Ralston, Neb. - Jake Randolph scored in the final minute of regulation Saturday evening as the Omaha Lancers snapped a three-game losing skid with a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Sioux Falls Stampede in front of 3,921 fans at Ralston Arena. With the win, Omaha improved to 29-20 on the year and is now 4-2 head-to-head against Sioux Falls. Winners of seven of their last 10 games, the Lancers remain in sole possession of fourth place in the Western Conference with 58 standings points.
Omaha opened the scoring a little over 14 minutes into the game when a Connor Chatham chance on the right wing produced a rebound at the side of the net, which was promptly tapped in on a sharp angle opportunity by Tyler Hynes. Nash Worden garnered the secondary assist on Hynes' fourth goal of the year, which marked the 28th time in 49 games this season that the Lancers have scored first. Omaha is now 21-7 when firing the game's opening salvo this year.
The Lancers doubled their lead just past the midway point of the second period when a tremendous set up from the left wing by Matias Cleland found Drew Melanson on the back door for Melanson's ninth goal of the season. The even strength strike came 11:15 into the middle frame and snapped a seven-game scoring skid for Melanson. Sioux Falls trimmed the deficit in half just prior to the close of the period though when Dennis Kravchenko finished a two-on-one transition rush with his 16th goal of the year. Zeb Knutson grabbed the only assist on the five-on-five marker netted 16:53 into the second period.
The Stampede then evened the with just over three minutes left in regulation when Todd Skirving walked out of the corner before roofing his 18th goal of the season just under the Omaha crossbar. Kyle Schempp and Tony Calderone assisted on the equalizing marker scored 16:29 into the final period. The Lancers remained resilient though and reclaimed the lead for good with just 38 seconds left when Randolph swatted a loose puck out of midair at the right side of the goal for his 10th goal of the season. Tyler Moy and Gage Hough assisted on the conversion as Omaha claimed its fourth victory at Ralston Arena in as many tries against Sioux Falls.
Alex Lyon backstopped the win in goal for the Lancers with 27 saves on 29 shots. With the win, the veteran netminder improved to 22-14 on the year. Meanwhile, Sioux Falls goaltender Charline Lindgren suffered the setback despite 28 saves on 31 Lancers shots. Lindgren, who was making his 10th straight start in goal for the Stampede, is now 24-10-2 overall this season.
The Lancers are back in action this coming Wednesday evening when the team continues its five-game home stand at Ralston Arena with a 7:05 PM showdown against the Sioux City Musketeers.
Omaha - Tyler Hynes (Connor Chatham, Nash Worden) 14:08
Omaha - Drew Melanson (Matias Cleland) 11:15
Sioux Falls - Dennis Kravchenko (Zeb Knutson) 16:53
Sioux Falls - Todd Skirving (Kyle Schempp, Tony Calderone) 16:29
Omaha - Jake Randolph (Tyler Moy, Gage Hough) 19:22
Sioux Falls - 7, 8, 14 - Total 29
Omaha - 8, 11, 12 - Total 31
Sioux Falls - Charlie Lindgren (loss) 28 (31 shots)
Omaha - Alex Lyon (loss) 27 (29 shots)
Sioux Falls 0/4