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MUSKETEERS WEEKEND OUTLOOK

FRIDAY NIGHT

WHO: Tri-City (29-20-4) at Sioux City (22-23-7)

WHERE/WHEN: Tyson Events Center, 7:05 p.m.

RADIO: KMNS, 620 AM

SATURDAY NIGHT

WHO: Des Moines (*19-27-7) at Sioux City (*22-23-7)

WHERE/WHEN: Tyson Events Center, 7:05 p.m.

RADIO: KMNS, 620 AM

MUSKETEERS NOTES

Needless to say, tonight’s game against Tri-City is crucial for Coach Luke Strand’s Musketeers, which are below .500 for the first time since Jan. 12, when they were 11-12-5 after a 9-2 loss to Team USA ... From there, the Musketeers went 4-1-1 over their next six games to stay in sixth place and in playoff contention, but they now have 51 points and trail sixth-place Lincoln by 11 points ... Sioux City is 1-1-3 against Tri-City this season, with two shootout losses and an overtime defeat ... Sampo Ranta (19 goals, 11 assists) has three goals and two assists against Tri-City, which includes two goals in a 3-2 overtime loss on Oct. 28 at the Tyson Events Center ... Ranta had the shootout goal that gave Sioux City a 3-2 win over Tri-City on March 4, a game that featured a third-period goal from Bauer Neudecker (4, 18) that tied the game ... Defenseman Nate Knoepke (11 assists) picked up his third assist in the series against Tri-City when both he and a former Tri-City blue-liner, Nate Clurman (1, 12) assisted on Neudecker’s goal ... Clurman had three assists in 23 games for Tri-City before he was traded to Des Moines, where he had a goal and two assists in 15 games ... Ryan Leibold (6, 4), the lone Musketeer to score in Friday’s 3-1 loss to Fargo, has two goals and an assist in the series against Tri-City while Micah Miller (20, 9) has three goals and an assist ... Sioux City slipped to 0-2-1 against Western Conference cellar-dweller Des Moines with last Friday’s 3-2 shootout loss at Buccaneer Arena, where goals from Cole Koepke (24, 9) and Dylan Mills (14, 5) rallied to tie game in the first and third periods, respectively ... Micah Miller scored two goals in the 9-3 loss at Des Moines on Dec. 8.

TRI-CITY NOTES

Filip Larsson (18-10) continues to lead USHL goaltenders with a 1.77 goals-against average and seven shutouts, but hasn’t played since starting the first six minutes and 46 seconds of a 4-2 win at Des Moines on Feb. 24 ... Connor Hopkins (1-2-1, 5.19 GAA) played between the pipes in a 3-2 shootout loss at the Tyson Events Center on March 4 while Jake Barczewski (10-8-3, 2.41 GAA) has been 2-3-1 in Larsson’s absence, recording 15 saves in last Friday’s 2-1 win over Sioux Falls ... Former Musketeer Connor McMenamin (7 goals, 20 assists) has two goals and three assists against his old teammates ... Filip Forsmark (9, 12) scored two goals in Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Sioux Falls ... Bryan Yoon (3, 30) ranks fifth among USHL defensemen with 33 points ... Tyler Madden (15, 19) ranks fourth in rookie scoring with 34 points, which include nine goals and 11 assists in 31 games since arriving in a trade from Central Illinois.

DES MOINES NOTES

Among Des Moines’ keys in its 3-0 record against the Musketeers is a 6-2 first-period scoring advantage ... Scoring leader Nicolas Werbik (24 goals, 17 assists) and Brian Halonen (15, 18) each scored goals for a 2-1 lead after the first period in last Friday’s 3-2 shootout win over Sioux City at Buccaneer Arena ... Werbik has provided five goals and three assists while scoring in seven of his last nine games, including a goal and an assist in Sunday’s 4-2 loss to Green Bay ... Julian Napravnik (19, 18) has matched his goal total from last season and enters action at the Tyson Events Center riding a three-game scoring streak ... Defenseman Marshall Rifai (4, 18), who recorded the shootout goal that was the game-winner against Sioux City, has three goals and 13 assists in 34 games since being traded from Omaha ... Roman Durny (8-9-4, 2 shutouts) is fifth among the league goaltenders with a 2.24 GAA.

-- Jerry Giese

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