SIOUX CITY | So why playoff Mohawks for the Sioux City Musketeers as they begin playoff action against Sioux Falls on Tuesday night?
We have all heard of playoff beards in the NHL but I will let Musketeers captain Neal Pionk explain.
"We have some young guys on the team, myself included, that can only grow a partial beard," the captain said. "Last year we dyed our hair black, but the guys didn't want to do anything with black or bleach this year so we decided guys wanted to do mullets. Guys like me with short hair have to do Mohawks."
So there you have it. It's mullets and Mohawks for the Musketeers this season.
Will it lead to a Clark Cup?
SIOUX CITY | See what happens when the Sioux City Musketeers take games one at a time?
Losing streaks vanish. Skids such as the three-gamer that preceded the Musketeers’ current two-game winning streak haven’t lasted long in Jay Varady’s two seasons as head coach.
“We don’t look at streaks around here,” said Varady following Friday’s 6-3 win over Sioux Falls.
“We don’t talk about that at all, so we didn’t know it was three (losses) in a row. It’s just one day at a time for us.”
All Varady was looking at going into last Friday’s game was a motivated Sioux Falls team trying to win to stay alive for a berth in the upcoming United States Hockey League Clark Cup Playoffs. His team was motivated to “get that little ‘x’ next to our name for the playoffs.”
STORM LAKE, Iowa | It had been a long stretch between Iowa Conference championships -- 21 seasons to be exact -- before Brian Van Haaften guided Buena Vista University to the 1997 Iowa Conference men's basketball title.
And, he's been doing it ever since.
Buena Vista clinched its ninth title under Van Haaften, in his 19th season at the helm, with a 94-80 win at Dubuque Wednesday night. The Pella, Iowa, native and former Northwestern College cager has a 372-149 record (.612 percent) and his current squad is 18-6 overall and 11-2 in the IIAC.
Van Haaften joined the BVU staff as an assistant coach in 1994 and took over as head coach in 1996. Along with the '97 crown, the Beavers also won in 2000, '02, '03, '04, '08, '09 and 2013.
Now add 2015 to that list. That means any player that played four years under the highly successful former Storm Lake St. Mary's High School administrator and coach have been part of a conference championship team.
WAVERLY, Iowa | Maybe the death of the Wartburg wrestling program was just a bit premature.
The Knights, who were not ranked in the preseason Division III wrestling poll after winning their fourth straight national championship last season, moved from seventh to second in the NWCA rankings on Tuesday.
The Knights have eight wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of their respective weight class led by Andrew Steiert. Steiert is third at 165.
As a proud Wartburg alumnus I found it hard to believe even after losing a tremendous senior class last year that the Knights would go so quite in 2014-15. After all this is a program that shares the Division III record with Augusburg with 11 national titles.
The 11 NCAA team titles ties Augsburg (Minn.) for the record. The national championship has been won by either Augsburg or Wartburg every year since 1995.
SIOUX CITY | This is what happens when I have too much time on my hands.
Hey Classic Rock fans, remember this Styx hit from the 1981 Paradise Theatre album? Three from the original five-man lineup were raised in Chicago, specifically from the Roseland neighborhood, not including the singer of that smash, Tommy Shaw.
Yes, this is what occurs when there’s no games, no calls to the office. Research. It’s all about United States Hockey League hat tricks which have occurred this season.
This exploration is a product of last Saturday’s game at the Tyson Events Center when Sioux City Musketeers’ right wing Sam Kurker (15, 13) had the squad’s second hat trick of the season in a 4-2 win over Fargo. Teammate Joel Janatuinen (12, 17) had the first in a 7-5 win over Tri-City on Nov. 22.
Chicago, the USHL’s leader with four hat tricks, will host the Western Conference-leading Musketeers Sunday. The Steel’s Mason Bergh leads the league with 37 points (16 goals, 21 assists), one point more than the USHL’s forward of the week, the Musketeers’ Adam Johnson (15, 21).
LE MARS, Iowa | Four years ago, I was on my daily walk when I waved at Don Shilling as he pulled into a diagonal parking space at Le Mars High School.
I had an idea for a feature story about Shilling and his Le Mars assistant boys track coaches. He smiled and liked the idea about a piece that would discuss the loyalty that Steve Mohning, Jim Denekas and Al Engebretson had for him. The four of them had worked together since 1983, Mohning coming aboard when Shilling became the Bulldogs’ head coach in 1979.
