Muskegon Lumberjacks 2 @ Sioux Falls Stampede 4
Sioux Falls wins series 3-0
The Sioux Falls Stampede scored three goals in the second period and held on for a victory in Game Three to sweep the series with the Muskegon Lumberjacks and win the 2015 USHL Clark Cup Championship.
Both teams came out firing in the first period and traded quality chances, but Stampede goaltender Stefanos Lekkas (15 saves) and Muskegon netminder Eric Schierhorn (8 saves) combined to stop all 23 shots that came their way.
Sioux Falls came alive in the second period as Dakota Joshua put his team on the board just 18 seconds into the frame. It was the fourth goal of the playoffs for the 2014 NHL Draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Stampede committed multiple penalties in the second period, but it didn’t slow down their offense. Troy Loggins make a great individual effort to get the puck to the net while on the penalty kill, then his second opportunity found the back of the net, giving him his 10th goal of the postseason. Six minutes later, the Stampede were shorthanded again, but this time it was Kieffer Bellows who ripped a shot to make it a 3-0 game. It was his ninth goal of the playoffs, it would prove to be his fourth game-winning goal of the postseason.
Muskegon didn’t give up and clawed their way back into the game in the third period. Mason Jobst scored his first USHL career playoff goal just two minutes into the frame to make it a 3-1 game. The Lumberjacks would pull within a goal midway through the period when Matej Paulovic buried a power play opportunity, the third goal of the playoffs for the 2013 NHL Draft pick of the Dallas Stars.
The Lumberjacks would pull Schierhorn in favor of the extra attacker with less than two minutes to play and created several quality opportunities to tie the game, but Lekkas and the Stampede would hang on and captain Logan O’Connor would send the puck into the empty net to seal the victory for his club.
Lekkas finished the night with 33 saves to record his ninth victory of the playoffs while Schierhorn had 27 saves in the loss.
Stampede forward Troy Loggins was named the Most Valuable Player of the Clark Cup Playoffs as he tied for the most points in the postseason with 16 (10g, 6a). His 10 goals in the playoffs equaled a USHL Tier 1 era record (2002-present) shared by Anders Lee (Green Bay Gamblers) and Matt Leitner (Fargo Force) who both scored 10 goals in the 2010 playoffs.
It was the second Clark Cup title for the Sioux Falls Stampede, following their 2007 championship. They also become just the second fourth seed all-time to win the Clark Cup.
Friday’s game in Sioux Falls was played in front of 8,178 at the brand new Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, the second-highest attendance ever for a USHL Clark Cup Playoff game.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 13th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2014-15. A record 35 players were chosen in the 2014 NHL Draft and more than 300 players on team rosters this season are committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.