In what has been a record setting season it seemed only fitting that the Sioux Falls Stampede would capture the Clark Cup title on home ice. With the PREMIER Center “Blue Out” of 8,178 fans, the Herd topped the Muskegon Lumberjacks 4-2 to sweep their Clark Cup Final series 3-0. It marks the second time in franchise history the Herd have won the Clark Cup with the first coming in 2007.
Four different players scored goals in the victory while Stefanos Lekkas stopped 33 shots to earn his 9th victory of the playoffs. Troy Loggins took home the playoff MVP award after posting a league best 16 points and tying a USHL postseason record with 10 goals. The Stampede finished the postseason having won six straight games and finishing the playoffs with a 9-3 record.
After yet another scoreless first period, the Stampede turned it on in the second scoring three times. Dakota Joshua didn’t waste any time in the second taking a pass from Mikey Eyssimont and blasting a shot past Muskegon goaltender Eric Schierhorn just 18 seconds into the period. Troy Loggins increased the lead at 10:07 when he scored shorthanded. Loggins broke through the defense, got a shot on goal that was stopped, but grabbed the rebound and tucked it under the left pad of Schierhorn to give Sioux Falls a 2-0 lead. It stayed that way until the 16:19 mark when Kieffer Bellows intercepted a pass on the penalty kill and slapped a shot past the glove of Schierhorn for the Herd’s second shorthanded goal of the night and third overall to give the Stampede a 3-0 lead heading into the third period.
Muskegon showed they wouldn’t go without a fight in the third, scoring just 1:59 in from Mason Jobst. Eight minutes later they would convert on a 5-on-3 advantage and make it a one-goal game when Matej Paulovic scored on a one-timer. From there it was the Lekkas show as he made save after save to keep the Stampede up by a goal. The Herd could finally breathe with 14 seconds left when a Lumberjacks defensemen lost control of the puck and watched it roll into the goal, sending all 8,178 fans into a frenzy.
The Lumberjacks outshot the Stampede 35-31 and finished 1-for-7 on the power play while the Herd went 0-for-4. The Stampede will hold a championship celebration from 5-7 PM at the Sioux Falls Convention Center on Monday. Follow the Herd on Facebook and Twitter @SFSTAMPEDE for more details this weekend.