On Saturday night, Sioux City ended its regular season with a bang. The Musketeers took down Fargo for the second consecutive game, this time by a 4-1 score, to earn their 31st victory of the season.
Friday might have been the most important win of the weekend for Sioux City, as the Musketeers’ 5-2 victory over the Force clinched their spot in the USHL playoffs, but the team still had plenty to fight for on Saturday.
The Musketeers went into the regular season finale tied with Omaha for third place in the USHL West. After defeating Fargo and watching Omaha beat Tri-City, 4-0, Sioux City clinched third place in the division, as the Lancers won the head to head tiebreaker over the Musketeers.
With their third place finish, Sioux City will play at Omaha next week in the best-of-three Western Conference semifinals.
"They're obviously a talented team," Musketeers head coach Luke Strand said of Omaha. "They play hard, and they play the right way. Their goaltender is outstanding, and we've got our work cut out for us."
In the first period on Saturday, Fargo forward Austin Wong scored at the 8:22 mark put the Force up by a goal. Fargo had 14 shots on goal in the first frame, compared to seven for Sioux City.
But after going into the second with a one-goal deficit, Sioux City’s offense broke out, and took the lead for good.
Sioux City scored three goals in the second period, the first one coming at the 18:46 mark from forward Justin Hryckowian, with an assist from Chase Bradley, to tie the game at 1-1.
Eight minutes later, forward Carter Loney scored the first of his two goals with 10:31 remaining in the frame. Less than two minutes later, Loney scored again to give the Musketeers a 3-1 lead.
Sioux City scored its final goal with 1:53 left in the game, as forward Brian Carrabes hit one into the empty net, to put the Musketeers up by the winning score of 4-1.
Sioux City finished its 10-game season series against Fargo with a 7-3 record.
"They're a talented team, and they played the right way," Strand said. "I'm just proud of our guys for staying with it the right way."
Fargo finished the night with 35 shots on goal, while Sioux City had 24.
Musketeers' goalie Akira Schmid put up 34 saves in the game.
Sioux City and Omaha will play game one of the Western Conference semifinals on May 1 in Omaha, at 6:05 p.m.