Buccaneers Behind Copley Grab Key 3-1 Win Over Sioux City
Friday, February 24, 2012 - Submitted by Jordan Berger
The streaking Des Moines Buccaneers (18-21-4) ended the Sioux City Musketeers (20-24-1) two game winning streak by grabbing a 3-1 win at Tyson Events Center in the first game of a home and home weekend series between the teams.
The victory was the Buccaneers third straight and fifth win in their last six games which moved Des Moines to within a single point of Sioux City for 5th place in the Western Conference.
Des Moines built a 3-0 lead on goals from Zach Saar, Gasper Kopitar and Cal Decowski while goaltender Pheonix Copley (14-15-0) continued his mastery of the Musketeers by making 23 saves and winning for the sixth time in seven starts against Sioux City this season.
Copley is 6-1-0 versus Sioux City and 8-14-0 against the rest of the USHL. Copley has fueled Des Moines hot play as the North Pole, AK native is 5-2-0 as a member of the Buccaneers since being acquired in a trade from the Tri-City Storm on February 6th.
Brad Robbins provided the lone offense for the Musketeers by notching his team leading 21st goal of the season in the third period.
Backup goaltender Austin Priebe (3-7-0) making his second straight start in replace of a suspended Matt Skoff, made 24 saves and played solidly between the pipes but took the loss in his first career start against Des Moines.
Skoff will be eligible to return tomorrow night.
Des Moines set the tone for the weekend mini-series with an impressive 60 minute performance.
The Buccaneers gave the Musketeers their first regulation loss on home ice since January 28th while holding Sioux City to fewer than two goals for the first since Fargo shutout the Musketeers 5-0 on January 6th.
The teams played a scoreless first period with both goaltenders holding their ground in a period that produced just 13 combined shots.
The free flowing and mostly penalty free first period gave way to a choppy and mostly forgettable second period for the hometown team.
Des Moines played an excellent middle frame and Buccaneer winger Garrett Allen set the tone for the period when he forced a penalty just 8 seconds off the opening faceoff.
His teammates capitalized on the Musketeer infraction when Zach Saar scored his 10th goal of the season on the ensuing power play at the 42 second mark after he gobbled up an unfortunate deflection off a Musketeer skate and lifted a high shot past Priebe who had no chance on the play.
Saar has four goals in his last 27 USHL games and all four goals have come against Sioux City.
Des Moines increased the lead to 2-0 at 5:53 when leading scorer Anthony Greco beautifully set up the trailing Gasper Kopitar who roofed a wrist shot past Priebe from 15 feet.
It was the second-year veteran Kopitar's 20th goal of the season.
The Buccaneers continued to hem the Musketeers in their own zone for much of the remainder of the second period, forcing Sioux City to take four penalties while outshooting them 13 to 9.
Des Moines carried over their strong play into the early stages of the third period and capitalized on more Sioux City penalty trouble when defenseman Nick Seeler banged home his 4th goal of the season and 3rd power play goal with the Buccaneers on a two man advantage.
The goal put Des Moines up 3-0 at the 1:44 mark of the third period.
The Musketeers finally started to show a little bit of life after Jordan Boucher-Gould drew back to back penalties in the middle stages of the period.
Leading goal scorer Brad Robbins finally broke Copley's shutout bid and cut the lead to 3-1 when he scooped up a fat rebound and banged home his second goal in as many nights on a power play after Nikita Sirotkin drove hard to the front of the net on left wing.
The goal was Robbins' 10th power play goal of the season which tied him for the league lead. Sirotkin and David Goodwin drew assists on the scoring play at 11:06.
But that's as close as the Musketeers would get as Copley made a good pad save on Noah Nelson's deflection attempt late in the third period before making two good saves with Priebe pulled for an extra attacker with under two minutes left in regulation.
Des Moines won its second straight game over Sioux City after losing 15 straight games to the Musketeers dating back to January of 2008.
These same two teams hook up again tomorrow night in Des Moines at Buccaneer Arena with a faceoff set for 7:05 PM.