Dubuque, IA (KWSN) — It wasn’t exactly how they had scripted it, but the Stampede know their headed to the playoffs. Despite a 6-1 setback at Dubuque on Saturday night, the Herd clinched a spot in the 2014 Clark Cup Playoffs thanks to a Des Moines loss to Waterloo. The Herd become the fourth team this season to earn a playoff spot and it marks the 11th time in 15 seasons the Stampede have qualified for the playoffs.
The Fighting Saints paid tribute to their former goaltender Art Brey before the game and fans gave him a standing ovation prior to puck drop. Unfortunately for the Stampede, that’s where the fun ended for the Herd who saw the Saints score three times in the first period en route to a 6-1 win. The loss dropped the Herd’s record to 29-16-6 on the season and kept the Herd three points back of third place Sioux City in the West.
Robby Darrar got the Saints on the board 9:28 into the game when he one-timed a pass in the slot through the pads of Brey to give the Saints a 1-0 edge. Karson Kuhlman made it 2-0 at 14:05 when he drove down the right wing boards, around the Stampede defense, and cut through the slot before lifting the puck past the pads of Brey. Minutes later the Saints found themselves on the power play and they cashed in when Jarrid Privitera found Dylan Gambrell in front of the net who put it away to give the Saints a 3-0 edge. Dubuque outshot Sioux Falls 9 to 6 in the period.
It didn’t get much better for the Herd in the second when Jarrid Privitera broke through the Stampede defense and slide the puck through the pads of Brey to make it 4-0 just 8:29 into the second. Three minutes later it was Jacob Benson who jammed in a loose puck rebound to give the Saints a 5-0 advantage at the midway point of the hockey game. The Herd were finally able to break through at 15:46 when Tony Calderone raced down the right wing boards and wristed a shot from inside the right circle past the glove side of Dubuque netminder Kevin Reich to put the Herd on the board at 5-1. Sioux Falls nearly made it a three goal game moments later, but back-to-back chances bounced off Stampede sticks just wide of the net.
The Herd were hoping to gain some momentum in the third, but it wasn’t meant to be as the Herd were unable to find the back of the net. Dubuque scored again at the eight minute mark when Brett Boeing beat Brey on the stick side on a penalty shot to make it 6-1. The Herd’s power play was ineffective all night and finished 0-for-9 while the Saints were 1-for-3 with the advantage. Sioux Falls outshot the Saints 26 to 21 on the night.
Sioux Falls will look grab their 30th win of the season next Friday when they host the Chicago Steel for the first of two games at the Sioux Falls Arena. Friday night is Flashback Night where the Herd will be honoring some the greatest teams and moments in Stampede history at the game. Saturday is Hydro-Klean Night where the first 1,000 fans will receive a free Hydro-Klean koozie.
Tickets are available through the Sioux Falls Arena Box Office and Ticketmaster. Fans can also take advantage of the Hat Trick Playoff Package. You pick 3 of the remaining 5 home games and get the same seat for all three games, starting at just $6 a game. Plus, you will have the opportunity to purchase playoff tickets before they go on sale to the general public and the option for season tickets next year at the new Denny Sanford Premier Center. Contac the Stampede office at 336-6060 for more details.
Courtesy: Sioux Falls Stampede