Kearney, NE—The Stampede scored twice in the second period and once in the third while Jaxson Stauber earned his first career playoff shutout as the Herd blanked Tri-City 3-0 in Game One of the Western Conference Final. It marked the first time since 2013 that a Stampede goaltender earned a shutout in a playoff game. Charlie Lindgren was the last to do it during the 2013 Clark Cup Playoffs when he backstopped the Herd to a 2-0 victory over Lincoln in Game 5 of the conference semi-finals.
Blake Bride, Andre Lee and Cade Borchard all scored goals for the Herd who have now taken the first game of all three playoff series played. Game two of this best-of-five series will take place Wednesday night in Kearney before the series shifts to Sioux Falls for game three.
After a scoreless first period in which Tri-City outshot the Herd 10-9, the Stampede got cooking in the second. The Herd grabbed the first goal of the series at 6:32 when Blake Bride tallied his first of the postseason. Max Crozier worked the puck to the right circle to Sam Stevens who sent a perfect pass between the circles to Bride who took the puck and lifted it right over the right shoulder of Tri-City goaltender Isaiah Saville for a 1-0 lead.
Minutes later the Herd would be awarded their first power play of the night and they cashed in. Jami Krannila sent a pass in front of the net to Andre Lee who was able to turn and lift the puck over the shoulder of Saville for a 2-0 advantage. Sioux Falls and Tri-City both tallied six shots in the period.
Tri-City made several efforts to get back into the game in the third, but Stauber was once again stellar in goal and stopped all eight shots faced in the period. Sioux Falls put the game away with just over four minutes remaining in regulation when Cade Borchardt scored his second of the playoffs. Mason Klee fired a shot that went just wide of the goal and bounced right in front of the net where Borchardt was able to get a stick on it and the puck just barely crossed over the line to give the Herd a commanding 3-0 lead and a game one victory.
Tri-City outshot the Stampede 8-6 in the third and 24-19 in the game. Sioux Falls went 1-for-1 on the power play while the Storm were 0-for-2.
The Stampede and Storm square off in game two of the series on Wednesday night. Puck drop is 7:05 PM and fans can catch all the action on KELO News Talk 1320-AM, 105.1-FM, 107.9-FM and KELO.com. Fans can also watch the game live at Buffalo Wild Wings (S. Louise & East side locations) starting at 7 PM.