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Stampede Top Bucs In Season Opener

Zeb Knutson, Sioux Falls Stampede
Sioux Falls Stampede

URBANDALE, IA — The explosive offense that Sioux Falls Stampede fans grew to love during the 2012-13 season was on display in their season opener Saturday night as the Herd topped the Des Moines Buccaneers 6-4 at Buccaneer Arena. The Herd trailed 2-0 early in the first, but rallied for five unanswered goals en route to the victory.

Sioux Falls native Zeb Knutson tallied a hat trick while Dennis Kravchenko tallied three assists and David Jacobson stopped 13 of 17 shots to earn the victory in goal for the Herd who are now 1-0-0 on the young season.

The Stampede looked good in opening moments of the game, but the Bucs stole the momentum with a couple power play goals in the first. Ryan Galt got the Bucs on the first after he backhanded a loose rebound shot past Jacobson at 6:18. Just over a minute later, the Bucs struck again on the power play when Patrick Grasso slapped a puck in the slot through the pads of Jacobson to give Des Moines a 2-0 edge. It stayed that way until 18:33 of the period when Kravchenko and C.J. Franklin sent a pass through the slot to Knutson who backhanded a shot past the pads of Buccaneers netminder Billy Christopoulos to make it a 2-1 game. Knutson struck again with just 18 seconds remaining in the period when he one-timed a pass in the slot from Kravchenko into the back of the net to tie the game 2-2 heading into the second period.  The Herd outshot the Bucs 15-10 in the period.

Sioux Falls grabbed their first lead of the game just 1:45 into the period when Cody Milan sent a puck through the crease where Michael Buonincontri slid in and knocked it through the pads of Christopoulos to make it a 3-2 game.  The Herd made it a 4-2 game at 7:25 when Peter Hand’s blast from the left point was tipped in by Conner Valesano and into the net. Tony Calderone added to the lead at 15:18 when he wristed a shot from inside the left circle into the upper left hand corner of the net. That sent Christopoulos, but it seemed to spark the Bucs who scored at 16:06 when Galt tipped in a puck in front of the net from Tanner Karty to make it a 5-3 score at the end of two periods.

The Bucs took that momentum into the third period and got within a goal when Galt completed his hat trick just 3:41 into the period when he tipped in a shot from Jack Jenkins. Less than three minutes later, Jenkins checked the Stampede’s Hand from behind and was given a double minor and a game ejection. That put the Herd on the power play for four minutes and they took advantage, scoring at 8:16 of the period when Knutson tallied his third goal of the night by deflecting in a shot from Hand. That goal proved to be the game winner as the Stampede held off the Bucs to earn a season opening victory.

Sioux Falls outshot Des Moines 31-17 on the night and went 1-for-2 on the power play while the Bucs went 2-for3.

The Stampede return to action on Friday when they travel to Indianapolis to face the Ice at 6:05 PM.

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Courtesy:  Sioux Falls Stampede

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