SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KWSN) - Two first period goals and a stellar performance in goal for Charlie Lindgren propelled the Stampede to a 2-1 victory Friday night at the Resch Center. The win improved the Herd’s record to 34-13-2 and kept them five points ahead of Fargo for first place in the West. The Herd finished the season series with a 2-1-0 mark against the Gamblers.
Todd Skirving and Zeb Knutson tallied goals in the first period as the Herd won for the fifth time in six games. Lindgren made 28 saves in goal for his league leading 26th win of the season, second most ever for a Stampede goaltender in one season.
The Stampede came flying out of the gates and grabbed the first goal of the game just 5:37 in when Todd Skirving tallied his 20th goal of the season. Ian Mansfield took the puck away from a Gambler at center ice and raced down the left wing boards and nearly tucked the puck into the net, but it stuck on the goal post where Skirving came sliding in and tapped in the loose puck to give the Herd a 1-0 edge. The goal was the fourth in as many games for Skirving,
The Herd added to their lead less than three minutes later when Zeb Knutson recorded his 19th goal of the season. C.J. Franklin took the puck inside the left wing circle and sent a pass in front of the net to Knudson who deflected the puck through the legs of Green Bay goaltender Tony Kujava to give Sioux Falls a 2-0 edge. The Herd outshot the Gamblers 12-6 in the opening period and took their two goal lead into the locker room.
In the second period the Stampede continued their strong play and got another solid period from goaltender Charlie Lindgren. With 7:25 remaining, the Gamblers broke across the Stampede zone on a 3-on-1 and fired a shot just outside the crease, but Lindgren slid from left to right and made a right pad save to keep the Gamblers off the board. The Herd outshot the Gamblers 14-11 in the period and took their 2-0 lead into the third period.
The teams went back-and-forth in the third and Lindgren continued to play solid between the pipes, keeping the game 2-0. It stayed that way until the final 2:29 of regulation when the Gamblers were finally able to get on the board. Jordan Gross fed the puck from the right point through the slot and to the bottom of the left circle where Kyle Novak one-timed a shot into the back of the net to cut the lead in half at 2-1. It was Novak’s fifth goal in three games against the Herd. The Gamblers would pull their goaltender in the final minute and put a flurry of shots on net in the final seconds, but the Stampede were able to hold them off and secure their 34th win of the season.
Sioux Falls went a perfect 3-for-3 on their penalty kill while going 0-for-2 on the powerplay.
The Herd return to action Saturday night when they travel to Dubuque to face the league leading Fighting Saints at 7:05 PM. The Stampede currently trail the Saints by five points for the league’s best record. Fans listen live on KELO News Talk 1320-AM starting at 6:40 PM.
Courtesy: Jim Olander - Sioux Falls Stampede