and Westcott blasted a shot into the net for 3-2 advantage. The Steel went on a power play late and pulled their goaltender, but couldn’t get the tying goal.
Jaxson Stauber earned his ninth win of the playoffs by stopping 20 of 22 shots in goal for the Herd who have won the first game in each of their four playoff series.
GAME 2 RECAP: The Stampede battled back from a 2-1 deficit in the third period to rally past the Chicago Steel 3-2 in double overtime on Sunday and take a 2-0 series lead.
Chicago got goals from Gunnarwolfe Fontaine and Robert Mastrosimone to take a 2-1 lead in the third period. The Stampede were down to the final five minutes of regulation still trailing and on the verge of having the series tied when Sam Stevens scored the goal of the playoffs. Directly off a face-off draw, Stevens shot the puck onto the Chicago net and right through the five-hole of justin Robbins to tie the game 2-2 and eventually force overtime.
After a scoreless first overtime, the game went into double OT and it looked as though it may even go into the triple overtime, but the Stampede would win the game at 16:05 when Andre Lee danced around the Steel defense and got the puck inside the left circle where he was able to wrist a shot into the upper left-hand corner of the net to give Sioux Falls the game two victory.
Jaxson Stauber stopped 30 of 32 shots to earn his 10th win of the playoffs in goal while Justin Robbins turned aside 33 of 36 shots in goal for the Steel.
STAMPEDE UPDATE: The Stampede won eight playoff games to get to the Clark Cup Final. Sioux Falls swept the Sioux City Musketeers 2-0 in the first round then took down Waterloo in four games (3-1) in the Conference Final before upsetting the Anderson Cup champion Tri-City Storm in three games (3-0) in the Conference Final.
Sioux Falls shocked the Storm by taking Games 1 and 2 of the series in Kearney. The Herd blanked one of the top offensive teams in the league 3-0 in Game 1 and then posted a 4-1 victory in Game 2 to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series. The series then shifted to Sioux Falls for Game 3 last Friday night. The Herd grabbed an early 2-0 lead in the first period on goals from Austen Swankler and Jami Krannila. It remained that way until the third period when the Storm caught fire and scored back-to-back goals to tie the game. Just as the game appeared it was headed to overtime, Ryan Johnson sent a pass from behind the net onto the goal where Brian Chambers knocked it in with just 51 seconds remaining to send all 6,689 fans into a frenzy. Jaxson Stauber stopped 28 of 30 shots in goal to improve to 8-1 during this postseason win.
Max Crozier leads the team in scoring with 11 points (4g, 7a) in the playoffs. Andre Lee ranks second on the team with 10 points (6g, 4a). A total of 19 players on the roster have tallied at least a point during the postseason. Jaxson Stauber holds an 10-1 record with a 1.50 GAA and a .940 save percentage.
STEEL UPDATE: The Steel finished second in the East during the regular season and received a first-round bye before topping the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in four games (3-1) in the second round and then upset top seeded Muskegon in four games (3-1) to reach the Clark Cup Final. In game 1 of their series, the Steel scored in the final seconds of regulation to tie the game and then won in overtime. After falling in Game 2, they rebounded for a 4-1 win in Game 3 and then took the series in Game 4 by topping the Lumberjacks 3-2 in overtime.
The Steel have tallied a league high 34 goals in just eight playoff games thus far. Robert Mastrosimone has been hot, posting 15 points so far in the postseason. Nick Abruzzese has 13 points while Gunnarwolfe Fontaine has 11 points in the postserason. In goal, Justin Robbins has caught fire and is 6-4 with a 2.31 GAA and a .916 save percentage.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Both the Stampede and the Steel have advanced to the Final despite not having great numbers on special teams. The Steel’s powerplay is clicking at 16.2% while the Stampede powerplay is a just 11.1%. The Stampede penalty kill is at 80.9% while the Steel penalty kill is at 77.4%.
UP NEXT: Should the Steel win tonight, a Game 4 in the series will take place Saturday night at the Fox Valley Ice Arena. Should there be a Game 5, the series will return to Sioux Falls on Tuesday, May 21st. Fans can catch Game 4 at Buffalo Wild Wings in Sioux Falls (Louise Ave. and East Side locations). All games can be heard on KELO 1320-AM, 105.1-FM, 107.9-FM and KELO.com.