Stampede Snap Losing Streak In Shootout
Herd Beat Chicago 4-3
A night after a disappointing finish in the third period against Cedar Rapids, the Stampede responded with one of the most entertaining games of the season as they downed the Chicago Steel 4-3 in a shootout in front of 6,227 loud fans at the PREMIER Center Saturday night. Collin Peters tallied the only goal of the shootout in the fifth round as the Herd won for the first time this season in a shootout and improved to 13-10-1 on the season and just three points back of first place Lincoln. The Herd finished their three games in three days stretch earning 3 of a possible 6 points.
Stefanos Lekkas was stellar between the pipes, stopping 26 of 29 shots as he improved to 7-5-1 on the season. Jack Becker, Jack Doremus and Daniel Warpecha tallied goals in regulation for the Herd who are now 10-4-0 on home ice this season.
After a rough third period the night before, the Stampede were hoping for a good start to the game on Saturday, but it would be the Steel scoring first as Brandon Duhaime sent a pass into the slot for Christiano Versich who wristed a shot past the stick side of Stampede goaltender Stefanos Lekkas to give the Steel a 1-0 lead just 3:28 into the game. Sioux Falls would settle down and keep things close throughout the period and would tie the game at 15:41 when Jack Becker tallied his third of the season on the power play. Becker’s first shot was stopped by Chicago netminder Daniel Vladar, but the rebound came to Becker who jammed the puck under the pads of Vladar to tie the game 1-1. Sioux Falls would take their first lead of the night with just over a minute remaining when Jack Doremus took the puck behind the Chicago net and wrapped around to beat Vladar. Initially the goal was waved off and it was ruled a save, but the officials reviewed the shot and determined that Doremus’ shot did cross the line, giving the Herd a 2-1 lead after one period. Chicago outshot the Herd 15-14 in the period.
Sioux Falls kept up the momentum in the second period, outshooting the Steel 7-3, but weren’t able to be Vladar who kept it a one-goal game. The Steel would tie the game at 11:44 when Lucas Michaud danced around the Stampede defense in the right circle and blasted a shot into the upper left hand corner of the net to make it a 2-2 game. The Stampede would take a late penalty that would put the Steel on the power play for the final 50 seconds of the period and that carried over into the start of the third period.
In the third, Sioux Falls would regain the lead while on the penalty kill just 53 seconds into the period when Daniel Warpecha deflected a shot from Alex Stevens into the back of the net to give the Herd a 3-2 lead. The Stampede would hold that lead until 8:32 mark when Chicago tied it again, this time it was Grant Gabriele who found the back of the net, wristing a shot just under the crossbar and past Lekkas to make it a 3-3 game. The rest of the period went back and forth and included a flurry of shots in front of the Stampede net in which Lekkas found himself face down on the ice, but still managed to stop Steel shots and keep the game tied, eventually forcing overtime.
The Stampede were flagged for a questionable penalty in overtime that led to a two minute power play for the Steel. The puck never left the Stampede zone, but Lekkas and the Herd defense stopped the Steel and limited Chicago to just two shots. The game would remain tied and eventually go to overtime.
After four scoreless rounds in the shootout in which both goaltender made tremendous saves, the Herd had a chance in round five after Lekkas stopped Jake Jaremko. Collin Peters took the puck down the ice and wristed a shot from the edge of the left circle into the upper left hand corner of the net sending all 6,227 fans at the PREMIER Center home happy as the Herd notched their 13th win of the season.
Sioux Falls outshot Chicago 32-29 on the night and went 1-for-3 on the power play while going 4-for-4 with a shorthanded goal on the penalty versus the second best power play in the league.
The Stampede continue their four-game homestand next Friday and Saturday with a weekend series against Muskegon. Puck drops at 7:05 PM each night. Friday is Ugly Christmas Sweater night, presented by The Salvation Army. Players will be wearing special Ugly Christmas Sweater jerseys that will be given away through a silent auction to benefit The Salvation Army. Santa himself will be at the game as the Herd celebrate the holidays. Tickets are available through the KELOLAND Box Office inside the PREMIER Center or any Ticketmaster outlet.