Alex Gaffney started and finished a 4-3 shootout victory versus his ex-team, pushing the Waterloo Black Hawks past the Omaha Lancers Sunday at Young Arena.
In the first shootout of the season for either club, Hawks goalie Emmett Croteau stopped Ayrton Martino’s initial attempt, and Wyatt Schingoethe converted Waterloo’s corresponding try with a shot that glanced off Jakub Dobes. Croteau then pushed away Michael Posma’s chance while protecting the post to his left, setting up Gaffney’s clincher. Traded to Waterloo just over a month ago, the former Lancer moved toward the net by way of the left circle and flicked a backhander inside the opposite post to settle the contest.
Gaffney had produced the first goal of regulation 10:48 into the first period. An errant shot which missed the Waterloo net sprang out to center, sending Gaffney up the ice two-on-two. He navigated to the high slot, lifting the puck over Dobes for his sixth goal in 13 games since the trade.
It was still 1-0 at the first intermission but only thanks to a spectacular save by Croteau with 4:24 to go in the period. Omaha was one a power play, and Ryan Lautenbach slipped a pass from one edge of the crease to the other, leaving Martino with an apparently open net. Croteau lunged to his left to snare the puck cleanly in his glove, making the most remarkable stop of the 33 he recorded in regulation and overtime.
Omaha tied the game twice in the second. Martino capitalized from the left hashmark at 6:28 on a drop pass originating from beside the Hawks net.
Six-and-a-half minutes later, Waterloo had been hemmed in the defensive zone for a long stretch before Jonah Copre squeezed the puck out to center for Dane Montgomery. Backing down a Lancer, the Hawks’ captain fired a shot between the defenseman’s skates and past a screened Dobes at 12:54.
Less than a minute later, Omaha tied the game again when Posma found a gap between Croteau and the post from the left dot. The Lancers then took their only lead of the night 2:12 into the third when Cam Mitchell swiped the puck and moved up the slot for a shorthanded goal.
A lone third period goal had made the difference in Omaha’s comeback win against Waterloo Friday, but in this rematch, the Hawks produced a late equalizer. With 4:38 to go, Schingoethe snaked around a pair of defenders and dodged Dobes near the side of the net. Turning below the icing line, he fed the puck back into the slot for Ethan Szmagaj, and with Dobes trying to scramble back into the crease, Szmagaj put a shot into the open cage.
Waterloo turned away an Omaha power play in the final four minutes to help force overtime. It was the Hawks’ seventh successful penalty kill during a perfect shorthanded effort.
The Hawks and Lancers meet for the third time in eight days Friday at Ralston Arena. Waterloo then returns home Saturday to host the Chicago Steel.
Omaha 0 2 1 0 - 3
Waterloo 1 1 1 0 - 4
1st Period-1, Waterloo, Gaffney 9 10:48. Penalties-Gaffney Wat (kneeing), 0:31; Dubinsky Oma (tripping), 5:36; Conroy Oma (bench minor-too many men), 6:27; Lagerback Wat (goalie interference), 9:53; Belpedio Wat (slashing), 14:31.
2nd Period-2, Omaha, Martino 9 (Dubinsky, Bettens), 6:28. 3, Waterloo, Montgomery 3 (Copre, Belpedio), 12:54. 4, Omaha, Posma 7 (Renwick, Carlin), 13:41. Penalties-Bast Wat (high sticking), 7:49; Conroy Oma (cross checking), 14:09; Ozar Wat (hooking), 15:25.
3rd Period-5, Omaha, Mitchell 3 (Devlin, Schweighardt), 2:12 (SH). 6, Waterloo, Szmagaj 4 (Schingoethe, Ozar), 15:22. Penalties-Conroy Oma (roughing), 1:13; Fowler Oma (boarding), 5:42; Ozar Wat (roughing), 5:42; Gucciardi Wat (tripping), 9:39; Reiners Wat (high sticking), 16:11.
1st OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties
Shootout - Omaha 0 (Martino NG, Posma NG), Waterloo 2 (Schingoethe G, Gaffney G).
Shots on Goal-Omaha 12-10-12-2-0-36. Waterloo 6-6-10-3-1-26.
Power Play Opportunities-Omaha 0 / 7; Waterloo 0 / 4.
Goalies-Omaha, Dobes 16-11-0-1 (25 shots-22 saves). Waterloo, Croteau 2-2-0-0 (36 shots-33 saves).
Linesmen-Zach Carson, Default Linesman.