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Stampeders struggle to find wins

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The Stamps just got an important part of their team back, and the timing couldn’t have been better.
Frazer Dodd, the Hazelton, B.C. product, returned to action on Feb. 8, having been out since Jan. 3 due to injury.
Dodd really made his presence felt on Saturday, picking up a pair of clutch goals in a key win that all but locked up fourth place. And, Head Coach Barry Wolff says the best is yet to come from Dodd.
“We really missed him, and when Frazer gets back to 100 percent, he’s going to be a big piece of our puzzle,” he said. “He’s still a little rusty, but he’s finding a way, as those two goals showed. He’s a huge presence in our lineup.”
With 17 goals and 17 assists in 42 games, Dodd’s return adds another level of that depth scoring that the Stampeders rely on. And, with four more games until the playoffs, he’ll have that much more time to get back up to “100 percent” for the Stamps.
Last week
As predicted, the Winnipeg Blues and Swan Valley Stampeders lit up the scoreboard one last time Sunday night at the Centennial Arena. But this time, it was the Blues who had the last laugh, as they earned a 7-5 (empty net) victory over the Stamps.
Things appeared to be going to script 30 seconds into the third when Josh Maucieri scored his 15th of the season to put the Stamps up 4-3. But then the wheels fell off, as the Blues scored three goals in the span of 3:09 to take a 6-4 lead.
Two of those goals came after a questionable major was handed out to Swan Valley’s Tanner Glasrud, who could be facing a suspension as a result. This could leave the Stamps short-staffed on the blue line for the short term.
Jackson Betcher scored with 2:29 left in regulation to cut the lead to one, but Winnipeg’s Mitchell Joss scored into an empty net with seven seconds remaining to put the game away. Betcher also had a pair of assists.
League leading scorer Mikol Sartar picked up an assist on the empty netter, giving him a four-point night – he had previously scored three times, including the eventual game winner.
Trevor Schroder hit the 20-goal mark in the second period. Tommy Cardinal (21st) and Daunte Fortner (seventh) also scored for the Stamps.
Mikael Foucher stopped 33 shots to take the loss while Swan Valley peppered their opponents with 45 shots on goal.
The loss may have cost the Stamps a shot at third place. They trail the Winkler Flyers by four points with only four games remaining.
The Blues, meanwhile, pulled to with four points of Selkirk with six games remaining.
In a very possible first-round preview, the Stampeders rallied for a 3-2 overtime victory over the Waywayseecappo Wolverines Saturday night.
For the second straight game the Stamps trailed their opponent 2-0 after 40 minutes. But, unlike the OCN game (more on that below), the Stamps rallied for the win.
Frazer Dodd got the comeback started with his 16th of the season, and then ended the game in overtime with his 17th. Josh Maucieri scored his 14th with just 2:36 left in regulation to force overtime.
Mikael Foucher stopped 35 of 37 shots to pick up the win, as well as being named the game’s third star.
“It was a more complete game tonight,” says Wolff. “We just stuck to our system and ended up tying the game last and winning it quick in overtime. It was great to get the two points.”
There was no comeback last Wednesday in OCN, as the Stamps laid an egg against the 10th-seeded Blizzard, falling 4-0.
The Blizzard earned a season-series split thanks to a 46-save effort by Zach Cloutier. He out-dueled Stampeder netminder Parker Rey, who finished with 29 saves.
Up next
The second last week of the regular season sees the Stampeders play three of their final four games, starting Wednesday in Waywayseecappo against the Wolverines.
The Wolverines enter this week with a slim one-point edge over the Virden Oil Capitals and a four-point edge over seventh-place Dauphin. Wayway Head Coach and General Manager Taylor Harnett says it really doesn’t matter who they face, but they are looking to enter the playoffs playing their best hockey.
“Any coach would be lying if he told you there wasn’t a team they’d prefer to play, but that being said, that’s something that’s out of our control,” said Harnett. “All we can control is our effort and win our games.
From there the Stamps head home for two weekend games against the first-place Steinbach Pistons. The Pistons are trying to hold off the Portage Terriers and lock down first place and home ice through the entire playoffs. Both Portage and Steinbach played on the holiday Monday, but heading into those games, the Pistons had a four point-edge with six games remaining, while the Terriers had seven games left to play.
The Stampeders have a win and an overtime loss in four meetings against the Pistons this year.
Swan Valley will have to find a way to generate some more offence against Steinbach if they want to win these games. The Pistons, who held the Stamps to two or less goals in the three games they won, have allowed a league-low 127 goals against this year. That’s just 2.35 goals against per game.
“They’re a complete team top to bottom, including their goaltending,” says Wolff. “We’ll have to make sure we’re sound defensively and disciplined. Their power-play is good.”
Stamps Stuff
Tommy Cardinal leads the Stamps in game-winning goals with seven. The departed Mattias Dal Monte and Frazer Dodd are next with four game-winning goals … Speaking of Dal Monte, he definitely has seen his offensive production drop since he was traded to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. He has just three assists in 13 games.