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Stampede roll past Musketeers

LUVERNE -- The Sioux Falls Stampede opened the 2006-07 USHL campaign in grand fashion Thursday night, beating the Sioux City Musketeers 6-2 before a standing room-only crowd at the Blue Mound Ice Arena.

LUVERNE -- The Sioux Falls Stampede opened the 2006-07 USHL campaign in grand fashion Thursday night, beating the Sioux City Musketeers 6-2 before a standing room-only crowd at the Blue Mound Ice Arena.

Joey Miller and Erik Peterson each scored twice and captain Zach Redmond posted three assists to pace the Stampede attack. Jake Drewiske and Brad Malone had lone tallies for Sioux Falls, while David Solway Dan Sexton and Chris Huxley each picked up an assist.

Max Pacioretty scored twice for the Musketeers -- both goals were unassisted. Sioux City outshot the Stampede 33-31, but Sioux Falls made the most of its opportunities -- also receiving a good game in net from Matt Lundin (29 saves).

"We've got a fair amount of skill and a fair amount of hockey smarts on this team," Stampede head coach Kevin Hartzell said following the game. "We're going to get even better as we start formulating lines. Right now, we're just letting guys show what they can do."

From the opening drop of the puck, the Musketeers let it be known that they were going to hit -- and hit hard. Their quick, physical play paid dividends just moments into the contest as Pacioretty picked off a pass just inside the Stampede zone, took two strides down the slot and blasted the puck past a mesmerized Lundin -- giving the Musketeers a quick 1-0 advantage.

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The first period was very choppy as several penalties were issued to both clubs. But as the first period progressed, the play opened up and the superior skill and speed of the Stampede was evident.

With 4:49 remaining in the opening frame, Drewiske tied the game with an unassisted goal off of starting Sioux City netminder Jerry Kuhn.

Tied 1-all to begin the second, the Stampede fired at will on second-period goalkeeper Seth McNary. With 12:35 left in the period, Redmond cruised through the slot and fed Peterson to the right of McNary. The Sioux Falls left winger slapped it off the pass, beating McNary low to the blocker side -- giving the Stampede their first lead of the game.

Eight minutes later, Redmond received a pass from Solway and quickly shoveled it to a streaking Miller. The 190-pound right winger wasted no time in blasting it past McNary from the top of the right circle for a 3-1 Sioux Falls advantage.

"We're still working the kinks out, but for the first game we looked very good," Redmond said.

The Musketeers tried to make a game of it, scoring minutes into the third period on a power play. Pacioretty, who received the puck at the right point, teed it up and beat Lundin low to the blocker side.

But the Stampede answered back just seconds later as Malone picked up a loose puck in front of Kuhn -- back in net for the third period -- and fired a point-blank shot past the sprawling goalkeeper.

With 9:30 left in the game, Lundin stopped two close-range blasts from Sioux City forwards Anthony Maiani and Dustin Gazley. The Stampede countered as Redmond collected a pass from Solway and dropped it to a rushing Miller, who put it top shelf past Kuhn for a 5-2 Stampede lead.

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"We have a lot of quick guys and we took advantage of that after the game settled down," Miller said.

Peterson would finish the scoring with 7:59 remaining as Huxley fed Sexton, who cruised to the left of the slot and dished a backhand pass to the speedy left winger. Peterson mimicked Miller, putting it over the shoulder of Kuhn.

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