Stampede Roll Snake Eyes on Gamblers to End Skid, 7-2
The Sioux Falls Stampede won the first two games of the 2016-17 USHL season, but have struggled mightily since, going scoreless in the last five. It has been a lack of scoring that had really hurt the Stampede, but Friday night they got back into the win column with an offensive outburst that included three-goals in the second and third periods on their way to a 7-2 victory over the Green Bay Gamblers.
The Stampede took the lead 7:31 into the contest, thanks to their special teams. With Alex Stevens sitting in the penalty box for slashing, Josh Passolt blocked a shot that rolled out into the neutral zone. Passolt leapt to his skates and outraced the Green Bay defense, skating in on a breakaway. He made a quick head fake, then wristed a shot that went between the pads of Gamblers goalie David Hrenak for the goal to make it 1-0.
About 4:30 later the Gamblers would tie the score. Sioux Falls attempted to clear the puck out of the zone, but Nolan Moyle blocked the clearing pass and sent it to Matt Jennings who wristed a quick shot from the right face-off circle. The puck went just under the pads of Mikhail Berdin and into the net to tie the game at one.
In the second period Green Bay would take the lead. John Leonard received a pass from Jason Dhooghe, and fired a shot from the high slot area. The puck hit the right post and caromed in for his third goal of the year.
A little less than two and a half minutes later, at the 10-minute mark, Eric MacAdams would tally his fifth goal of the season. Jason O’Neil made a pass down the left wing to MacAdams who received the puck and then made a nice move to get into the slot. He fired a wrist shot past Hrenak to tie the game at two.
A little over three minutes later the Stampede were back on the scoreboard. Jack Doremus recovered a loose puck along the boards and moved into the left circle. He fired a shot that went over the shoulder of the Gamblers goalie and into the net to make it 3-2. Sioux Falls would never trail again.
Almost four minutes later the Stampede would extend their lead to three. A set of passes between Paul DeNaples to MacAdams got the puck moving quickly and MacAdams then fed Austin Albrecht on a perfect breakaway pass out of the zone. Albrecht skated in and made a great forehand fake before moving to the backhand and putting the puck in for the goal. That made it 4-1.
The Sioux Falls Stampede dominated the second period, scoring three goals and outshooting Green Bay 14-9. The Gamblers would then put on a feverish third period that saw them outshoot Sioux Falls 19-13 but Berdin was absolutely dominant, keeping Green Bay off of the scoreboard while his team would tally three more goals.
At the 3:30 mark of the third period, Doremus put a nice touch pass into the air and Passolt then slapped it out of midair and into the net for his third goal of the season. That gave Sioux Falls a 5-2 lead.
With a little over seven minutes left in the game and the Gamblers on the power-play, the team opted to pull their goalie for the extra skater. It was a gutsy call that back-fired when, as the penalty was ending, Alex Stevens cleared the puck out of the Stampede end. Jake Johnson came out of the penalty box and nabbed the puck, easily putting it into the empty net to make it 6-2.
At the 16:22 mark Leonard Forselius closed out the scoring. Albrecht hit Forselius with a pass. He then made a nice move to slice through the defense and go upstairs with the goal to make it 7-2. That would be the final.
Passolt was named the first star of the game, scoring two goals. Doremus added a goal and an assist. Berdin saved 35 of the 37 shots he faced and was named the game’s second star.
These two teams will face-off again Saturday night. Game time is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier