Lekkas Sharp But Stampede Lose To Thunder
Herd drop first game after Christmas break to Bloomington
A spirited crowd of 7,226 brought some noise to the PREMIER Center, but unfortunately couldn’t register any goals for the Stampede who were blanked 3-0 by the Bloomington Thunder Tuesday night. Stefanos Lekkas stopped 23 of 25 shots while Logan Hallady earned his first shutout of the season as Bloomington extended their win streak to seven games while the Herd saw their four-game winning streak come to an end. The Herd are now 16-11-1 on the season and three points behind Lincoln for first place in the Western Conference.
Both teams spent some time getting adjusted to being back in game mode, but it would be the Thunder who would break through and take a 1-0 lead just 8:04 into the period when Vladislav Dzhioshvili scored his third goal of the season. The Thunder dumped the puck in behind the net of Lekkas, but it bounced out to the left circle where Dzhioshvili one-timed a shot that beat Lekkas on the glove side to give the Thunder a 1-0 advantage. That would be the only goal of the period as the Stampede and Thunder each posted 7 shots on goal.
After a scoreless second period in which the Herd were outshot 6-4, Bloomington added to their lead at 3:35 of the period. Steve Merl drove down the left wing boards and sent a perfect pass through the crease and onto the tape of Alec Mehr who quickly tapped the puck past the left skate of Lekkas to give the Thunder a 2-0 advantage. Later in the period a questionable fighting major call to only Lawton Courtnall was assessed and that put the Thunder on a five-minute power play with just over 11 minutes remaining. The Herd would send all 7,226 to their feet and just seconds later the Herd were awarded a 5-on-3 power play for 1:50. The Herd would generate some chances and even hit a cross bar, but couldn’t solve Bloomington goaltender Logan Halladay who turned aside all nine shots in the period and 20 on the night to earn the shutout. The Thunder sealed the game when Jake Durflinger scored on an empty net in the final minutes to give the Thunder a commanding 3-0 edge.
Bloomington outshot the Herd 26-20 and went 0-for-5 on the power play while the Herd were also 0-for-5. The Stampede finish their season series vs Bloomington with an 0-2-0 mark.
Sioux Falls returns to action Thursday for a special New Year’s Eve tilt with the Lincoln Stars at 6:05 PM.