SIOUX FALLS, SD -- Sioux Falls Stampede fans at the Arena were in a for a treat during a rare Sunday evening game as they witnessed a C.J. Franklin hat trick power the Herd offense in a 4-0 shutout win over the Lincoln Stars, the club’s fifth win in a row.

All 3,917 in attendance also got to see netminder David Jacobson push away all 33 shots for his fourth shutout of the season while the Stampede jumped one point ahead of the Sioux City Musketeers for sole possession of third place in the Western Conference.   The win is the Herd’s seventh in the month of March and brings Sioux Falls to 13-2-2 since February 1st.

“It’s nice to get rolling around this time and get our confidence up going into the playoffs,” said Franklin.

Franklin provided the Herd offense in the first period, touching the twine twice to give the Herd a two-goal 2-0 cushion after twenty minutes.  Franklin’s first came at 3:52 when Keith Burchett looped around the left side and found the forward in front of the net, allowing Franklin to slam it home for his 20th tally of the season.

The future Minnesota State Maverick’s 21st goal of the season came with 1:48 to go in the first on a nifty backhand of a rebound he found in front of Lincoln netminder Michael Bitzer.  Sioux Falls commanded the puck in the first, taking a 17-7 shot on goal lead into the locker room at the end of a 20.

“It was just going for me tonight,” said Franklin.  “Everything I touched was going in.  If the team wasn’t going I wouldn’t have had that.”

The two-goal lead held through the second period, despite the Herd being granted two power play chances.  Lincoln upped the offensive pressure in the period, getting 14 shots on Jacobson and getting several close opportunities to score.

“David played well, especially in the second period,” said head coach Cary Eades.  “He never let them get that spark, that puck in the net.”

Franklin completed his hat trick on a power play a mere 35 seconds into the third period and only 11 seconds into a man advantage when he deflected a blast from Garrett Cecere into the back of the net for his fifth goal in his last two games.

A backdoor goal by Ed McGovern with 6:37 to go in the game only served to ice the cake, as the Herd coasted the rest of the way for an easy 4-0 win. McGovern finished the night with a goal and an assist while Cecere chipped in three helpers in the win.

The Stampede will wait to see where they stand after Tuesday when the Musketeers host Des Moines. Sioux Falls entertains Sioux City this Friday at 7:05 PM at the Sioux Falls Arena in a battle for third place.

 

Steve Knutson/ESPN 99.1

Courtesy:  Sioux Falls Stampede