SIOUX CITY, Iowa — A 1-1 tie through the midway point of the third period would not hold. Finnish phenom Eeli Tolvanen powered a slap shot by Jaxon Castor in a 4-1 loss for the Dubuque Fighting Saints to the hands of the Sioux City Musketeers on Saturday night at the Tyson Events Center.
Tolvanen, an A-ranked skater via NHL Central Scouting’s latest rankings, cranked a shot following a defensive zone turnover by the Saints from the top of the right circle. The blast eluded Castor and put Sioux City up 2-1 down the stretch of the third period.
The Musketeers pressed hard throughout the game and limited the Fighting Saints to just a few shots in the closing minutes. Sioux City also added two late empty-net goals to seal the game up.
The battle between two of the most prolific shot-limiting defenses lived up to the billing. It was largely a defensive struggle both ways.
The fourth consecutive game with a deficit would not hold, either. Fellow Finn Aapeli Rasanen started the scoring for the Musketeers late in the first period. Tolvanen’s initial shot was stopped by Castor, but the rebound found Rasanen at the side of the net, and he bashed the puck home. That goal put the home team up by one, and that lead would hold for a while, but not forever.
Zach Solow scored in back-to-back games for the Saints, this time on the power play. It also marked the second consecutive game in which the Fighting Saints converted on the man advantage. From what is becoming his office, Solow worked down the right wing boards and snapped a shot over Musketeer netminder Matiss Kievlenieks to tie the game.
Both Castor and Kievlenieks kept the game close with dueling ten-bell saves in the third period. Castor denied Micah Miller on a shorthanded breakaway, and stopped the top line of Rasanen, Tolvanen and Kristian Pospisil with a diving paddle stop, to keep it 2-1 at that point.
The Fighting Saints get back to work next weekend in the eastern-most outpost of the USHL, Youngstown, to take on the Phantoms for a weekend set. Join the action on both October 21 and 22 on the home of the Saints, Dubuque’s Super Hits 106.1 FM, or on the USHL’s streaming video provider, HockeyTV.