Sioux Falls, SD—The team that never quits did it again on Sunday night. Andre Lee’s goal with just under four minutes remaining the second overtime lifted the Sioux Falls Stampede to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Steel before 5,687 fans at the PREMIER Center. The Herd now lead the best-of-five series, 2-0 with Game 3 in Chicago on Friday night.
Trailing by a goal with under five minutes to play in regulation, the comeback kids found a way again as Sam Stevens scored at 17:10 to tie the game and force overtime. The Stampede won for the fourth time in overtime this postseason and it marked the second time they played more than one overtime in a game. The Stampede are now 10-1 in the playoffs and 7-0 on home ice. Jaxson Stauber continued his brilliance in goal, stopping 30 of 32 shots in goal.
The Stampede knew they would see Chicago’s best in the first period and they definitely did. The Herd got their first power play opportunity of the series and had some good chances, but couldn’t be Justin Robbins. The Steel were able to break through at 14:06 when Gunnarwolfe Fontaine blasted a shot into the back of the net. Fontaine took the puck just inside the right circle dot and wristed it perfectly over the shoulder of Jaxon Stauber off the left goal post and into the net for a 1-0 lead. Chicago had chances to add to their lead, but Stauber made some nice saves to keep the deficit at one. Sioux Falls nearly tied the game in the final seconds of the period, but Robbins made some big stops and kept it a 1-0 game.
Chicago kept pressing the second period and created several good scoring chances, outshooting the Herd 12-6 in the period. Stauber was incredible between the pipes making save after save to keep it a one goal game. The Herd were finally able to crack Justin Robbins at 15:41 of the second period on a delayed penalty call. With the goaltender pulled, the Stampede kept possession and the puck came to Max Crozier who wristed a shot from the high slot that went right through traffic and under the left pad of Robbins to tie the game and send all 5,687 fans onto their feet. The game would remain tied heading into the third period.
Things got even more exciting in the third period with both teams battling back-and-forth to create scoring chances. It was tied all way until the midway point of the third period when the Stampede were flagged for a penalty and the Steel took advantage. Gunnarwolfe Fontaine sent a pass to the right-point for Robert Mastrosimone who one-timed the puck into the upper left-hand corner of the net to give the Steel a 2-1 advantage. Right when the Steel thought they might have the game in hand, the Stampede tied it up on a beautiful goal from Sam Stevens. Right off a face-off draw in the left circle, Stevens scored the typing goal. Just as the puck was dropped from a lineseman, Stevens got a shot right onto the net and through the five-hole of Robbins to make it at 2-2 game. The Herd were buzzing after that, but couldn’t take the lead and the game headed into overtime. Both teams tallied seven shots in the period.
In the first overtime, Chicago would benefit from a penalty call and go on the power play, but the Stampede were able to kill it off and almost scored when Brian Chambers took the puck out of box and drove to the Steel net, but was denied by the pad of Justin Robbins to keep it tied. Sioux Falls outshot the Steel 9-4, but it would head to double overtime.
The craziness continued in the second OT as both teams had some quality chances, but the Stampede outplayed the Steel for most of the extra session. It still remained tied late into the second overtime and looked like fans were in for a long night, but Andre Lee would end it with 3:55 left in overtime with his sixth goal of the playoffs. Lee took a pass from Matt Kessel and drove into the left circle where he snuck past the Steel defense and was able to wrist a bouncing puck from the face-off dot past the stick side of Robbins to capture the game two victory.
Sioux Falls outshot Chicago 8-3 in the second overtime and 36-32 in the game. Sioux Falls finished 0-for-2 on the power play while Chicago was 1-for-4.
The Stampede will now travel to Chicago for Game 3 of the best-of-five series on Friday night at Fox Valley Ice Arena. If necessary, Game 4 would take place on Saturday in Chicago. The Stampede are hosting a bus trip to the game on Friday. Interested fans can contact the Stampede office starting at 10 AM on Monday at 336-6060.