Joe Cassetti scored twice during his first United States Hockey League game of the season to boost the Waterloo Black Hawks to a 5-3 win against the Des Moines Buccaneers Friday at Buccaneer Arena.
Cassetti started the year at Merrimack College but returned at the semester break for his third season in Waterloo. After 20 goals in 2018/19, his first appearance of the current campaign provided a big lift, including the game-winning goal.
For much of the night, it looked likely to be a low-scoring contest. In the opening period, the Black Hawks capitalized on the second of three power plays. The goal came after Luke Bast’s shot had hit the post, and the puck came back to Bast in the high slot seconds later. Bast connected with Ryder Rolston at the top of the left circle, and his chance from there beat a screened Cameron Rowe at 16:52.
Waterloo outshot Des Moines 19-2 in the first period, but the second was much more balanced as the Bucs enjoyed four power plays and a penalty shot. Gabriel Carriere stopped that Des Moines opportunity by Matt Choupani at 11:09.
Ultimately, the Hawks scored the only goal in the period - again on a late power play - at 18:16. A group effort led to Waterloo digging the puck off the right wing boards and getting it to Bast at the top of the opposite circle. His shot was stopped, but Cassetti put the rebound off the bar and in.
Connor Caponi built the lead by slipping in a low shot on a shorthanded breakaway at 3:35. Patrick Guzzo sprung him, with a pass that originated from the side of the Hawks’ net.
Des Moines cut the margin to one with tallies in the middle of the period, both in transition. Noah Ellis scored at 6:07 while the teams were skating four-on-four. Mason Nevers notched the only Buccaneer power play conversion in nine tries at 11:02.
With the game in the balance at 3-2, Cassetti struck again in transition at 15:40. Griffin Ness pushed the puck Cassetti’s way while moving up left wing. Cassetti started for the corner but turned through the bottom of the left circle, stickhandling to score on a backhander from the top of the crease.
Both teams scored in the last minute. With 55.3 seconds to go in the game, Des Moines’ Connor Senken lifted a fluttering shorthanded chance to the top corner. However, with the net empty, Wyatt Schingoethe worked the puck deep, then found Xander Lamppa standing in front of the open net to seal the win with 18.1 left.
The same two clubs square off on Saturday night at Young Arena beginning at 7:05 p.m. Fans aged 21 and over can enjoy $2 Coors Light during a 25th anniversary celebration of Young Arena’s grand opening. It’s also a College Night, presented by The Other Place Restaurants, with $9 game day tickets for all college students with ID. To order seats, call the Domino’s Black Hawks Box Office at (319) 291-7680.
Waterloo 1 1 3 - 5
Des Moines 0 0 3 - 3
1st Period-1, Waterloo, Rolston 11 (Bast), 16:52 (PP). Penalties-Luedtke Dm (slashing), 9:55; Ness Wat (hooking), 14:05; Nevers Dm (cross checking), 15:32; Senken Dm (slashing), 17:15; Ness Wat (high sticking), 18:39.
2nd Period-2, Waterloo, Cassetti 1 (Bast, Rolston), 18:16 (PP). Penalties-Lamppa Wat (roughing), 1:34; Papp Dm (roughing), 1:34; Haskins Wat (slashing), 6:08; Bengtsson Wat (slashing), 7:09; Mancinelli Dm (roughing), 7:09; Belpedio Wat (hooking), 13:24; Engum Wat (roughing), 15:23; Warnert Dm (roughing), 15:23; Paine Dm (cross checking), 17:28; Caponi Wat (roughing), 19:23.
3rd Period-3, Waterloo, Caponi 9 (Guzzo), 3:35 (SH). 4, Des Moines, Ellis 4 (Laferriere), 6:07. 5, Des Moines, Nevers 11 (Luedtke), 11:02 (PP). 6, Waterloo, Cassetti 2 (Ness, Engum), 15:40. 7, Des Moines, Senken 3 (Laferriere), 19:05 (SH). 8, Waterloo, Lamppa 9 (Schingoethe), 19:42 (PP EN). Penalties-Psenicka Wat (tripping), 2:59; Ness Wat (hooking), 4:09; Mancinelli Dm (interference), 4:30; Argentina Wat (tripping), 9:22; Szmagaj Wat (head contact), 11:43; Andrews Dm (game misconduct-grabbing face mask), 16:58; Cassetti Wat (roughing), 17:58; Andrews Dm (cross checking, major-grabbing face mask), 17:58.
Shots on Goal-Waterloo 19-14-9-42. Des Moines 2-9-10-21.
Power Play Opportunities-Waterloo 3 / 6; Des Moines 1 / 9.
Goalies-Waterloo, Carriere 11-2-1-0 (21 shots-18 saves). Des Moines, Rowe 9-7-1-0 (41 shots-37 saves).
Linesmen-Cameron Dykstra, Davids Rozitis.