The Fargo Force outshot the Waterloo Black Hawks in all three periods but couldn’t put anything between the pipes as the Hawks prevailed 2-0 at Scheels Arena on Friday.
The final shot count favored Fargo 36-17. The Force had double-digit shots during each 20-minute segment; Waterloo had no more than six in any frame.
However Evan Fear and Logan Stein turned everything aside. Fear started, but just 16 seconds into the game, a collision in the crease sent Fear to the bench shaken up as the Force went to a power play. Stein took the net to turn away a pair of power play looks. Then Fear was able to continue, and he returned to the ice after the teams returned to even strength.
The shutout was the Hawks’ sixth of the season. All of them have come since New Year’s Eve. Waterloo’s total ties a club record for shutouts in a season. Waterloo has blanked opponents six times during a year in four previous instances, most recently in 2016/17.
Fargo had an 11-5 shots advantage during the first period, but the Black Hawks had the only one that mattered. Vladislav Firstov prevented a clearing attempt, allowing Joe Cassetti to cut from the left boards toward the edge of the crease. At the last moment, Cassetti sent a pass to Emil Ohrvall near the bottom of the opposite circle, and Ohrvall lifted his shot over Ryan Bischel as the Fargo netminder tried to scramble from right to left.
The Force took 11 shots to Waterloo’s five in the second. The count was 14-6 in the third. However, the Hawks edged farther away with 8:52 remaining. Griffin Ness handed off a pass to Patrick Guzzo who came flying through the neutral zone. Guzzo got defenseman Justin Lee turned around and lifted a shot toward the net from the right circle. It hit Lee’s stick, deflecting up and over Bischel’s shoulder.
The Hawks and Force square off for an instant rematch on Saturday night.
Waterloo 1 0 1 - 2
Fargo 0 0 0 - 0
1st Period-1, Waterloo, Öhrvall 25 (Firstov, Cassetti), 15:35. Penalties-Palmer Wat (checking from behind), 0:16; Fiedler Fgo (high sticking), 6:35; Drkulec Wat (roughing dbl minor), 18:46; Lee Fgo (roughing dbl minor), 18:46; Zabransky Fgo (roughing), 19:58.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Marooney Wat (tripping), 6:56; Frisch Fgo (cross checking), 11:16; Szmagaj Wat (cross checking), 17:08.
3rd Period-2, Waterloo, Guzzo 5 (Ness, Palmer), 11:08. Penalties-Sorensen Wat (hooking), 7:50.
Shots on Goal-Waterloo 5-6-6-17. Fargo 11-11-14-36.
Power Play Opportunities-Waterloo 0 / 3; Fargo 0 / 4.
Goalies-Waterloo, Fear 13-10-4-0 (34 shots-34 saves); Stein 15-5-1-0 (2 shots-2 saves). Fargo, Bischel 22-15-2-2 (17 shots-15 saves).
Referees-Kody Helbig, Robert Esposito.
Linesmen-Tony Aronson (67), Elliot Bucholz (43).