The Sioux City Musketeers (20-26-1) dropped their third straight game as they were shutout 2-0 by the Sioux Falls Stampede (14-27-4) before 2,608 fans at Tyson Events Center.
Goaltender Jay Williams (12-8-4) made 30 saves for his second shutout of the season and first win as a member of the Stampede.
Forward Zach McCarver's first period goal stood up as the game winner while Todd Skirving also tallied for last place Sioux Falls who broke a five game losing streak and won for just the second time since January 18th.
Sioux City fell to 4-2-0 in the season series against the Stampede and lost three straight games for the first time since mid-January.
Goaltender Matt Skoff (17-19-1) was solid in net and made 19 saves but fell for the second straight outing.
The Musketeers were shutout for the third time this season and first time since falling 5-0 to the Fargo Force on January 6th.
Thanks to the Omaha Lancers 6-1 win over the Tri-City Storm the Musketeers still own a one point lead over the Storm for the 6th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 13 games remaning.
The Musketeers played a strong game and generated many scoring chances but ran into a hot netminder in Williams who was bloodied by Skoff in a goalie fight the last time the team's met on February 18th at Sioux Falls Arena.
The Miami-Ohio commmit had the last laugh this time as he joined Pheonix Copley and Zane Gothberg as goaltenders who have shutout the Musketeers this season.
He we was especially brilliant during the five Musketeer power plays as he helped bail out the USHL's worst penalty killing unit with a flurry of terrific saves.
Sioux City, looking to rebound from back to back losses to Des Moines, gave up the first goal for the fourth straight game when center Zach McCarver broke the ice at 17:03 of the opening period.
Defenseman Joseph Lordo jumped into the play and let a hard shot go from right wing and McCarver drove hard to the net and knocked in the rebound for his second goal of the season.
The first gave way to a scoreless second period where Williams was sharp with the Musketeers outshooting the Stampede 10-4 in the middle frame.
Up 1-0 heading into the third period, the Stampede didn't take long to extend the lead.
Shortly after the Musketeers killed off a penalty, Sioux Falls hemmed the Musketeers in their own zone and McCarver beautifully set up Todd Skirving who found himself open just inside the right circle.
Skirving then buried a high shot past Skoff at 2:07 for his 12th of the season to push the lead to 2-0.
The Musketeers would have all three power plays in the third period but were unable to get one past Williams who was spectacular in denying David Henry and Brett Patterson on back to back Musketeer man-advantages mid-way through the period.
Williams would make one final stop on a re-directed point shot with Skoff pulled for an extra attacker to preserve the shutout and Sioux Falls claimed its first win since February 15th and just its 5th road victory of the season.
The Musketeers fell to 1-17-0 when scoring two goals or fewer.
Sioux City will look to get back on track on Saturday night when the Musketeers host the Muskegon Lumberjacks at Tyson Events Center at 7:00 PM.
SF: 1 - 0 - 1 - 2
SC: 0 - 0 - 0 - 0
SF: McCarver 2 (Lordo) 17:03
SF: Skirving 12 (McCarver)
SF: 12 - 4 - 5 - 21
SC: 11 - 10 - 9 - 30
SF: Williams (win) 30 Saves (30 Shots)
SC: Skoff (loss) 19 Saves (21 Shots)
SF: 0 for 2
SC: 0 for 5