Sioux Falls, SD--A late third period charge by the Cedar Rapids Roughriders was too much for the Sioux Falls Stampede to overcome, as they fell 3-2 at the Arena Friday night in front of 4,389 fans. Jason Stephanik and Tony Calderone provided the offense for the Herd (21-14-4) while goaltender David Jacobson stopped 21 shots. The loss came in a night that saw four players make their home debut for the Stampede (21-14-4) who have now lost five straight games by just one goal.
"We're fighting a lot of things right now," said head coach Cary Eades. "To get a victory you have to build upon good play after good play."
The Herd had control for most of the first period, seizing the momentum first at 12:13 on a goal by forward Jason Stephanik. It was a positive omen for Sioux Falls, who came into the evening 14-2-2 when opening the scoring. In addition to the lead after one period the Herd also owned the advantage in shots on goal over Cedar with a 10-6 margin.
Sioux Falls continued to regulate the RoughRiders in the second period, getting quality shot after quality shot on Birdsall. However, a Cedar Rapids 5-on-3 called with 4:05 left before intermission abruptly stopped any roll the Herd were on, as RoughRider Mitch Maloney used the chance to tie the game 1-1 after finding himself completely alone in front of Jacobson.
"When you've got a one goal lead you can't take those kinds of penalties," said Eades.
Tony Calderone would not let the Herd be discouraged by the tally, picking his team back up with beautiful score off a face-off at the 19:12 mark. The future Michigan Wolverine picked up a rebound in front of Birdsall and pushed the puck past the netminder's glove side for his 14th goal of the season.
A fluke goal at 7:23 tied the game once again for the RoughRiders when a puck rolled off Jacobson and waltzed on into the net, making it 2-2. The game-winning score came 2:37 later at 10:00 when RoughRider Andrew Gaus snuck the puck past Jacobson to clinch the 3-2 victory.
"I have to coach better and our players have to play better. We have to get better," said Eades. "We have to learn from our mistakes and build things from here."
The Herd will look to end their skid Saturday night when they travel to Fargo to face the Force at 7:05 PM. Fans can listen live on KELO News Talk 1320-AM, 107.9-FM and online at www.kelo.com starting at 6:40 PM.