SIOUX CITY | Dan Molenaar says the gorilla is off the backs of the Sioux City Musketeers.
Molenaar took advantage of a David Goodwin assist, scoring 1 minute, 19 seconds into overtime, to give the Musketeers their first win of the season, 3-2 during a United States Hockey League game contested in front of 2,006 fans at the Tyson Events Center on Saturday night.
It was the second point of the game for Goodwin, the squad’s captain. Goodwin’s unassisted goal with 2:34 in regulation tied the game and after teammate Jared Thomas missed a penalty shot about a minute later that could have won the game, Sioux City (1-2-2) was headed into overtime for the third time this season.
“I think Indiana got caught puck watching because they were tired,” said Molenaar, a 5-foot-11, 186-pound defenseman and University of Minnesota-Duluth recruit from Eden Prairie, Minn.
“I saw a hole and I jumped up on the play. Goody waited until the last second to get me the puck. I knew that when I got the puck, the goalie was going to be out, so I tried to wait a little bit and go to the back end. It paid off."
Goodwin's effort was key.
“He’s wearing the ‘C’ for a reason. He’s one heck of a guy. Everyone respects him in the locker room," Molenaar said. "He brings his game when we need it. He got the goal at the end to tie it and bring it to OT. He gets the puck and he waits until the last second, which sucks everybody out of the play. It was a perfect pass and it was a heck of a way to win.”
It was the first career game-winning goal for Molenaar, who a year ago at this time, was playing for the Green Bay Gamblers along with Goodwin and Andy Ryan before they were traded to Sioux City in early November for All-USHL defenseman Jordan Schmaltz.
Goodwin, Sioux City’s leader with five points (2 goals, 3 assists), picked up his 25th assist in 52 games for Coach Brett Larson’s club. Overall, the 5-9, 170-pound center, a Penn State recruit, has 48 assists in his three-year USHL career.
“We challenged the veterans this morning in our meeting,” Larson said. “I told them, ‘Vets, if it’s going to turn this thing around, it has got to happen from you guys. You guys have to step up and be the leaders. David Goodwin and Dan Molenaar go out and make a great play. I couldn’t ask any more from our vets.
“(Molenaar) saw an opportunity to jump up on the play. I’m always a big believer that in overtime, you’re playing to win. Let’s go for it. There’s no sense in sitting back and trying to get to the shootout. Danny saw an opportunity to jump up to the net and Goody made a great play to him to spring it to him, then Danny made a great move and scored.”
Rookie Conor Andrle gave Sioux City a 1-0 lead for the fourth consecutive game with a second-period goal past Indiana goaltender Dalton Izyk. Musketeer rookie netminder Joe Ballmer (1-0-1, 1.90 goals-against average) had stopped his first 21 shots before Indiana’s Matthew Krug and Joe Fiala scored back-to-back goals a minute apart midway through the final period.
Ballmer was perfect in 28 save opportunities in the first two periods of his first two career USHL games, both in the friendly confines of the Tyson. His teammates had opportunities to extend their 1-0 lead on shots by Thomas, Jordan Boucher-Gould and Tanner Pond.
Pond’s shot hit the post and nearly went past Izyk. Sioux City, which had a 41-17 shots-on-goal advantage in Friday night’s 6-3 loss at Fargo, threw up 44 shots against Indiana.
“(The win) is huge,” Larson said. “I know there’s 59 games left, but it felt like a must win, it really did. I can’t tell you how important that win was for this group and not because we’ve lost games this year, but it’s how we lost. The heartbreaking losses we have had, it’s been tough. I really felt the pressure coming to the rink today. The guys responded, big time.”
“Any way you put it, losing four in a row is tough, especially with a lot of young guys on the team,” Molenaar said. “To be able to get that win is a huge confidence booster for us.”
The Musketeers will continue their homestand Friday against Youngstown. A night later, Des Moines will visit the Tyson Events Center.
Sioux City 3, Indiana 2
First period: No scoring. Penalties: Kolquist, SC, hooking, 14:49; Krug, I, tripping, 15:18; Pieper, I, slashing,18:18; Hudson, I roughing, 19:07.
Second period: 1, Sioux City – Conor Andrle (Jared Kolquist, Jared Thomas), 10:16. Penalties: Heinrich, SC, roughing, 1:12; LaCroix, SC, fighting, 8:20; Smith, I, fighting, 8:20.
Third period: 2, Indiana – Matthew Krug (Brian Morgan, Austin Hervey), 12:38. 3, Indiana – Joe Fiala (unassisted), 13:34. 4, Sioux City – David Goodwin (unassisted), 17:26. Penalties: Hervey, I, slashing, 14:10.
Overtime: 5, Sioux City – Dan Molenaar (Goodwin), 1:19.
Score by periods:
Indiana 0 0 2 0 -- 2
Sioux City 0 1 1 1 -- 3
Shots on goal:
Indiana 10 7 7 1 -- 25
Sioux City 13 12 18 1 -- 44
Power play: Indiana 0 for 2, Sioux City 0 for 4.
Goaltenders: Dalton Izyk, Indiana, 44 shots, 41 saves; Joe Ballmer, Sioux City 25 shots, 23 saves.
Referee: Curtis Marouelli. Linesmen: Matt Tyree, Patrick Turcotte.