Sioux Falls, SD--The Sioux Falls Stampede's winless streak ended at three games as a tremendous third period from C.J. Franklin powered the Herd past the Omaha Lancers 3-2 at the Arena Friday night. Franklin's two goals in the third period broke a 0-0 game that featured brilliant goaltending by Herd goaltender Charlie Lindgren, who thwarted 20 of 22 Lancer scoring attempts.
"We just have to keep our confidence up and know the goals will come eventually, as they did tonight," said Franklin.
The win keeps the Stampede (30-12-2) in first place of the Western Conference over the Fargo Force and improved the Herd's home record to 18-5-0.
A scoreless opening period showcased multiple opportunities for the Herd, including a prime breakaway by Tony Calderone alone with just under 30 seconds to go. Sioux Falls barraged Lyon with shots during their first of two power plays of the period but weren't able to stick any in, though their Nebraskan counterparts fared no better, coming up fruitless in one try. The second Herd power play came with 29 seconds left before intermission, giving the Herd a hop in their step heading into the next period.
"It was tough to create scoring chances," said Eades. "I thought both teams did better in that area as the game went on."
The Lancers took their turn with the scoring openings in the second period but were kept off the board courtesy of Lindgren and the rock solid Sioux Falls penalty kill. Lindgren awed the home crowd with a highlight reel glove save at 7:06, ripping a flying puck from the air with ease.
"He (Lindgren) came up really big a couple times," said Franklin. "It's always nice to have a solid goaltender back there. He's helped us out all year."
Though both teams entered the final intermission knotted at 0-0 the Herd were blessed with another period-ending power play, this time with 25 seconds remaining after a cross-checking call.
"It looked through two periods like it could be that one goal is going to win the hockey game," said Eades. "You just never know. Every game's different."
Sioux Falls finally snapped the seemingly unbreakable tie 3:23 into the last period when a spinning C.J. Franklin knocked the puck in past Lyon, his 11th point in 11 games. The Minnesota State recruit continued his torrid scoring streak not even two minutes later with a graceful backhand past the sprawling Omaha netminder, doubling Sioux Falls' lead to 2-0.
"You're not really aiming for a spot," said Franklin. "You're just trying to get the puck on net and hopefully it goes in."
However, the margin was sliced in half to 2-1 after Omaha winger Trenton Samuels-Thomas found himself isolated in front of Lindgren after a Sioux Falls turnover. Todd Skirving bumped the Herd back up two goals with a clutch tally at the 14:33 mark, but Omaha responded once again 75 seconds later to keep the intense contest at 3-2 Sioux Falls. That's how the game went into the record books, as the Herd notched their 18th victory of the season at their home stomping grounds.
"We're trying to win any way we can, 1-0 or 10-9," said Eades. "We'll take the two points and move forward."
The Stampede come back to the Arena tomorrow night to face the Lincoln Stars at 7:05 PM. It is also the ever famous 6th annual Sioux Nation Pet Clinic Wiener Dog Races. Get your tickets at the Sioux Falls Arena Box Office and stay in your seats during the first and second intermissions to watch the races!