Sioux Center, IA—It was only the first pre-season game of the year, but if it is any indication of what the season may be like, Stampede fans have a lot to be excited about. C.J. Franklin scored twice while Thomas Forgione added a goal and an assist in a 5-2 victory over the Sioux City Musketeers Tuesday night at the All Seasons Center in Sioux Center, Iowa. Charlie Lindgren earned the win in goal, making 19 saves as the Stampede outshot Sioux City 40 to 21 on the night.
Just minutes after an unsuccessful powerplay in which the Stampede were robbed by Musketeer goaltender Austin Priebe, C.J. Franklin took a loose puck in the high slot and wristed into the upper right hand corner of the goal to give the Herd a 1-0 lead at 8:41 of the first period. The Stampede then fell into a little penalty trouble, but killed off three straight penalties to hold the one goal lead. Charlie Lindgren was on the top of his game in the first making several big saves, including a partial breakaway with just under six minutes remaining in the period. There was some physical play in the first period as well with two fights. The first one involved the Stampede's Dennis Kravchennko and the Musketeers Ryan Mantha. Both players received game ejections because the fight occurred after the whistle. The second took place just two minutes later when Sioux Falls Joe Schuldt and Sioux City's Tanner Pond. Sioux Falls outshot Sioux City 15-4 in the period and took a 1-0 lead into the locker room.
The Stampede had some good quality scoring chances in the second, but couldn't put anything past Musketeer netminders Priebe and Joe Ballmer, including a last second blast by Todd Skirving that was stopped by the pads of Ballmer. The Herd were once again solid on the defense, only allowing four shots while hammering out 16 more offensively and they took their 1-0 lead into the locker room.
The Stampede wasted little time adding to their lead in the third, scoring just 2:10 in when Dan Carlson found #1 draft pick Tony Calderone open in front of the net. Calderone took the pass and tucked it under the pads of Ballmer to give the Herd a 2-0 edge. Thomas Forgione added an assist on the goal as well. The Herd extended their lead on a beautiful play when Sioux Falls native Zeb Knutson danced down the left wing side and fed Franklin in the slot who blasted the puck just under the cross bar giving the Stampede a 3-0 lead at 6:51.
The Musketeers got on the board at 13:16 when Jake Guentzel, brother of former Stampede stars Ryan and Gabe, took a pass in the high slot and wristed it past the glove side of Lindgren to make it a 3-1 game. Just a few minutes later the Musketeers would score again to make things interesting. Joe Snivley snuck through the defense and picked up a loose puck in the crease, wristing it into the upper right hand corner of the net to and making it a one goal game with just over two minutes remaining. The Herd responded off the ensuing face-off however, scoring just 15 seconds later on a goal from Sam Rothstein. Rothstein took the puck through the slot and wristed a shot through the five-hole of Ballmer to regain the two-goal lead for the Herd. Sioux City would pull their goaltender and the Stampede sealed it with 1:23 remaining when Thomas Forgione found the back of the net to seal a 5-2 victory for the Herd.
The Stampede went 0-for-3 on the powerplay while going 6-for-7 on the penalty kill. The Stampede will play their second pre-season game on Friday when they travel to Fargo to face the Force at 7:35 PM.