Ralston, Neb. – C.J. Franklin scored twice Friday evening as the Sioux Falls Stampede outlasted the Omaha Lancers 3-2 in front of 3,762 fans at the Sioux Falls Arena. The setback snapped Omaha’s season-high six-game winning streak as the Lancers moved to 28-18 overall this season. The loss was just the second over the last 13 games for the Orange and Black who are now tied for third place in the Western Conference standings with the Waterloo Black Hawks.
Neither side was able to find the back of the net in the opening period despite a combined 11 shots on goal. Lancers netminder Alex Lyon registered six saves on the six Sioux Falls shots that came his way while the Stampede’s Charlie Lindgren answered the five Omaha shots he faced in the first period.
The scoreless deadlock remained through the second frame as well despite a combined 16 additional shots. Lyon turned away the eight Stampede shots he faced in the second period while Lindgren denied the eight Lancers shots that came his way in the middle stanza.
The Stampede finally broke the scoreless tie a little over three minutes into the third period when Franklin gathered a rolling puck in the Omaha goal crease before sending in his 21st goal of the season. Zeb Knutson grabbed the only assist on the even strength strike scored 3:23 into the final period. The goal marked the 21st time in 46 games this season that the Lancers have surrendered the game’s first goal as Omaha moved to 8-13 when allowing the first goal this year. Sioux Falls doubled its lead less than two minutes later when Franklin swatted in his second goal of the game and 22nd conversion of the season from Dennis Kravchenko and Knutson 5:07 into the third period. Omaha trimmed the deficit in half with just under eight minutes left in regulation when Trent Samuels-Thomas forced a takeaway in the defensive end before streaking out on a breakaway and burying his fourth goal of the season. The unassisted five-on-five goal came 12:19 into the final period. The Stampede quickly re-established their two-goal lead a little over two minutes later when Tony Calderone connected with Todd Skirving on a transition rush for Skirving’s 16th goal of the year and fourth game-winning strike this season. The Lancers climbed back to within a single goal just over a minute later when Matias Cleland redirected Gage Hough’s left point one-timer for his eighth goal of the season but that’s as close as Omaha would get.
Lindgren preserved the victory for Sioux Falls after 20 saves on 22 shots. With the win, the veteran netminder improved to 22-9-2 on the year and is now 2-3 head-to-head against Omaha. Meanwhile, Lyon suffered the loss for the Lancers after 19 saves on 22 shots. The setback snapped his personal five-game winning streak as Lyon moved to 21-13 overall this season.
The Lancers are back in action tomorrow evening when they return home to Ralston Arena for a 7:05 PM showdown with the Tri-City Storm.