SIOUX CITY | Considering all the goals Saturday night’s contestants at the Tyson Events Center scored the night before, fans were perhaps expecting an offensive shootout.
Instead, it was a shootout of the other kind. Luke Voltin flipped a puck past the outstretched reach of goaltender Joe Ballmer, giving the Des Moines Buccaneers a 2-1 shootout victory during United States Hockey League action.
A 10-1 winner over Team USA the night before at Buccaneer Arena, Des Moines (4-3-1) picked up its fourth-consecutive victory. The Bucs, who are now 2-0 in shootouts this young season, have scored 20 goals in that span.
Sioux City (2-2-3), the USHL’s leader in overtime losses, was coming off Friday’s 5-1 win over Youngstown. Coach Brett Larson’s Musketeers, now 0-2 in shootouts, launched a combined 27 shots from the second period until overtime, but had only a second-period David Henry power-play goal to show for it.
“We played according to our game plan in the second and third periods, but we didn’t have any jump, any energy in the first period,” said Larson. “This league is too tight. Teams are too good. If you give a team a period, they’re going to take advantage of it. Des Moines did and got a one-goal lead.
“Obviously, we battled back. The guys fought for each other, the guys hit and played hard, no question about that. The guys have to learn if you don’t play a full 60 (minutes) in this league, you’re not going to beat anybody.”
Ballmer (2-0-2) improved his goals-against average to a solid 1.43, which ranks fifth among the league’s goaltenders. Ryan Galt, one of three Bucs to score two goals in Friday night’s victory, snapped Ballmer’s string of 30 consecutive first-period saves with 2:08 remaining before the first intermission.
Henry’s game-tying goal, 1:50 into the second period, was his second goal in as many games. Sioux City had a 15-4 shots-on-goal advantage in the middle stanza, including narrowly-missed shots against Des Moines goalie Nick Ellis by Tanner Pond and Conor Andrle.
Fights involving Conor McGlynn and the Bucs’ Tyler Dorantes in the second period didn’t spark a goal for either team. The same can be said in the third period when the Musketeers’ Cedric LaCroix and Joseph Gambardella exchanged fists.
Henry missed a chance for his second goal with 3:08 left in regulation and the 6-foot-3, 216-pound Ballmer stuck his mitt out to stop Trent Samuels-Thomas’ scoring attempt 23 seconds later. Then, as Sioux City went into overtime for the fourth time this season, Jared Thomas curled up a good-looking shot that Ellis (3-0-1) gloved.
Ellis entered the shootout with 26 straight stops. Ballmer, who has played each of his three games in front of Sioux City’s fans, had 18 consecutive saves after Galt’s goal, yet suffered his second shootout loss.
“Both goaltenders played really strong,” said Larson. “Joe Ballmer has been a rock back there. He gave us a chance to win. Unfortunately, we didn’t bury our chances. Give their goalie credit too, he played very well.
“You know what, you can’t get comfortable after a big win. You have to come back harder. That’s a big-time lesson we have to learn.”
The Musketeers will play at Sioux Falls (5-3) Friday night. A night later, Chicago (5-2-1) invades the Tyson Events Center for the Musketeers’ annual Pink In The Rink game.
Des Moines 2, Sioux City 1
First period: 1, Des Moines – Ryan Galt (Danny Elser), 17:52. Penalties: Martinsson, DM, hooking, 13:06; Brown, SC, too many men on ice,14:26; Holland, SC, fighting major, 19:49; Adams, DM, fighting major, 19:49; Thomas, SC, roughing double minor, 20:00; Saar, DM, roughing, 20:00; Dorantes, DM, roughing double minor, 20:00.
Second period: 2, Sioux City – David Henry (Jake Guentzel, Jared Kolquist), power play, 1:50. Penalties: Nong-Lombert, DM, interference, 9:33; McGlynn, SC, head contact,12:36; McGlynn, SC, fighting major,12:36; Dorantes, DM, unsportsmanlike conduct, 12:36; Dorantes, DM, fighting major, 12:36; Heinrich, SC, roughing, 14:40; Boucher-Gould, SC, delay of game, 14:40; Elser, DM, delay of game, 14:40.
Third period: No scoring. Penalties: Gambardella, DM, holding, :24; LaCroix, SC, fighting major, 7:41; Samuels-Thomas, DM, fighting major, 7:41; Watson, SC, slashing, 11:08.
Overtime: No scoring. Penalties: None.
Shootout: Danny Elser, Des Moines, No. Cam Brown, Sioux City, No. Luke Voltin, Des Moines, Yes. Jake Guentzel, Sioux City, No. Tanner Karty, Des Moines, No. Jared Thomas, Sioux City, No.
Score by periods:
Des Moines 1 0 0 0 1 -- 2
Sioux City 0 1 0 0 0 -- 1
Shots on goal:
Des Moines 13 4 10 1 1 -- 29
Sioux City 11 15 8 4 0 -- 38
Power play: Des Moines 0 for 3, Sioux City 1 for 4.
Goaltenders: Nick Ellis, Des Moines, 38 shots, 37 saves; Joe Ballmer, Sioux City, 28 shots, 27 saves.
Referee: Sean MacFarlane. Linesmen: Brian McAvoy, Rick Lembo.