For the first time since Waterloo’s 2004 Clark Cup championship, a group of Black Hawks players left the ice together for the final time as victors, following a 4-1 win Saturday against the Dubuque Fighting Saints at Young Arena.
The Hawks won their final five 2014/15 regular season games to finish the campaign 28-26-6. The season-ending streak – the club’s longest of the campaign – included victories against all four of Waterloo’s Iowa rivals: the Des Moines Buccaneers, Sioux City Musketeers, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, and Fighting Saints.
The Black Hawks set the early pace with two goals less than a half minute into the action. Niko Hildenbrand swiped the disk on the rightwing boards and lifted a shot toward the net which was deflected in by John Wiitala at :12. Then after an icing call, a faceoff win, and an Alec McCrea shot from the left point, Brock Boeser added to the lead with a rebound goal at :27. The Saints chose the final minute of the period to stage their rally; Brett Boeing scored from a sharp angle at 19:46 with one second remaining on a Dubuque power play.
At 5:47 of the second period, Dubuque goaltender Jacob Nehama denied a Boeser penalty shot. However, Nehama could not stop Bryan Lemos at 11:00, as the Waterloo forward notched the only goals during the frame, coming from behind the goal to score from the left circle.
Waterloo wrapped up the scoring with an empty net goal from Max Coatta during a Dubuque power play with 2:16 remaining.
Cale Morris made 26 saves for his 19th win in 28 games since being acquired from the Chicago Steel in January. Boeser’s goal gave him 35, tied for the most in the United States Hockey League during the campaign.
Throughout the summer, keep up with the latest details and updates on the 2015/16 Black Hawks online at waterlooblackhawks.com.