The Waterloo Black Hawks did their part and got some help on Friday, setting up a thrilling conclusion to the regular season on Saturday.
A 5-1 Black Hawks road win against the Madison Capitols at Capitol Ice Arena puts Waterloo one win away from claiming the Anderson Cup as the United States Hockey League’s regular season champion. The Muskegon Lumberjacks defeated the U.S. National Team Development Program 5-4 Friday, leaving Waterloo one point behind the NTDP. However, the Development Program has concluded their schedule and does not have any opportunities to pick up additional points.
Waterloo seized the lead at 3:10 of the opening period Friday. Ben Finkelstein came up the right wing boards and moved to the bottom of the circle before lifting a shot under the crossbar. Just less than four minutes later, the Hawks cashed in again. An errant try by Mason Palmer was kept alive by Ben Copeland at the side of the net. That set up a chance for Jack Drury from close range, and Drury knocked his chance past Joey Lamoreaux.
Ethan Johnson made it 3-0 3:22 into the second period. On a rush up right wing, Johnson’s first attempt was stopped, but he followed his shot and converted the putback.
Late in the period, Waterloo scored twice in 21 seconds. At 18:05, Copeland dodged a defender at his own blue line, coming up ice one-on-one and scoring on a chance from the top of the left circle. On the following shift, a Palmer shot was blocked but came right to Evan Dougherty, who beat Lamoreaux to the stick side from the opposite hashmark.
Anthony Callin recorded the only goal of the third at 13:28, breaking up Jared Moe’s shutout bid. Moe made 19 saves in the win.
Saturday night, the home and regular season finale pits Waterloo against the Des Moines Buccaneers. That 7:05 game on Fan Appreciation Night will be highlighted by 500 t-shirts being tossed into the crowd at intermission, presented by Next Generation Wireless. For tickets, call the Domino’s Black Hawks Box Office at (319) 291-7680.
Waterloo 2 3 0 - 5
Madison 0 0 1 - 1
1st Period-1, Waterloo, Finkelstein 7 3:10. 2, Waterloo, Drury 24 (Copeland, Palmer), 7:01. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period-3, Waterloo, Johnson 6 (Finkelstein, Schmidt), 3:22. 4, Waterloo, Copeland 18 (Cates, Finkelstein), 18:05. 5, Waterloo, Dougherty 11 (Cassetti, Palmer), 18:26. Penalties-Kucharek Mad (interference), 4:43; Schmidt Wat (slashing), 8:29.
3rd Period-6, Madison, Callin 13 (Walkom, Kucharek), 13:28. Penalties-Bakich Wat (roughing), 14:13; Broetzman Mad (roughing), 14:13; Sorensen Wat (charging), 16:49.
Shots on Goal-Waterloo 16-18-10-44. Madison 4-6-10-20.
Power Play Opportunities-Waterloo 0 / 1; Madison 0 / 2.
Goalies-Waterloo, Moe 23-6-1-0 (20 shots-19 saves). Madison, Lamoreaux 4-9-1-0 (34 shots-29 saves); McKay 19-23-1-2 (10 shots-10 saves).
Referees-J.R. Stragar (14).
Linesmen-Elliot Bucholz (43), Neil Frederickson (66).