Four goals in the final six minutes of regulation Saturday gave the Waterloo Black Hawks a 6-2 win against the Dubuque Fighting Saints at Mystique Ice Center and clinched the second seed for the USHL Western Conference playoffs.
The Hawks finished the regular season tied with the Sioux Falls Stampede, but Waterloo owns the tie-breaker based on regulation plus overtime wins.
Waterloo’s 39th win of the year came on Kyle Haskins’ decisive goal at 14:26 of the third period. The Hawks dug the puck out from behind the net, then Vladislav Firstov slung a pass, left to right from circle to circle, where Haskins was waiting to blast it in.
Joe Cassetti followed with a redirection on Jacob Bengtsson’s shot at 15:58. Not quite a minute later, Vladislav Firstov came up right wing one-on-one, slipped past the defender, dodged a lunging Aaron Randazzo, and pushed the puck into an open goal. Teddy Lagerback added one more during a power play with 1:11 to go, swatting in the rebound of Brock Paul’s shot.
The Hawks had taken the lead twice earlier in the game but couldn’t pull away. James Marooney scored the first goal of the night at 8:03 of the first period. During a waning power play, Marooney’s shot clanked off the post and in. Matias Maccelli tied it at 10:52, benefitting when a shot by Bram Scheerer deflected his way; Maccelli was able to find the net from a sharp angle.
One minute and 20 seconds later, Waterloo retook the lead. Coming up right wing, Dane Montgomery sent a laser beam from the top of the right circle past Randazzo in transition.
The 2-1 score held for a little more than a period until Will Knierim tied it shorthanded at 15:25 of the second.
The Black Hawks await their playoff opponent for a best-of-five USHL Western Conference Semifinal series which will begin next weekend.
The visiting team at Young Arena will be determined by the results of two opening round series. Waterloo may meet the Sioux Falls Stampede, Des Moines Buccaneers, or Fargo Force. The Hawks’ actual opponent will be unknown until at least Wednesday night with a specific schedule of game dates to be announced as soon as possible.
The series could begin on Friday or Saturday. Regardless of the opponent, either Game One or Game Two will be played on Saturday, April 20th. Tickets for that night will go on sale at 11:30 a.m. Monday morning. To order, stop into the Black Hawks front office or call (319) 232-3444.
Waterloo 2 0 4 - 6
Dubuque 1 1 0 - 2
1st Period-1, Waterloo, Marooney 4 8:03 (PP). 2, Dubuque, Maccelli 31 (Fulp, Scheerer), 10:52. 3, Waterloo, Montgomery 4 (Engum, Guzzo), 12:12. Penalties-Robinson Dbq (tripping), 6:15; Schingoethe Wat (charging), 16:43; Lamppa Wat (bench minor-too many men), 19:00; Ness Wat (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 19:32; Knierim Dbq (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 19:32.
2nd Period-4, Dubuque, Knierim 18 (Haar, Lipe), 15:25 (SH). Penalties-Engum Wat (interference), 1:46; Marooney Wat (tripping), 8:15; Fulp Dbq (roughing), 14:01.
3rd Period-5, Waterloo, Haskins 12 (Ness, Firstov), 14:26. 6, Waterloo, Cassetti 20 (Bengtsson, Blümel), 15:58. 7, Waterloo, Firstov 26 16:40. 8, Waterloo, Lagerback 1 (Montgomery), 18:49 (PP). Penalties-Scheerer Dbq (slashing), 17:52; Engum Wat (roughing), 19:58; Lagerback Wat (roughing), 19:58; Contessa Dbq (roughing), 19:58; Scheerer Dbq (major-head contact, game misconduct-head contact), 19:58.
Shots on Goal-Waterloo 16-12-15-43. Dubuque 9-6-5-20.
Power Play Opportunities-Waterloo 2 / 4; Dubuque 0 / 5.
Goalies-Waterloo, Fear 19-11-6-1 (20 shots-18 saves). Dubuque, Randazzo 10-8-0-0 (43 shots-37 saves).
Referees-J.R. Stragar, Riley Yerkovich.
Linesmen-Cameron Dykstra, Kris Delaney.