Sioux Falls, SD—Artem Ivanyuzhenkov’s power play goal with 52 seconds remaining in regulation lifted the Sioux Falls Stampede to a 3-2 victory over the Fargo Force Wednesday night at the PREMIER Center. The win was the Herd’s 20th of the season (20-9-3) and moved them within one point of third place Waterloo in the Western Conference. The Herd finished their six-game homestand with a 5-1-0 mark and are now 13-3-1 at the PREMIER Center this season. Fargo (17-12-3) is now six points back of the Herd for fourth in the conference and two points back of fifth place Sioux City.
Austen Swankler collected two assists in the win while Brian Chambers and Ryan Johnson tallied goals for the Herd in the win. Alec Calvaruso improved to 8-1-0 on the season with eight saves in the game as the Stampede held their opponent to a season low ten shots on goal on the night.
Both teams came to play for a midweek tilt, but it was the Force grabbing the first goal of the night. Fargo benefited from a power play opportunity midway through the period when Josh Nodler tallied his 12th goal of the season. On a perfect passing play, Hank Crone found Ben Meyers inside the right circle where he sent a perfect backdoor pass to Nodler for the easy tap in and a 1-0 lead. Sioux Falls trailed after one despite outshooting the Force 6-4 in the period.
The intensity heated up in the second period as both teams exchanged some big hits. Sioux Falls knotted things up at 2:29 when Brian Chambers scored his 12th of the season just as a power play expired. With Fargo making a change, goaltender Alec Calvaruso sent a long pass down the right wing boards to Austen Swankler who brought the puck over the line and dropped it to Chambers who danced inside the right circle before wristing a shot past Ryan Bischel. That would be the only goal of the period though the physical play intensified and the Stampede outshot the Force 10-5.
The game remained tied until the 11:25 mark of the third when Swankler sent a pass from behind the Fargo net to the top of the left circle for Ryan Johnson who quickly wristed the puck right past the stick of Bischel for their first lead of the night at 2-1. The celebration was short lived, however as the Force struck back just 38 seconds later when Ryan O’Reilly intercepted a Stampede clearing attempt and fired a shot into the upper left-hand corner of the net to tie it at two apiece.
The Stampede ran into penalty trouble later in the period, but aggressive play on the kill drew back-to-back penalties on the Force and left the Herd on the power play to finish out the game. Sioux Falls regained the lead for good with 52 seconds remaining when Anthony Romano took the puck behind the Fargo net and slid a perfect pass into the slot for Artem Ivanyuzhenkov who quickly wristed the puck past Bischel and into the net, bringing the Stampede faithful to their feet.
Fargo pulled Bischel for the final 50 seconds, but couldn’t ever get the puck in the offensive zone and Sioux Falls earned a big 3-2 victory. The Stampede outshot the Force 12-1 in the third period and 28-10 on the night. Sioux Falls finished 1-for-5 on the power play while Fargo was 1-for-3.
The Stampede will now travel up to Fargo to face the Force in a weekend series, Friday and Saturday night. Puck drop is 7:05 PM each night and fans can catch both games on KELO News Talk 1320-AM, 105.1-FM, 107.9-FM and KELO.com.