by Lucas Treat (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sioux City, Iowa - These Musketeers aren't what they used to be.
"We've had plenty of guys in and out of these doors. You get used to it after a while." Forward Conor McGlynn said.
By late December, Head Coach Brett Larson noticed his team wasn't what he had envisioned.
"The fact of the matter is we weren't scoring like we needed to and we losing a lot of one goal games. So we decided a lot of the guys we knew wouldn't be back in the league next year – guys going to college – get value for them, and get guys back next year." Larson said.
Team captain David Goodwin – gone. Bruising defensemen Michael Holland – gone.
Reliable goaltender Joey Ballmer – adios.
"A lot of teams are losing a lot of guys, and we're the youngest team, so we're just trying to do good these last couple months of the season and prepare for next year." Defensemen Blake Heinrich said.
Through 40 games the Muskies have lost 22 games this season, and of those 22 losses, 18 have been by one goal.
"Losing all those one goal games can be tough on a team. We're just trying to get better and do good these last couple months of the season." Heinrich said.
"You just have to stay mentally tough. I know a lot of the guys try to bring each other up in the locker room and every team you're on you are brothers. You have to be tight. You have to be there for the other guy next to you." Goalie Kyle Hayton said.
The goal is to cash in this season's hardships for next season's rewards.
"Everyday we just come here and you have to keep a positive attitude. I think that's the main thing – just come to the rink positive and keep working hard and hopefully it'll pay off next year." Defensemen Michael Kapla said.
"We're trying to be a contender for next year. Obviously our expectations are to win the Clark Cup. If we can get this group of guys meshing together then I think it'll be perfect." Hayton said.