This time of year, red lights are prominently displayed throughout the Sioux Falls community. However maybe nowhere more apparent then Sioux Falls Arena, where the Stampede have been lighting lamps all year long.
"We want to win it all but we have to be good at home and on the road," forward Zeb Knutson said. "That's what it takes to be one of the top teams."
What a difference a year makes, in a story of worst to first the Herd have gone from basement dwellers to the top of the Western Conference, with a record best 16-8-1 mark.
"This is the closest team I have ever played on," goaltender Charlie Lindgren said. "We all get along great and have really meshed as a team on the ice."
All of this success coming under the helm of first-year coach Cary Eades, who had the difficult task of replacing seven-year head coach and fan favorite Kevin Hartzell after he was let go after last season.
"Hockey is hockey," Eades said. "The fans have been great and supported us well, this team is full of great workers."
It's a team mixed with returning veterans like Todd Skirving and Matt Van Voorhis and talented newbies like No. 1 pick Tony Calderone, Sioux Falls native Zeb Knutson and sniper Dennis Kravchenko. They've all come together nicely too, combining for 85 goals in 2012 after just 127 all of last season.
"Last year scoring was an issue for us, this season it has been a lot better," Eades said. "We are hoping to keep it up in the second half."
Between the pipes, future St. Cloud State netminder Charlie Lindgren has done his part too. In 17 games, the keeper has an 11-5-1 record with a 2.54 goals against.
"I have gotten off to a great start personally," Lindgren said. "I just have to keep working hard and hope the wins keep coming for us. Definitely winning games in our top goal."
The dream of playing deep into Spring continues this weekend, when the Stampede host Tri-City and Cedar Rapids.
In Sioux Falls Dylan Scott KSFY Sports.