The Musketeers load their bus Thursday for the trip to Waterloo, Iowa.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
The Sioux City Musketeers have waited nine years to get into the second round of the USHL playoffs. The wait is almost over. The Muskies will play game one of the Western Conference finals in Waterloo on Friday night.
The team loaded up the bus Thursday afternoon at the Tyson Events Center. Third-seeded Sioux City beat Omaha in round one, three games to one. The top-seeded Blackhawks flexed their muscle, sweeping Sioux Falls by a combined score of 20 to 9.
The two teams split their six games in the regular season -- with two games decided by a shootout.
"We've done fairly well against them during the year," said forward Jared Thomas. "It just gives us the confidence that we can beat them and we know we can. We're not going to be afraid of them even though they were the best team in the league record-wise."
"I think we just have to go in an be physical and play our game. We can't let them play their game against us," said Brandon Hawkins. "We're going into their barn. We just have to force them to play in a way they don't want to."
Playing at home could be a big factor in the five game series. Waterloo led the USHL with 23 home wins at Young Arena. Sioux City tied for second with 21 wins on home ice. The Musketeers won twice -- at Omaha -- in round one, so they won't be intimidated.
"I think our team has confidence on the road," said Musketeer head coach Jay Varady. "The only difference is, going into Waterloo, they have an Olympic size sheet. It is a little different game plan because you're playing on that ice sheet but we're prepared for that. We know they're one of the best teams in the league. They won the Anderson Cup, the regular season championship. We're aware of that. Our season series is 3 and 3, but this is the playoffs. It's a new season."
This is the first time since 1996 that the Muskies have played Waterloo in the playoffs. Game 1 is at 7:05 on Friday. Game 2 is Saturday night.
The Sports Fource crew will be in Waterloo for both games this weekend.