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Stampede Force Game 5 With 2-1 Win In Lincoln

Dennis Kravchenko, Sioux Falls Stampede
Sioux Falls Stampede

LINCOLN, NE — With their season on the line, the Sioux Falls Stampede played 60 solid minutes and topped the Lincoln Stars 2-1 Saturday night at the Ice Box.

The win evened their best-of-five Western Conference semi-final series 2-2 and forced a Game 5 this Tuesday night at the Sioux Falls Arena at 7:05 PM.

Vinny Muto and Sam Rothstein tallied goals while Charlie Lindgren stopped 22 shots in goal to lead the Stampede to victory.

The Herd finished the season with a 4-2-0 record at the Ice Box. The winner of Tuesday’s game will move on to face the winner of Waterloo/Fargo in the Western Conference Finals while the loser will see their season come to an end.

Neither team would score in the first, but the Herd killed off an early penalty and showed they were ready to play by outshooting the Stars 8-5 in the opening period.

In the second, the Herd grabbed the first goal of the game when Muto tallied his first career USHL playoff goal just 1:28 in. Muto took a pass at the right point from Rothstein and wristed it through traffic and into the upper right hand corner of the net to make it a 1-0 game.  Sioux Falls controlled the remainder of the second period, applying all the pressure, but couldn’t catch a break as Lincoln netminder Michael Bitzer made several big saves and got some breaks with pucks bouncing just wide. The Herd outshot the Stars 9-6 in the second and outshot the Stars, 17-11 through two periods.

In the third, Sioux Falls continued their strong play and took a 2-0 lead at 8:24 on a goal from Rothstein. Rothstein broke into the Stars zone with Conner Valesano who took the pass inside the left circle and quickly sent it back into slot where Rothstein tapped the puck through the pads of Bitzer while being taken down from behind. It remained 2-0 until the 13:57 mark when the Stars made things interesting by scoring shorthanded. Vinni Lettieri dug the puck out into the right wing corner and sent a pass into the high slot to Paul LaDue who fired a shot into the upper right hand corner of the net to cut the Herd’s lead in half.

The Stars gained some momentum off that goal and continued to apply pressure, but Lindgren made several big saves down the stretch to keep the Stars off the board and secure a 2-1 victory and force a Game 5, Tuesday night in Sioux Falls.

Sioux Falls outshot Lincoln, 24-23 on the night and finished 0-for-4 on the power play while Lincoln was 0-for-3.

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Courtesy:  Sioux Falls Stampede

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