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WATERLOO — Sam Stevens got a stick on a back-handed centering pass from Andre Lee and his deflection found the back of the net as Sioux Falls edged Waterloo 3-2 in overtime Friday in Game 1 of a Clark Cup playoff series at Young Arena.

The Stampede rallied from a 2-1 deficit to force overtime with a Max Crozier power-play goal in the third, and goalie Jaxson Stauber made 34 saves in the opener of a best-of-five USHL Western Conference semifinal.

“We didn’t play bad by any means,” Black Hawks’ forward Griffin Ness said. “Things didn’t go our way. We’ve got to eliminate some errors, but we can’t hang our head after losing one game.”

Waterloo controlled much of the overtime period and outshot Sioux Falls 13-5, but Stauber made several tremendous saves, including pushing aside a Wyatt Schingoethe breakaway attempt just 2 minutes, 57 seconds into the extra period.

But with time winding down, Lee won a puck along the far boards in Black Hawk territory. He turned and fired it toward the net, and Stevens with a Waterloo defender on him managed to deflect it past Evan Fear for the game-winner.

It was the fourth time in seven games Waterloo and Sioux Falls have needed extra hockey to determine an outcome, and the Stampede win came just two nights after it needed four overtimes to eliminate Sioux City in a first-round series.

“It was an unfortunate bounce,” Black Hawks head coach P.K. O’Handley said. “That is how it kind of goes. The ice was tilted for most of the overtime, but they got a break.

“I thought we played pretty good. Thought we played hard. I thought their goalie was outstanding at key times. We had some really good looks and didn’t finish.”

After a 0-0 first period, Sioux Falls opened the scoring as defenseman Matt Kessel joined a rush and slammed home a nice set-up by Jami Krannila and Cade Borchardt.

Waterloo tied it with 10:40 left as Matej Blumel scored a power play goal, and then Schingoethe pushed the Black Hawks ahead, literally, as he scored during a scrum in front of the Stampede net with just 4:55 left to the second intermission.

“I thought our effort was good, and for the most part our structure was good,” O’Handley said. “I thought our detail was pretty good. I don’t know what else to say other than that.”

Sioux Falls forced overtime when Crozier scored on a 5-on-3 power play midway through the third with Black Hawks Hank Sorensen and Jacob Bengtsson in the box for holding and high sticking, respectively.

“I’m not going to fault our team. It was an unfortunate way to end, but we’ve got to play again, tomorrow,” O’Handley said.

“We’ve just got to use this as motivation and come back and play harder,” Ness added.

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Fear made 29 saves for Waterloo, and the Black Hawks killed six Stampede power plays.

Game two is Saturday night at Young Arena at 7:05 p.m.

Sioux Falls 3, Waterloo 2, OT

SHOTS ON GOAL

Sioux Falls 0 1 1 1 — 3

Waterloo 0 2 0 0 — 2

FIRST PERIOD — No scoring. Penalties — Andre Lee, SF (tripping), :56, Mason Palmer, Wat (holding), 9:15, Griffin Ness, Wat (cross checking), 15:54.

SECOND PERIOD — 1. Sioux Falls, Matt Kessel (Jami Krannila, Cade Borchardt), 5:44, 2. Waterloo, Matej Blumel (Emil Ohrvall, Hank Sorensen), 9:20, pp. 3. Waterloo, Wyatt Schingoethe (Ness, Dane Montgomery), 15:05. Penalties — Brandon Tabakin, SF (tripping), 7:54, Blumel, Wat (head contact), 10:30, Jacob Bengtsson, Wat (holding), 17:10.

THIRD PERIOD — 4. Sioux Falls, Max Crozier (Anthony Romano, Borchardt), 10:32, pp. Penalties — James Marooney, Wat (roughing), 2:05, Blake Bride, SF (roughing), 2:05, Sorensen, Wat (holding), 8:48. Bengtsson, Wat (high sticking), 9:19, Brock Paul, Wat (tripping), 16:26.

OVERTIME — 5. Sioux Falls, Sam Stevens (Lee, Bride), 19:31. Penalties — Kessel, SF (roughing), 1:53, Xander Lamppa, Wat (roughing), 1:53, Lee, SF (too many men), 7:21.

SHOTS ON GOAL

Sioux Falls 9 6 12 5 — 32

Waterloo 9 7 7 13 — 36

Goalies — Sioux Falls, Jaxson Stauber (34 saves). Waterloo, Evan Fear (29 saves). Referees — Kevin Corbett, J.R. Strager.. Linesmen — Jeff Pacoha, Mitchell Hunt.

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Sports reporter for The Courier

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