SIOUX CITY | It was almost hard to say which team had the advantage when Saturday night’s game was scoreless after two periods.
Defensemen from the Sioux City Musketeers were doing their part, blocking shots in front of goaltender Matt Jurusik, who took a shutout into the third period for the second time this season. Omaha, on the other hand, had outscored opponents 14-6 in the third period in a five-game scoring streak it took into the contest.
Scoreless after two periods before winning 3-1 Friday night at Tri-City, Omaha got a power-play goal from Filip Suchy with 14:33 left in the third period to snap the scoreless tie. Zachary Driscoll notched his fourth shutout of the season during a 3-0 United States Hockey League victory at the Tyson Events Center.
Driscoll, who lowered his goals-against-average to a stingy 1.89, became the first goaltender to blank Coach Luke Strand’s 5-11-3 Musketeers this season.
“I liked our guys effort,” said Strand. “I thought we very much stood together as a family and played a team-first game. We need to take advantage of opportunities we had, especially if it’s early.”
Sioux City hurt itself with missed scoring opportunities, especially in the first period when it had an 11-3 shots-on-goal advantage. Alternate captain Cole Koepke, third on the team in scoring this season with seven points (6 goals, 1 assist) missed a 1-on-1 scoring chance on the first of his team’s three power play opportunities.
Mathieu De St. Phalle also had an opportunity to bury a puck against Driscoll with a breakaway chance later in the first period. His shot attempt hit Driscoll’s skate.
“Driscoll had some big stops for them,” said Strand. “At the same time, I like the direction we took. We took a step tonight. Jurusik was very good tonight.
“Obviously, the percentages increase when we score first. I liked that we cleaned up things from last night (a 9-3 loss at Des Moines) like areas of first and last minutes of periods. Things of that nature, we did a better job tonight. That helps our momentum.”
Jurusik (4-9-3) had been 2-0-2 when the Musketeers were tied after two periods. The previous Saturday night at Dubuque, fellow goaltender Ben Kraws had taken a scoreless tie into the third period before Parker Ford and Micah Miller scored goals in a 2-0 win.
Jurusik had 18 saves before allowing the first of Suchy’s two third-period goals. There was another Sioux City positive, as the Lancers’ Brandon Furry was limited to one shot and failed to extend his scoring streak to nine games.
“On a road game on a Saturday night, you’ll take a 0-0 game going into the third, you know,” said Driscoll (6-3). “I think we had bus legs in the first period. We came out slow. We’re a third-period team. We have been all year. Coach (David Wilkie) makes sure we’re well-conditioned in practices, so that helps.”
Driscoll also complimented Jurusik’s effort and that of the Musketeers.
“I think that was a great rebound game (for the Musketeers),” he said. “We knew what happened against Des Moines. For those guys to bounce back like that, it was an impressive effort. Jurusik had a heck of a game. We were able to sneak one past him in the third. He’s a very good goalie, so for us to get one past him was good.”
The Musketeers will host Central Illinois (8-10-1) both Friday and Saturday night. The Flying Aces posted a 3-2 win over Sioux City on Dec. 1 at Bloomington, Ill.