Madison outlasts Sioux City in first game of Clark Cup Final
The Madison Capitols held on for a 3-2 win despite a late rally from Sioux City to win the first game in the best-of-five USHL championship series.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa — The Madison Capitols never trailed in the first game of the Clark Cup Final, holding off a late charge by Sioux City to defeat the Musketeers, 3-2, on the road and take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five USHL championship series.
The Capitols, who came into the playoffs as the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and upset No. 3 Muskegon in Game 5 of the Conference Final, got on the board in the first period on a great breakout pass from D.J. Hart (Stamford, Conn. / Ohio State) to teammate Quinn Finley (Suamico, Wis. / Wisconsin), who put it in the back of the net for his fourth goal of the 2022 playoffs.
Madison increased its lead later in the first when a shot from Reid Pabich (Verona, Wis. / Maine) deflected off of Tyler Haskins' (Rochester, Minn. / Michigan) stick and over the shoulder of Sioux City goaltender Alex Tracy (Chicago, Ill. / Minnesota State) to make it 2-0.
"We just stuck to our game plan, if we compete we're the best team in this league," Haskins said. "We're the closest team I think in this league ... it's just a family."
Sioux City got on the board early in the second period when Dylan James (Calgary, Alberta / North Dakota) tipped a shot from Dylan Gratton (Pottstown, Pennsylvania / Penn State) past Madison goaltender Simon Latcozky (Trencin, Slovakia / Nebraska Omaha) to halve the visitors' lead.
Luke Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie, MN / Minnesota) added to Madison's total on the power play at 7:43 of the middle frame to push the lead back to two goals on a shot from the left circle.
"I think our special teams were really good tonight," Mittelstadt said.
Madison Head Coach Tom Upton praised the penalty kill after the game and said that it was big for the team to get a power play goal after a few games of that unit being a little "stagnant."
Sioux City came out of the locker room ready to rally in the third, scoring just before the halfway mark of the final frame to get back within a goal. Sam Deckhut (San Diego / St. Lawrence) tried multiple stuff attempts on Latcozky before the puck finally crossed the line.
Latkoczy came up big for Madison throughout the game, stopping 32 of 34 shots he faced to earn his eighth win of the postseason. The Slovakian is looking to win back-to-back Clark Cups after going 7-1-0 in eight playoff appearances last season with the Chicago Steel.
Things got scrappy in the final minutes — and both sides took penalties — but Madison was able to lock down defensively to secure the 3-2 road win to start the series.
The two teams will meet for Game 2 on Monday, May 16, with puck drop at 7:05pm in Sioux City.
"There's no time to lick your wounds, you've got to get back to it," Sioux City Head Coach Luke Strand said.