ANN ARBOR, Mich. | The Sioux City Musketeers made a valiant effort in their battle from a 4-0 deficit, but fell three goals short Friday night.
Adam Johnson’s second goal of the game gave the Musketeers a 6-alll tie with 8:45 remaining in the third period. Two minutes later, Charles McAvoy scored the first of three unanswered goals and gave Team USA’s 17-Under squad a 9-6 United States Hockey League victory at the Ice Cube.
Sioux City (37-19-3), following its second straight defeat, ended any chance of catching Omaha, the Western Conference’s second-place team. Two weekend wins for the Musketeers and two losses by the Lancers would have given Coach Jay Varady’s squad home ice in the first round of the Clark Cup Playoffs which start next week.
Team USA (29-25-5), a 4-2 loser to the Musketeers on Thanksgiving, is battling with Muskegon, Chicago and Green Bay for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Luke Kirwan scored two goals for the winners, including the squad’s third power-play goal of the game with 3:05 remaining in the final period.
The Musketeers were outplayed in the first period as Team USA scored three goals. Matthew Tkachuck’s power-play goal with 13 seconds remaining before the first intermission ended a four-game stretch where Sioux City’s penalty kill hadn’t allowed a goal.
Team USA became the third squad to score three first-period goals against the Musketeers this season. Sioux City rallied from a 3-1 first-period deficit to beat Omaha 6-5 in overtime on Oct. 25, but Green Bay picked up a 5-2 win on Jan. 10, boosted by a 3-1 first period advantage.
Brock Boeser, Cedric Lacroix and Jared Thomas scored second-period goals that lifted the Musketeers within 4-3. Sioux City trailed 5-3 before Johnson scored the first of his two goals, 67 seconds into the third period. However, Kirwan answered with a goal four minutes later to give Team USA a 6-4 lead.
Bobo Carpenter and Johnson scored goals, 37 seconds apart, as the Musketeers tied it up. Brendan Warren picked up his second assist of the night on McAvoy’s goal for a 7-6 lead and Team USA held on.
The nine goals were the most surrendered by the Musketeers this season.
A Minnesota-Duluth recruit, Johnson also scored two goals in a 6-2 win over Dubuque on Dec. 14. Johnson enters tonight’s regular-season finale at Youngstown having scored in four of his last five games, providing five goals and one assist in that time.
Team USA 9, Sioux City 6
First period: 1, Team USA – Jack Roslovic (Jordan Greenway, Christian Evers), 11:12. 2, Team USA – Colin White (Jeremy Bracco), 11:40. 3, Team USA – Matthew Tkachkuk (Luke Kunin, Evers), power play, 19:47. Penalties: Masonius, USA, hooking, 7:39; Kunin, USA, slashing, 8:48; Lacroix, SC, slashing, 13:57; L’Esperance, SC, hooking, 19:08; Yan, USA, unsportsmanlike conduct, 19:47.
Second period: 4, Team USA – Christian Fischer (Jordan Greenway, Brendan Warren), power play, 3:47. 5, Sioux City – Brock Boeser (Avery Peterson), 8:21. 6, Sioux City – Cedric Lacroix (Sam Saliba, Blake Heinrich), 8:52. 7, Sioux City – Jared Thomas (Peterson, Saliba), 10:59. 8, Team USA – Ryan Wagner (Roslovic), 11:21. Penalties: Durflinger, SC, tripping, 2:26; Johnson, SC, interference, 3:47; Montgomery, SC, high-sticking, 4:28; Masonius, USA, roughing, 4:28; Snively, SC, hooking, 18:48.
Third period: 9, Sioux City – Adam Johnson (Joe Snively, Bobo Carpenter), 1:07. 10, Team USA – Luke Kirwan (Bracco), 5:30. 11, Sioux City – Carpenter (Snively, Bobby Nardella), 10:22. 12, Sioux City – Johnson (unassisted), 11:15. 13, Team USA – Charles McAvoy (Warren), 13:25. 14, Team USA – Kirwan (Bracco), 16:55. 15, Team USA – Warren (unassisted), empty net, 18:48. Penalties: L’Esperance, slashing, 16:22; Tkachuk, USA, roughing, 19:52; Pionk, SC, roughing, 19:52.
Score by periods:
Sioux City 0 3 3 — 6
Team USA 3 2 4 — 9
Shots on goal
Sioux City 6 17 14 — 37
Team USA 12 14 12 — 38
Power play: Sioux City 0 of 3, Team USA 3 of 6.
Goaltenders: Kyle Hayton, Sioux City, 37 shots, 28 saves, 59:16; Blake Weyrick, Team USA, 37 shots, 31 saves.
Referee: Curtis Marouelli. Linesmen: Nick Huff, Kyle Fiebernitz.