USHL Press Release
The Des Moines Buccaneers were crowned Tier 1 national champions after their 3-2 win over the Sioux Falls Stampede in the decisive Game 5 of the Clark Cup finals before a sellout crowd of 4,764 at Sioux Falls Arena on Monday night.
Buccaneers forward Kyle Okposo was named the Planet Hockey Clark Cup Playoffs Most Valuable Player after scoring five goals (including two game-winners) and 11 assists in all 11 postseason games. He was also a plus-12.
Des Moines jumped out to an early lead in Game 5 on Colin Vock’s goal at the 1:58 mark of the first period (assisted by Okposo).
In the second, the Buccaneers extended their lead to 2-0 on a Rich Purslow marker (unassisted) before Sioux Falls’ Andreas Nodl (assisted by Chris Peluso) and Drew Akins (assisted by Corey Tropp and Jake Bauer) struck for goals to tie the game at two apiece.
Ben Ryan rang up the unassisted game-winner at the 4:19 mark of the third period.
Between the pipes, Troy Davenport made 18 saves, while Sioux Falls’ Alex Kangas turned aside 31 shots.
The Buccaneers were 0-for-3 on the power play; Sioux Falls went 1-for-3.
Des Moines finished with a 9-2 record in the postseason, sweeping both Green Bay (3-0) and Cedar Rapids (3-0) before defeating Sioux Falls (3-2).
It’s the Buccaneers fourth Clark Cup championship in their 26-year history and first since the 1998-99 season when future NHLers Peter Sejna (St. Louis Blues) and Noah Clarke (Los Angeles Kings) helped Des Moines to the title.
Des Moines finished with the USHL’s worst record in 2004-05 with 40 points (17 wins). This year, under the direction of General Manager of the Year Regg Simon, who also serves as the team’s head coach, the Buccaneers finished tied atop the East Division standings with 72 points (33 wins).
The Clark Cup, presented annually to the playoff champions of the nation’s only Tier 1 circuit, is named in honor of Don Clark, the longtime registrar of the Minnesota Amateur Hockey Association. Clark was also the recipient of the NHL’s Lester Patrick Award for his contributions to hockey in the United States.