Game of the Week – Saturday Oct 19th vs. the Chicago Steel.
The Steel rolled into town with an aggressive physical game and a top-notch goaltender in Joe Pearce. The Stampede’s game plan was to work hard and get a victory, any victory. It didn’t have to be pretty, and it wasn’t, but it was a victory nonetheless.
The Stampede were playing their 5th game in eight nights, and the pace of the game showed that fatigue. The Stampede exploded for an early goal, then seemed to slow down as fatigue took hold. The rest of the first period was back and forth hockey, highlighted by hard hits and great goaltending on both ends of the ice.
In the Second, the Stampede exploded again, scoring two goals in 1:08 to start the second period. Chicago added two2 goals in the second to make the game 2-3 at the second intermission. In the third, the Stampede’s workmanlike effort continued. Obviously drained, the Stampede took command of the third period, dictating the pace and putting another tally on the board. Kellen Briggs withstood a final flurry of attack in the last two minutes of the game to seal the victory for Sioux Falls. In the end a tough fought 4-3 victory and two points for the Stampede, along with five days of much needed rest.
Kellen Briggs continues to dominate in goal. Briggs has been seemingly unstoppable even as he is being peppered by opponents who are out shooting the Stampede on a nightly basis. Briggs is one of only two goalies to have played in seven games this year, and leads the league in Wins with five. If Briggs is the Sheriff, there’s a new Deputy in town. The Stampede added goaltender Ross Cherry, a former All-Star who played with Tulsa last year, to back up Briggs. Cherry saw his first action of the season Friday night against the Waterloo Blackhawks. He looked excellent in goal, gaining the win while giving up only one goal and making 50 saves. This addition gives the team depth in case of injury and will allow them to rest Briggs while remaining confident in their goaltending.
Forward Mo Radmacher was named the Let’s Play Hockey Offensive Player of the Week this week. He had two goals and four assists in three games this week, and is ranked second in league scoring behind line mate Jacob Mcflikier. The Duo continues to lead the league with 15 and 17 points respectively. Their 3rd line mate, Jason Moul, is tied for 3rd in the league with 12 points. Stampede Defenseman Mike Vanelli has been a pleasant surprise on the offensive end this year as well, leading all USHL defensemen with eight points.
The Stampede Power Play is still rolling at just over 31%. Already the Stampede has scored 13 times on the man advantage in 41 opportunities.
The biggest issue for the Stampede is that they are being out shot on a nightly basis. For the year, Sioux Falls has been out shot 225 to 300. Against Waterloo, the shot count was almost 2 to 1 in favor of the Blackhawks. Only spectacular goaltending has kept the Herd in the win column. This is something the Stampede is looking to correct before their goaltenders get worn down later in the season.