SIOUX CITY - Welcome to the Sioux City Musketeers, Conor McGlynn.
The 6-foot-2, 193-pound rookie from Hingham, Mass., snapped a scoreless tie with his first career USHL goal 1:30 into the third period, sparking the Musketeers' fourth-quarter surge in a 3-0 victory over stud goalie Zane Gothberg and the Fargo Force.
"He's one of the best goaltenders in the country, that's what the guys were saying," said McGlynn, referring to Gothberg. "I didn't know anything about him. It's an honor to get my first goal against one of the best goalies in the league."
Sioux City's own netminder is no slouch, either.
Matt Skoff picked up his sixth shutout of the season, Tim O'Brien netted a pair of goals and the Musketeers (26-28-1) closed in on a second straight USHL playoff berth with their fourth straight victory.
One more win and they're in -- thanks in large part to McGlynn.
He was the Musketeers' fourth-round choice in last April's United States Hockey League Futures Draft. He's the latest scoring weapon for a red-hot squad heading into this afternoon's 5:05 home game at the Tyson Events Center against Des Moines.
After playing Minor Midgets hockey in Canada last season, McGlynn jumped up to Junior A. The Boston College recruit had scored 20 points (11 goals, 9 assists) in 43 games this season with the Oakville Blades of the Ontario Junior Hockey League.
"We wanted to give him a few games to get him acclimated to our league," said Sioux City Coach Brett Larson said of McGlynn. "He has a good compete level, he has size and he has puck skills. Obviously, he's making a good impact right away."
A 16-year old, McGlynn's first career USHL goal came against a netminder who had entered the game having blanked three of his last four opponents. Gothberg, a Boston Bruins draft pick and a North Dakota recruit, leads the USHL with seven shutouts and ranks second with a 2.25 goals-against average.
It took more than two periods for the Musketeers to figure him out, until McGlynn finally broke through on a putback.
"We were working the puck real good," McGlynn said. "The rebound was there and I took a whack at it. It went between the pipes and it slid right in."
Skoff (23-21-1), who blanked Fargo for the second time this season, has recorded shutouts in three of his last six games. However, the Penn State recruit nearly didn't collect his 14th career shutout.
Skoff let one by with 29.7 seconds remaining in the first period, but officials ruled that Chyzyk, who exchanged fists with Dan Molenaar in the third period, kicked the puck into the net.
Fargo (30-21-5), a potential first-round USHL playoff opponent for Sioux City (26-28-1), outshot the Musketeers 13-6 in the third period. Skoff, who made a whopping 17 third-period saves in Friday night's 4-1 win at Des Moines, credited his teammates for their assistance in this one.
"We have a great ‘D' corps," he said. "They block shots every night for me, they lay their body on the line. It's all heart. That's what they're about. It's a great time to have heart at the end of the year."
Defense is among the keys to a turnaround for a Sioux City squad that has allowed just 54 goals while going 14-7-1 in their last 22 games. The Muskeis received a huge boost when defensemen Alexander Kuqali and Michael Holland arrived in trades from Indiana and Cedar Rapids, respectively -- adding to a defense that had already received Molenaar and Andy Ryan from Green Bay.
"I don't want to take any credit away from Matt Skoff, he played great," said Larson. "But you know what, he'll be the first to admit that those are team shutouts."
Sioux City 3, Fargo 0
First period: No scoring. Penalties: Brodzinski, F, hooking, 6:30; Gaudreault, SC, interference, 7:44.
Second period: No scoring. Penalties: Patterson, SC, cross checking, 4:35; Racobaldo, F, roughing, 6:12; Ferguson, SC, roughing, 6:12; Hargrove, F, unsportsmanlike conduct, 6:12; Cooper, F, tripping, 11:39; .
Third period: 1, Sioux City - Conor McGlynn (Dan Molenaar), 1:39. 2, Sioux City - Tim O'Brien (Maxim Gaudrealt), 11:57. 3, Sioux City - O'Brien (Kyle Criscuolo), empty net, 18:43. Penalties: Molenaar, SC, fighting major, 8:09; Molenaar, SC, fighting (stoppage) game misconduct, 8:09; Nelson, SC, delay of game, 8:09; Chyzyk, F, fighting major, 8:09; Chyzyk, F, fighting (stoppage) game misconduct, 8:09; Hargrove, F, delay of game, 8:09; Cooper, F, cross checking, 8:59.
Score by periods:
Fargo 0 0 0 -- 0
Sioux City 0 0 3 -- 3
Shots on goal:
Fargo 9 6 13 -- 28
Sioux City 7 8 6 -- 21
Power play: Fargo 0 for 2, Sioux City 0 for 4.
Goaltenders: Zane Gothberg, Fargo, 21 shots, 18 saves; Matt Skoff, Sioux City, 28 shots, 28 saves.
Referee: Brady Johnson. Linesmen: Ryan Daisy, Michael Phillippi.