The Sioux Falls Stampede (1-2-0) went into their game on Saturday night with the Muskegon Lumberjacks (0-3-0) with a chip on their shoulders after giving up four unanswered goals to the Green Bay Gamblers (4-0-0) on Friday night. Despite outshooting the Gamblers 33-26 the Herd could not find the back of the net from the last 18:10 of the second period through the end of the game. Captain Joseph Lordo said that the team came out flat and too relaxed after the second intermission and that was what allowed Green Bay to get the win.
Sioux Falls came out in the first period and still looked flat to begin the first period as the defense allowed an early goal by Muskegon’s Nick Seeler off of an assist by Travis Belohrad. Then the Lumberjacks struck again less than seven minutes later in the period on a power play goal by John Padulo after being assisted by Joona Manninen. Penalties hurt the Stampede in the first period as the Herd were sent to the box three different times, forcing themselves to play shorthanded, thus allowing the power play goal.
The second period started out the same way that the first ended with Muskegon being the more aggressive team towards the puck. Ryan Lomberg scored with 11:42 left in the second period on the power play. He was assisted by Ryan Bullock and Manninen for the second time on the night. The Stampede then got a spark of their own as Todd Skirving came out of the penalty box, immediately received a pass and put one past Muskegon goalie Paul Berrafato. He was assisted by Evan Moore. 41 seconds later the Lumberjacks struck back with a goal by Dakota Klecha. Just as it seemed as if the Stampede were out of it, Nick Nielson scored his first career USHL goal to pull Sioux Falls back to within two goals, 4-2. There were four goals scored in a matter of 3:30.
The penalties started to pile up for both teams at the end of the second as there was a fair amount of pushing and shoving and late hits during times that frustration began to get the best of both teams. Penalties put the Herd into several tough spots though in the second period as they racked up 12 minutes in the box. Through two periods the Herd were also outshot 28-22 by the Lumberjacks.
Sioux Falls came out of the locker room in the third period on the power play but were unable to convert, making them 0-9 through this power play over their last two games. Travis Belohrad then hit one off of the glove of netminder Charlie Lindgren to give Muskegon a 5-2 lead. Ryan Lomberg assisted on the goal giving the Lumberjacks a 3 goal lead back.
Bryan Moore delivered a huge hit but injured his left knee in the process and had to be helped off the ice by the Stampede training staff. Immediately off the faceoff after the stoppage, Mike Moran of the Lumberjacks scored his second goal of the season, ending Lindgren’s night and giving Muskegon a 6-2 lead. Austyn Young then came back off of an assist by Kyle Rankin and Mitch Hughes to cut the lead back down to 6-3. The Stampede showed the fans that they were not going to go down quietly and without a fight.
The Stampede got another power play opportunity and this time they were able to convert off of a beautiful pass from Young to Kyle Rankin to bring them to within two goals at 6-4. The goal broke a power play drought of 0-9 over their last two games. Sioux Falls coach Kevin Hartzell made the decision to sub goaltender Stephon Williams for Lindgren and it seemed to be a positive change as Williams stopped three straight shots on net by the Lumberjacks to help kill off a power play.
Todd Skirving got a piece of a Drew Brevig shot giving him his third goal of the season and pulling the Herd back to within 1, 6-5. The Stampede apparently scored the game-tying goal with just 55 seconds left but the referee waved off the goal after he had indicated a goal. The Stampede were unable to score and fell after a valiant comeback 6-5 to the Lumberjacks. Muskegon improves to 1-3-0 on the season and the Herd fall to 1-3-0.
Sioux Falls will be back in action on Friday October 21st against the Lincoln Stars and on Saturday October 22nd against the Fargo Force. The puck drops at 7:05 PM both nights at the Sioux Falls Arena.