Sioux Falls, SD – The Tri-City Storm dropped Game #3 of the Western Conference Final by a final score of 3-2 Friday night in Sioux Falls and was eliminated from the 2019 Clark Cup Playoffs. Benji Eckerle and Shane Pinto netted 3rd period goals for the Storm in tonight’s game, but a last-minute goal from Sioux Falls advanced the Stampede to the 2019 Clark Cup Final.
Austen Swankler gave Sioux Falls a lead just over five minutes into the 1st period on a goal assisted by Jami Kranilla and Ryan Johnson. Jami Kranilla pushed the Stampede lead to 2-0, scoring his 2nd of the postseason at 9:39 of the 1st period. Tri-City outshot Sioux Falls 9-8 in the 1st period and 10-7 in the 2nd period but entered the 3rd period down by two goals. The Storm scored its first goal of the game at 3:08 of the 3rd period. Benji Eckerle netted his 2nd goal of the postseason on a goal assisted by Ronnie Attard to cut the Stampede lead in half. Shane Pinto scored his 4th goal of the Clark Cup playoffs minutes later to tie the game at 2-2. Pinto’s goal was assisted by Brendan Furry and Zac Jones.
In the game’s final minute, the Stampede’s Brian Chambers scored a goal with 51 seconds left to give Sioux Falls a 3-2 lead. The goal came under video review and was ultimately ruled to be a good goal. Tri-City lifted goaltender Isaiah Saville for an extra attacker but was unable to tie the game and force overtime. Tri-City outshot Sioux Falls 30-20 in the game. Friday’s loss was the third consecutive in the series, and Tri-City was eliminated from playoff competition.
The Storm now prepare for the next major event in the USHL calendar, the 2019 USHL Phase I & Phase II draft that will be conducted next week. Friday’s loss marked the end to a historic 2018-2019 season for the Tri-City Storm. 2018-2019 saw Tri-City Storm capture its 2nd Anderson Cup in organization history, and the season included multiple team and league records.