SIOUX CITY — A day after getting a key win on Military Night, the Sioux City Musketeers were unable to capitalize on an attempt to build a three-game winning streak.
After holding Youngstown to only 20 shots on Saturday, Sioux City allowed four goals on 32 shots in a 4-1 loss to the same Phantoms team on Sunday at the Tyson Events Center.
The loss dropped Sioux City back to .500 at 6-6. Youngstown improves to 7-5-2.
“Saturday I thought was played a great game with what we did and today, they had the start that they had and we chased it a bit,” Sioux City coach Luke Strand said. “At the same time, you gotta answer the bell on back-to-backs. We haven’t figured out that formula yet.”
While Sioux City was coming off back-to-back wins, the first of the two was last Saturday at Green Bay before this Saturday’s victory. It’s early in the season but the Musketeers have yet to win on back-to-back days yet.
The Musketeers need to figure out that formula considering most of the schedule consists of games on back-to-back days. Next weekend Sioux City plays three straight home games.
“We have to string some things together and dial some parts in and I think from a day-to-day perspective, what you did the day before is great,” Strand said. “But what you learn from that day is even more important in what you provide to the following (day) is the key to winning. As a group, we have to figure that out.”
A night after Sioux City scored in the first minute of the game, Youngstown did the same thing on Sunday. The Phantoms got a goal from John Beaton 34 seconds into the game for a 1-0 lead.
It didn’t take Sioux City long to respond. At the 3:54 mark of the first period, Tommy Pasanen passed up to Ray Christy, who was right in front of the net. He was able to easily slip the puck past Youngstown keeper Dominic Basse for the goal to knot it up at 1-1. It was Christy’s first goal of the season and Pasanen’s first assist.
Youngstown broke the tie when Sioux City mishandled the puck and Trevor Kuntar, who had the second-most goals this season coming into the game, got control of it and fired a shot past Sioux City keeper Aidan Harper for a 2-1 lead at the 8:09 mark.
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Right after that goal, Youngstown was on the power play. Garrett Dahm fired a shot and Aidan Harper stopped the puck but Reilly Funk was right there push the puck across the line for a goal and a 3-1 lead.
“When you give a talented team a turnover that they can handle, it’s going to sting you, which it did,” Strand said. “Then they get a power play goal, which is another stinger. At the same time, as a group, we have to figure out there is no puck that is more important. They are all important. We have to get out of the box because we weren’t very timely with our penalties.”
In the third period, Jan Kern scored his first goal of the season to put Youngstown up 4-1 at the 3:41 mark.
On Saturday, Viktor Masilevich got Sioux City on the board early with a goal 56 seconds into the game. Sam Antenucci assisted and it was his first of the season.
The Musketeers added another score in the second period as Joel Maatta got his sixth goal of the season for a 2-0 lead. Josh Nixon and Sam Stange assisted.
Youngstown got its only goal midway through the third period but Sioux City held the Phantoms to only six shots in the third and just 20 in the game for the 2-1 win.
Ethan Haider made 19 saves for Sioux City to pick up his sixth win of the season.
“I thought (Saturday) night we were pretty smothering with what we did. We were very consistent with what we did,” Strand said. “As a group, there were 22 guys on the same page of the book to the last page. (Sunday) we didn’t have that.
“Military Night was great. Great, great support and it’s a monumental game for us and I thought the support was excellent.”
The Musketeers were without Adam Samuelsson and Blake Biondi this weekend and could be without both for the rest of the season. Samuelsson signed a contract with the Sudbury Wolves in the OHL and Biondi went back to high school. The door is open for him to possibly return in the spring.
“They both have decisions to make for their own careers, their own families," Strand said. "We thank them for their time here.”