Sioux Falls, SD—The Sioux Falls Stampede were as fast as the wiener dogs on ice and ran over the Lincoln Stars, 6-1 in front of the largest crowd in Stampede history of 4,788 Saturday night at the Sioux Falls Arena. That surpassed the previous record of 4,764 fans that was set during Game 5 of the Clark Cup Finals in 2006. After a photo finish in the championship race of the famous Sioux Nation Pet Clinic Wiener Dog Races that was won by Penny, the Herd rolled over the Stars for their 31st win of the season.
Thomas Forgione scored twice while Charlie Lindgren stopped 23 of 24 shots in goal to earn his 23nd win of the season in goal. The win improved the Herd’s record to 31-12-2 and kept them three points ahead of the Fargo Force for first place in the Western Conference.
The Stampede came flying out of the gates and scored just 2:22 on a nice give-and-go from Jake Ahlgren to Conner Valesano to make it 1-0. Thomas Forgione added to that lead at 11:03 when Victor Bjorkung sent a pass through the neutral zone to Forgione who scored a highlight reel goal. The puck went off the tape of Forgione and bounced through the slot where he dove for the puck and batted over a diving Michael Bitzer. Sioux Falls outshot the Stars 11-9 in the opening period.
Sioux Falls added to their lead 9:41 into the second period when Sam Rothstein backhanded a rebound into the back of the net to give Sioux Falls a 3-0 edge. Ed McGovern added a goal a few minutes later when he wristed a shot from the top of the left circle and wristed it past Bitzer. The Herd put the game away for good at 15:26 when Forgione tallied his second goal of the night when he scored on a penalty shot. After being hauled down on a partial breakaway, Forgione faked a forehand shot and went to the backhand and slipped the puck through the pads of Bitzer to make it a 5-0 game after two periods. Sioux Falls outshot Lincoln 16-11 in the period.
Lincoln finally broke through at 3:15 of the third period when Brad Hawkinson’s wrist shot found its way past the glove side of Lindgren to make it a 5-1 game. Trying to get something going, Lincoln pulled their goaltender with just over eight minutes remaining, but the Stampede’s Jake Ahlgren made them pay, scoring into the empty net to seal the victory at 6-1.
Sioux Falls outshot Lincoln 34-26 on the night and finished 0-for-8 on the powerplay, but were 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.
During the second intermission, Penny edged out Lucy by a paw in the championship race of the 6th Annual Sioux Nation Pet Clinic Wiener Dog Races. A video replay determined the winner in the closest finish in the six years of the contest. Oscar the Grouch took home the best dressed award, wearing an Oscar the Grouch costume and sitting inside a small garbage can! Overall, it was a great time had by all fans!
The Herd return to action next Friday when they travel to Fargo in a battle for first place in the West at 7:35 PM. Fans can hear the game live on KELO-AM 1320 starting at 7:05 PM with the pre-game show.