DES MOINES, Iowa | Sioux City's opportunity to move out of the United States Hockey League's Western Conference cellar was squashed by an unrelenting Des Moines attack as the Bucs claimed a 9-3 win Friday evening.

Des Moines jumped on top of the Musketeers with a pair of goals in the opening 3:59 of the game, driving Sioux City starting goalie Gabe Vinal from the nets early in favor of Matt Jurusik. Vinal, who has played for the Aberdeen Wings in the NAHL this season, was making his initial USHL appearance. He returned later in the game after Jurusik was also removed from the game after allowing four goals on 19 shots through the middle periods. Vinal ended up the night with 17 saves while allowing five goals.

Sioux City's Micah Miller stemmed the early tide with a power-play goal off an assist 4:48 into the game to pull the Musketeers within 2-1. Luke Manning answered for the Bucs at 11:09 of the first and out his team up 3-1 after the first period.

After Marchell Rifai scored 1:52 into the second period to make it 4-1 Des Moines, Sampo Ranta scored his eighth of the season at 4:16 to pull Sioux City back withim 4-2.

Miller, who had an assist on Ranta's score, added a short-handed goal with 44 seconds left in the second, but Des Moines converted before its power play on Julian Napravnik's goal to up the Buc lead to 7-3 after two periods.

The Musketeer penalty kill unit had a rough night, giving up goals on all four of the Des Moines power plays.

Sioux City entered the game two points behind Des Moines for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference but dropped to 5-10-2. The Muskies return to the Tyson Events Center Saturday when they host Omaha.

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