Youngstown, OH—The Sioux Falls Stampede fired 27 shots at Christian Stover, but couldn’t get one to squeak through and the Herd dropped a 3-0 decision to the Youngstown Phantoms Saturday night at the Covelli Center. The Herd (37-16-7) fell back into a second place tie with Waterloo who defeated Omaha on Saturday night. Just two games remain in the regular season, but Waterloo currently owns the tiebreaker on the Herd with two more regulation/overtime wins (36). Alec Calvaruso started the game and stopped 17 of 19 shots, but left with 30 seconds remaining in the second period with an injury. Jaxson Stauber stopped 7 of 8 shots in relief.
As expected, Youngstown came out fired up in the first period. The Phantoms crated several good scoring chances early in the game, but Alec Calvaruso was ready and made some big saves. The Phantoms grabbed the first goal of the game for the second night in a row when Dalton Messina tallied his 9th of the year. Craig Needham wristed a shot from inside the left circle that was stopped by Calvaruso, but the rebound popped out to Needham who found the back of the net for the only goal of the period and a 1-0 lead for Youngstown. Sioux Falls outshot Youngstown 11-6 in the period.
The Stampede got some power play chances in the second and put on good pressure, but couldn’t solve Youngstown goaltender Christian Stoever who stopped all seven shots in the period. Youngstown put on lots of pressure as well, but Calvaruso was sharp and kept it a one goal game until late. While on the power play, Calvaruso had the puck stolen from him behind the net by Brett Murray who scored on a wrap around to make it 2-0. Calvaruso got twisted around trying to get to the puck and was injured on the play and taken out of the game. Youngstown outshot the Herd 13-7 in the period.
The Stampede were never able to recover in the third period from those injuries. Sioux Falls received three more power play chances, but were never able to get things going in the right direction and kept off the board. The Phantoms put the game away for good at 16:06 when Gianfranco Cassaro wristed a shot from the left circle and into the upper left-hand corner of the net, past Jaxson Stauber for a 3-0 lead.
Sioux Falls and Youngstown finished the night with 27 shots each. The Herd went 0-for-8 on the power play while the Phantoms 0-for-4.
The Stampede close out the regular season with two home games this weekend at the PREMIER Center. Friday night is Fan Appreciation Night presented by Signature Companies as the Herd host Sioux City. Saturday is Take My Jersey Night, presented by Waterbury Heating & Cooling when the Stampede entertain Des Moines. Puck drops are 7:05 PM each night and tickets are available through the PREMIER Center or Ticketmaster.