WATERLOO, Iowa | Tempers flared frequently Saturday night between two teams who couldn’t avoid visiting the penalty box.
The difference? Waterloo’s power play is back on track.
Sioux City’s penalty kill had been perfect in 21 chances going into Saturday night’s fourth game of what continues to be a tense and feisty Western Conference Final series. Waterloo converted man-advantage goals in the first and second periods en route to a 3-1 victory in front of 1,859 fans at Young Arena.
Alex Limoges, a key performer from last year’s Tri-City team that won the Clark Cup championship, assisted on both power play goals. Ethan Spaxman scored in the first period and Jackson Cates scored with 34 seconds remaining until the second intermission for a Waterloo team that evened the series at two games each.
Whistled a whopping 12 times, Coach Jay Varady’s Musketeers will hope for more disciplined play when they host Game 5 Tuesday night at the Tyson Events Center. At stake for the Anderson Cup champions, as well as the Black Hawks (10 penalties), is a berth in the Clark Cup Finals, which will start later in the week at a site yet to be determined.
The Chicago Steel await the Sioux City/Waterloo winner. Eduards Tralmaks scored two goals Saturday night as the Steel closed the Eastern Conference Finals with a 7-4 win over Dubuque in Game 4 at the Fighting Saints’ Mystique Ice Center.
Late scoring was another another factor in favor of Waterloo, which during the regular season didn’t lose consecutive home games on the only Olympic-sized ice sheet arena in the United States Hockey League.
Sioux City had evened the game 1-1 on Kristian Pospisil’s third power-play goal of the Clark Cup Playoffs with 6:41 left in the first period. However, Waterloo snapped the tie on a rare mistake from the USHL’s player and goaltender of the year, Matiss Kivlenieks.
Kivlenieks was unable to react on Bailey Conger’s wraparound goal with 33 seconds left in the opening period. Kivlenieks was protecting the left side of the post when Conger scored his third postseason goal.
Sioux City, which has scored a power-play goal in each of its seven postseason games, had chances to pull within a goal when Waterloo’s Kevin Charyszyn was whistled for interference with 11:48 left in the game.
Knies, who along with Jacob Wilson assisted on Pospisil’s man-advantage goal, missed two shots on the ensuing power play that could have pulled the Musketeers within a goal. Pospisil and Odeen Tufto were also unable to convert for a team that pulled Kivlenieks with 2:35 left in favor of an extra attacker.