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Stampede come up just short again in Omaha

By Jim Olander, 02/23/13, 10:15PM CST


Herd finish 0-4 at new Ralston Arena

Ralston, Neb.—Maybe the Stampede are cursed in the new Ralston Arena?  Sioux Falls battled back from a 2-0 deficit to tie, but saw the Lancers score with just 38 seconds remaining in regulation to take down the Stampede 3-2 Saturday night in Ralston. The Herd once again nearly tied the game in the closing seconds of the game and nearly tied it, but came up just short once again. The loss put the Herd to 0-4-0 at the new arena and dropped their record to 32-13-2 on the year. With Fargo’s win over Sioux City, the Herd’s lead for first in the West is back to three points.

Dennis Kravchenko and Todd Skirving scored for the Stampede while Charlie Lindgren stopped 28 of 31 shots in goal. The loss snapped the Herd’s three-game winning streak and dropped them to just 2-9-3 against the Lancers over the last two seasons.  

The Stampede had plenty of powerplay opportunities in the first period, including a four-minute advantage, but could not solve the defense of Omaha and came up short each time, going 0-for-4 in the period. The Lancers grabbed the game’s first goal at 14:08 when Tyler Hynes scored to make it 1-0. Connor Chatham made the play happen, racing down the right wing boards and wristing a shot that went between the legs of Stampede goaltender Charlie Lindgren and bounced between his skates where Hynes quickly batted the puck past Lindgren and into the back of the net. Omaha outshot the Stampede 8-7 in the first.

In the second, the Lancers took a 2-0 lead at 11:15 when Drew Melanson scored. Matias Cleland took the puck from the edge of the left circle and sent a perfect pass onto the tape of Melanson who one-timed the puck into the upper right hand corner of the net to extend the lead for Omaha. Sioux Falls would finally get on the board at 16:53 when Dennis Kravchenko tallied his 16th goal of the season. Zeb Knutson sent a pass up the right wing boards to Kravchenko who broke across the Omaha line on a 2-on-1 with C.J. Franklin and wristed a shot past the stick side of Lancers netminder Alex Lyon to make it a 2-1 game. Omaha outshot the Herd 11-8 in the period and took that 2-1 advantage into the locker room.

Lindgren was solid again between the pipes and made some big saves in the third period keeping the Herd down by just a goal. The game remained tied until 3:31 remaining in regulation when Todd Skirving tallied his 18th goal of the season. Skirving took a pass from Kyle Schempp down the left wing boards and glided in through the left circle before lifting the puck over the right shoulder of Lyon to make it a 2-2 game. The Herd were buzzing after that and nearly took the lead just minutes later, but couldn’t get the bounce they needed. The Lancers would eventually tie the game with just 38 seconds remaining when Jake Randolph batted in his own rebound to give the Lancers the lead for good at 3-2. Randolph took the puck to the left of Lindgren, spun around and wristed a shot that was stopped, but the rebound bounced in the air where Randolph swatted it with his stick past Lindgren.

Sioux Falls pulled Lindgren in the final seconds and appeared to have tied the game when Sam Rothstein’s backhanded shot went under the crossbar, but the whistle blew and the play was called dead before the puck went in, leaving the Herd just short again in Omaha as they fell 3-2.

The Herd were a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and have now successfully killed off 19 straight penalties and 26 of their last 27. Sioux Falls finished 0-for-4 on the power play with all four of those coming in the first period.

Sioux Falls will look to rebound Sunday when they close out their long weekend with a home game against Green Bay at 5:05 PM. Tickets are available through the Sioux Falls Arena Box Office or any Ticketmaster location.