SIOUX CITY | Thursday night’s all right for fighting as well.
A crowd of 1,683 at the Tyson Events Center saw the Sioux City Musketeers fight back from an early 2-0 deficit to score a 6-3 United States Hockey League victory over the Des Moines Buccaneers.
Sioux City (3-6-3), which ended a four-game losing streak, set the tone with physical play that not only led to five fights. Fisticuffs sparked energy which resulted in late first-period goals from Jake Montgomery and Jake Guentzel that triggered the club’s third win of the season, all on home ice.
Battling back from a 2-0 deficit, Sioux City scored four unanswered goals at one point in a contest that saw 10 players sent to the penalty box for fighting in the first two periods.
One of them, Musketeers defenseman Ryan Mantha, was ejected barely three minutes into the game for instigating a fight against Buccaneers’ defenseman Seth Adams following a roughing call charged to Musketeers defenseman Cedric LaCroix. The fight led to early two Des Moines power-play goals, 32 seconds apart, from Danny Elser.
“We knew we had to set the tone, so that means every guy comes out and plays hard for everyone in the room,” said Musketeers defenseman Michael Holland, one of five who exchanged fists against a Des Moines club that had posted a 2-1 shootout victory at the Tyson on Oct. 20 that launched the Musketeers’ five-game funk.
“When something happens, you stick up for your teammate. We knew we had to play real tough to get this thing turned around. You know, everyone’s sick of losing. There’s no other way to put it. We lost four in a row. We knew we had to change something up. The easiest way to change things up is through physical play. If fights come from that, so be it.”
Team captain David Goodwin scored two goals for the Musketeers, extending his scoring streak to two games.
“We know if we want to be successful this season, we have to play more gritty than we were in the last 10 games,” said Goodwin. “Maybe not this many fights, but we liked it and we felt it gave us the edge tonight. The fights are huge for momentum, especially when you get them from guys like (Conor) Andrle, (Charlie) Ackerman, guys who don’t expect it, but they’re momentum changers for us.”
Assistant coach Keith Paulsen described the Musketeers as “too amped up” in the game’s early stages. He expected Des Moines (5-7-1) to bring a physical style of play and said the Musketeers played their most physical game of the season.
“Part of the process of winning is taking hits to make plays and making hits to make plays,” said Paulsen. “It was good to see guys go out there and not give in to their physical play and hand it right back. The fights are the fights, but that’s part of the game. We played a physical game too. We set the tone as far as the physical play all over the rink. It resulted in goals for us tonight.”
Goodwin snapped the 2-all tie, scoring 17 seconds into the second period. Holland assisted on the tiebreaking goal that incidentally, was the team’s fastest goal to start a period this season.
Six and a half minutes later, Nikolas Olsson’s unassisted power-play goal for a 4-2 lead gave the Musketeers their biggest lead in three weeks. Playing in just his second game of the season after missing the first 10 with a shoulder separation, Olsson also collected an assist on Tanner Pond’s goal, 24 seconds into the third period, that provided the winning squad’s second two-goal advantage of the night.
Winning goaltender Joe Ballmer (3-3-2) recorded saves on 25-of-26 chances after yielding Elser’s two power-play goals.
“This win was great for character building and it was great for team building,” said Goodwin. “This is a game we’ll look back on later in the season and we’ll think, that was the game that really got this thing going.”
Sioux City will host Western Conference co-leader Waterloo (10-2) Saturday night.
Sioux City 6, Des Moines 3
First period: 1, Des Moines – Danny Elser (Axel Wemmenborn, Eric Martinsson), power play, 3:05. 2, Des Moines – Elser (Wemmenborn, Nolan Valleau), power play, 3:37. 3, Sioux City – Jake Montgomery (Jared Kolquist), 11:55. 4, Sioux City – Jake Guentzel (David Henry), power play, 18:02. Penalities: LaCroix, SC, roughing, 2:13; Adams, DM fighting major, 2:13; Mantha, SC, instigation, 2:13; Mantha, SC, fighting major, game ejection, 2:13; Erickson, SC, checking from behind, 3:59; Boucher-Gould, SC, checking from behind, 9:14; Boucher-Gould, SC, 10-minute game misconduct, 9:14; Thomas, DM, fighting major, 14:40; Montgomery, SC, fighting major, 14:40; Roll, DM, checking from behind, 16:53.
Second period: 5, Sioux City – David Goodwin (Michael Holland), :17. 6, Sioux City – Nikolas Olsson (unassisted), power play, 7:50. 7, Des Moines – William Nong-Lambert (unassisted), 18:07. Penalties: Boucher-Gould, SC, high sticking, 2:11; Roll, DM, fighting major, 2:11; Ackerman, SC, fighting major, 2:11; Andrle, SC, fighting major, 5:37; Ericsson, DM, fighting major, 5:37; Basilico, DM, checking from behind, 5:58; Boucher-Gould, SC, slashing, 9:55; Martinsson, DM, roughing, 9:55; Holland, SC, fighting major, 10:12; Nong-Lambert, DM, fighting major, 10:12;
Third period: 8, Sioux City – Tanner Pond (Goodwin, Olsson), :24. 9, Sioux City – Goodwin (Neil Pionk), power play, empty net, 19:31. Penalties: Cockerill, DM, tripping, 6:55; Karty, DM, slashing, 17:57.
Score by periods:
Des Moines 2 1 0 -- 3
Sioux City 2 2 2 -- 6
Shots on goal:
Des Moines 10 8 10 -- 28
Sioux City 8 19 10 -- 37
Power play: Des Moines 2 for 6, Sioux City 3 for 4.
Goaltenders: Nick Ellis, Des Moines, 28 shots, 23 saves, 40:36; Billy Christopoulos, Des Moines, 8 shots, 8 saves, 19:24; Joe Ballmer, Sioux City 28 shots, 25 saves.
Referee: Steven Reneau, Lucas Martin. Linesmen: Justin Hedlund, Ryan Madsen.