As Canadian junior championships begin to get decided -- the Kelowna Rockets and Oshawa Generals have already won the WHL and OHL, respectively -- the United States' top junior league, the USHL, has named its champion.
With a 4-2 victory Friday night, the Sioux Falls Stampede completed a sweep of the five-game series against the Muskegon Lumberjacks. The best-of-five victory for Sioux Falls was far from a dominating sweep, with wins of 3-2 and 4-2 bookending a 6-1 Game 2 victory as the Stampede took home the Clark Cup as USHL champions.
In the second period of Game 3, with less than four minutes remaining, Keiffer Bellows buried a shorthanded marker to put the Stampede ahead 3-0. The goal, Bellows' ninth of the post-season, stood as the game- and championship-winning marker. Remarkably, it was Bellows' fourth game-winning goal of the playoffs.
The victory is the second Clark Cup win in Sioux Falls' franchise history, the other victory coming in 2007. A fourth seed entering the post-season, the Stampede became just the second team in USHL history to win the championship from that spot.
Sioux Falls' 19-year-old Troy Loggins, who has committed to the NCAA's Northern Michigan University for next season, was named the playoff MVP. Over the course of the post-season, Loggins registered 10 goals and 16 points. His 10 tallies matched the USHL record set by Anders Lee and Matt Leitner, who each scored 10 in 2010.