“Jer, if you want to do it, this is the year you gotta do it because Steve’s retiring this year,” said Shilling.
“I’ll get right to it,” I said.
Northwest Iowa boys track won’t be the same this spring. Shilling passed away unexpectedly on Christmas Eve at the age of 73. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Le Mars.
Sunday afternoon at Miami was just another one of those frustrating games that got away from the Minnesota Vikings.
A 37-35 loss to the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium provided yet another kick in the stomach to this die-hard Vikings fan. It had all of the classic ingredients of the things that have gone wrong in yet another losing season where five defeats have come by a total of 16 points.
For the second straight week, the Vikings blew a 14-0 lead. Did Chase Ford’s right foot actually go out of bounds when he caught a touchdown pass in the closing seconds of the second quarter? FOX analyst Mike Perriera didn’t think so. Blame it on instant replay, because the zebras ruled Ford went out at the 1-yard line and Coach Mike Zimmer’s team had to settle for a Blair Walsh 18-yard field goal.
It could have made a difference in the final score. Ditto on the play where Xavier Rhodes had a chance for a fourth-quarter interception that bounced off his fingertips and Mike Wallace made a twisting, acrobatic move to squeeze in for a 7-yard touchdown past the missed tackle of Harrison Smith, who in the second quarter snagged his fifth interception of the season.
Teddy Bridge“overtroubled”water didn’t look bad, completing 19 of 26 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns. Trailing 28-20, Teddy threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Jarius Wright with 4:46 left in the fourth quarter and Matt Asiata tiptoed half a yard for the two-point conversion that made the Vikings 4-for-4 in that category.
Intermat released its new high school wrestling rankings on Wednesday and several Iowa wrestlers are climbing the list.
OA-BCIG's Cash Wilcke remained 11th at 195 pounds as the senior has begun his final prep wrestling season before heading off to the University of Iowa. He is one spot ahead of Mediapolis' Steven Holloway while North Scott's Colin Kreiter is 20th in the weight class.
Woodbury Central's Landan Paulsen is ranked as the 16th best heavyweight in the nation, but he will play football at Iowa in college. SE Polk's Jacob Marnin is ranked fourth at 285.
A couple of youngsters in sophomores Justin Mejia of California and Jason Renteria of Illinois are both verbal commits to Iowa as sophomores. Mejia is ranked third at 113 while Renteria is fourth at the same weight.
Another Hawkeye commit in Michael Kemerer out of Pennsylvania is the top-ranked recruit at 145 while Bettendorf's Fredy Stroker is ranked second after a classic matchup he lost to Union's Max Thomsen this past weekend in overtime. Thomsen is ranked third in the weight class.
GREEN BAY, Wis. | Former University of South Dakota All-American Tyler Starr has been inactive for all 13 of the Atlanta Falcons' games this season, but if you were watching closely during Monday night's game at Lambeau Field, you may have caught a glimpse of the pride of Little Rock, Iowa.
Of course, it's hard not to notice Starr and his long, flowing golden locks.
There he was, shouting encouragement to his teammates and at one point congratulating a player for scoring a touchdown. Although not in uniform, Starr is still part of the Falcons' team, taking part in daily practices and traveling to every game.
The 6-5, 250-pound linebacker was drafted in the seventh round by the Falcons last May and shortly thereafter signed a four year, $2.2 million contract. His base salaries for those four years are $420,000, $510,000, $600,000 and $690,000.
Knowing Tyler as well as I do, however, I'll bet he would trade any amount of money to get a chance to play.
The first night of prep wrestling in Siouxland was Tuesday night with several interesting results, but the one I am focusing on is the Sergeant Bluff-Luton and Westwood dual.
The Warriors picked up the win 43-24 but there were two matches that caught my eye.
First was at 113 pounds where the Warriors' Devin Phaly, ranked sixth in Class 2A, earned an 8-5 win over fifth-ranked (Class 1A) Kody Berg. That is a nice win for Phaly so early in the season for the two-time state qualifier and a placer two years ago as a sophomore. Berg had a very strong freshman campaign going 51-3 and placing seventh at state last season.
The other matchup that saw two highly-ranked wrestlers go at it was 120 where No. 2 (Class 2) Brayden Curry downed No. 4 (Class 1A) Zach Ulven 2-0.
Curry finished third at state at 106 last season while Ulven missed state last year but has already placed sixth and third in Des Moines.