YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Sioux Falls Stampede dropped a physical 4-2 series finale with the Youngstown Phantoms Saturday night at the Covelli Centre. Jared Westcott and Cam MacDonald tallied goals in the contest, but an empty-net goal in the closing minutes sealed a split on the weekend. Grant Adams made the start in net stopping 25 of 28 shots.
The Sioux Falls Stampede knew they would have to brace for an early onslaught of a vengeful Youngstown Phantoms squad in their attempt to salvage a weekend split. The Phantoms, dawning special cancer awareness jerseys on Phantoms Phight Cancer night, came out of the gates swinging by outshooting the Herd 13 to 3 in the opening period.
Youngstown leading-scorer Trevor Kuntar drew an early penalty shot six minutes in off a breakaway interference penalty by Connor McGinnis but was denied by goaltender Grant Adams. Several minutes later Phantoms forward John Beaton scored on an offensive zone miscue for a short-handed goal at the 13:28 mark. The league-leading seventh short-handed goal allowed this season.
The Phantoms kept things rolling with a goal just :33 seconds into the second period off the stick of Matthew Cassidy. Jared Westcott cut the deficit in half with a goal five minutes later assisted by Will Dineen. Dineen made a pass from behind the left shoulder of the goaltender across the crease and Westcott was able to dance around Colin Purcell for the score. Youngstown finished the second period with a 2-1 lead, outshooting the Herd eight to six.
At 5:07 in the third period league-leading goal scorer Kuntar tallied his eleventh of the season, assisted by Yusaku Ando and Georgi Merkulov, to extend the lead 3-1 on the power play. Cam MacDonald responded with his first United States Hockey League goal at the 11:16 mark. MacDonald was able to enter the zone uncontested and wristed a shot from outside the left circle to sneak a puck past Purcell
Youngstown closed down any attempt at a comeback with an empty-net goal in the closing minutes, splitting the weekend series. The Herd dropped to 3-11-2 on the season and finished the night 0 for 7 on the power play. Both times combined for a total of 38 penalty minutes in the final period.
The Stampede return home for a Thanksgiving holiday week feast of games at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. The Herd begin the week hosting rival Fargo Force on Wednesday night, then the Sioux City Musketeers on Friday night and the annual Teddy Bear Toss on Saturday night, presented by BiteSquad. Puck drop at 7:05 p.m. for each game. Fans can catch the game streaming live at HockeyTV.com or listen live on KELO Radio 107.9 FM, 1320 AM or Kelo.com.