At the beginning of the season Sioux Falls Stampede Head Coach Scott Owens knew his team was young. But come the new year, his guys are proving him wrong.
“I thought we would be good as the season wore on, but it took a tough November and a tough road schedule really to thicken our skin. But I think we’re coming around pretty good and I wouldn’t consider us young anymore, I would consider us seasoned. We have our moments with youthful mistakes, but all and all we’re pretty happy,” said Owens.
The Herd are coming off an 8-1-1 record in the month of December, as they continue to climb the Western Conference standings.
“A lot of guys are doing well right now, it was a tough month with a lot of games, but
we just got to keep going,” said forward Andre Lee.
A big part of this success comes from the offense.The Stampede have scored four or more goals in nine of their last ten games. It’s the spread of the puck though this is impressing Owens the most.
“We tried to spread it out on the power play. Our minutes are even, our fourth line has been one of our most effective lines so they get a lot of ice time. And basically just have conversations with them. I mean they know, they can tell, they’re getting their ice time and they’re getting their minutes based on how they’re playing, it’s a really good group too, it’s a pretty unselfish game,” said Owens.
Jami Krannila, Artem Ivanyuzhenkov, Anthony Romano and Andre Lee all are in double digits in goals this season, but no one the roster is in the top 20 in the USHL in scoring.
“Great group of guys, we are all different at good things, I just think it’s that, we can score, we can pass, we just take the puck to the net and that is where it happens,” said Lee.
Despite that, their talent is not going unrecognized. Krannila,, Romano, Lee as well as Ethan Phillips, Austen Swankler, and Ryan Johnson will represent Sioux Falls in the NHL Prospect Game on January 8th in Lincoln, the most in franchise history
“We have six guys going which is quite a few. That means those are six players that are on NHL Central Scouting watch lists and ranked lists. It’s an honor to play in it. It’s our All-star game which isn’t necessarily like other leagues, these are the best young kids that are draftable that are playing and so it is a nice representation of our organization and for themselves,” said Owens.
As the Stampede reach the midway point of the season, Owens hopes his team continues their dominance and show that age is just a number.
“We just need to keep going and whether we have an 8-1-1 January it remains to be seen. But I like the makeup of the team and I think we are getting better,” said Owens.