A 4-2 third period deficit proved no match for the vicious Sioux Falls Stampede offense as they overcame the Sioux City Musketeers 5-4 in a shootout Saturday night in front of 4,042 at the arena. The win completed the weekend sweep for the Stampede who topped Sioux City 4-1 on Friday.
"We worked our tails off, especially in the last 40 minutes," said head coach Cary Eades. "We finally got a break in the 5-on-3 goal and we were able to turn the game around from there."
Sam Rothstein had the game-winning goal in the shootout to go with two points (1 G, 1 A) while Dennis Kravchenko added a goal and assist of his own. Goaltender Charlie Lindgren allowed four goals on 30 Musketeer shots for the Western Conference-leading Stampede (22-8-1) who are now winners of six straight contests and nine of their last ten games overall.
Sioux City made it clear Saturday evening would be no repeat of the night before as they struck first at 7:31 with a goal from Riley Bourbonnais. However, Ryan Siiro and Sam Rothstein worked together for an impressive game-tying score with 8:47 left in the first. Siiro lasered a no-look pass from behind the net to Rothstein, who buried the puck into the top left corner of the goal for his 10th goal of the year. Nevertheless, Sioux City regained their lead after a hooking unfortunate penalty on Thomas Forgione presented a rare penalty shot opportunity at 17:45 for Musketeer winger Joe Snively, who deked out Lindgren and scored falling down.
"We just didn't have a jump in our game right off the bat," said Kravchenko, a native of San Clemente, Calif.
Offenses for both teams were idle in the second period until defenseman R.J. Majkozak nailed a one-timer at the last second from a pass across the crease via Dennis Kravchenko. Any momentum the Herd goal created was vanquished as the Musketeers responded swiftly when Jake Montgomery found himself alone on a breakaway and wristed a shot through Lindgren to make it 3-2 Sioux City.
The Stampede entered the final period in a rare 3-2 deficit, a shortfall that grew to 4-2 when Bourbonnais grabbed his second goal of the contest with a fluid wrister from the left circle. A vital 5-on-3 chance presented itself to Sioux Falls at 9:33, and sure enough a monstrous Dennis Kravchenko slap shot would draw the Herd within one score at 4-3.
"To be honest, I just tried to shoot it and I didn't care where it went," said Kravchenko. "I knew that we needed a goal so that's really all I wanted."
Herd newcomer Victor Bjorkung completed the Sioux Fall rally with a clutch rocket of a shot from between the circles with 4:28 left on the clock, his first goal in a Herd uniform. After neither team was able to finish the game in overtime, matters headed to a shootout where Rothstein clinched the victory on Sioux Falls' first shot. The goal was enough to take the win, as Lindgren stopped all three Musketeer shot attempts during the shootout.
"It's the rules and you have to take advantage of it," said Eades. "I had confidence in Lindgren. He got scored on in the penalty shot in regulation so he had a little warm-up, but he was 3 for 3 when it counted."
The Stampede will return to the Arena Wednesday night to face the Waterloo Blackhawks at 7:05. Tickets are still available through the Sioux Falls Arena Box Office or any Ticketmaster location.