Sioux Falls, SD--The Sioux Falls Stampede showed no ill-effects of a tough Friday night overtime loss the night after, manhandling the Fargo Force 5-3 in a record-breaking sellout crowd of 4,815 at the Arena Saturday night. Five different players touched the twine for the Herd (27-15-6) with netminder Jacobson pushing away 16 of 19 shots from the Force in front of the largest home crowd ever for a Stampede game.
"It was fun playing in front of the big crowd," said forward Keith Burchett, who had two points (1 G, 1 A) on the night. "It was great to have them there. They're great fans."
Penny would provide the other entertainment in between periods, taking home her second straight Sioux Nation Pet Clinic Wiener Dog Race championship and downing Lily in the final race.
Matters remained scoreless in the first period until Zeb Knutson one-timed a pass from Dakota Joshua into the net with 3:10 to go, the future Minnesota State-Mankato Maverick's 23rd goal of the year. Sioux Falls whiffed on their lone power play of the period while carrying a 10-5 shot on goal advantage into the locker room.
The one-goal lead ballooned into a three-goal lead after a back-and-forth second period that saw two Stampede tallies in the last 1:07 of play, including a power play score with 2.9 ticks left on the clock. Christian Horn's sixth goal as a member of the Herd doubled the lead to 2-0 7:47 into the period after knocking a dribbling puck through the five-hole of Jensen. Sioux Falls grabbed the ever-important three-goal lead less than three minutes later when Keith "Bubba" Burchett backhanded a rebound of a Tony Calderone into the net, making it 3-0 10:33 into the second period.
"We were able to build a lead for once," said head coach Cary Eades. "That's something we've talking about—not sitting on those one-goal leads."
Jacobson's shutout would be snapped 1:58 later on a Tyler Hine's wrist shot in between the circles, chopping the Herd cushion down to the 3-1. The Stampede did not relent however, as a beautiful goal by Louis Nanne with 1:07 left in the period gave the Herd their field goal lead back. The RPI recruit raced down the left wing and stymied Jensen with a highlight-reel hesitation move from the left side for his third goal of the season.
A mere 15 seconds later the Force yet again responded with a goal of their own, cutting the Sioux Falls lead to a pair of goals for a second time. Not to be outdone, the Herd quickly replied during a power play with only 2.9 seconds to go in the period, a huge Ed McGovern power play one-timer from the right circle that slapped a 5-2 Stampede score on the board heading into the final period of play.
"I thought we really drove the net hard tonight, and it resulted in four of our goals," said Eades. "We were driving that net hard, going to the dirty areas and paying the price for the goals."
Though the Force got one more goal on Jacobson at 12:17 of the final period, Sioux Falls would coast the rest of the way to their 27th victory of the season in a 5-3 win. The Herd will now head on the road for three games over the next two weekends before returning to the Arena March 14 for a weekend series with the Chicago Steel.
"We have Sioux City next week, so we need to get some payback on them," said Burchett. "We can't take any more bad bounces. We have to get on a roll here and really climb up in the standings."