The Waterloo Black Hawks seized the lead late in the opening period Friday and the Bloomington Thunder could never draw back even during a 4-2 opening night decision at U.S. Cellular Coliseum.
Waterloo penalty-killers were the key to first period results in the Hawks’ favor. The visitors were three-for-three while shorthanded, included a two-man disadvantage which lasted 19 seconds. Shane Bowers then gave Waterloo the lead with 54.5 seconds remaining before intermission. With traffic in the goalmouth and a delayed penalty coming against the Thunder, Bowers picked up the loose disc and scored from just outside the crease.
The Black Hawks edged farther away early in the second; a David Cotton faceoff win at 3:08 provided the opportunity for Sam Rossini to send a long shot through traffic and into the net. Nick Swaney made it 3-0 at 9:41, chasing down a dump in and firing the puck down and across the goal line off the crossbar. However, just over a minute later, Alec Mehr answered, cashing in with an open side after an initial shot by Jeremy Davies was deflected.
In the third, the teams exchanged goals separated by two-and-a-half minutes. Georgs Golovkovs carried the puck deep into the offensive zone and dropped a pass originating below the icing line to Cotton; the big forward stuffed it into an open side at 3:53. Bloomington answered when Van Barr redirected Davies’ long shot during a power play at 6:20. However, the Thunder could not score again during two subsequent advantages, and Waterloo held on to the 4-2 margin.
Waterloo outshot Bloomington 27-21. Cale Morris made 19 saves for the victory.
With opening night in the books, the Black Hawks prepare to take the ice again on Saturday at home against the Muskegon Lumberjacks. Good seats still remain for the 7:05 matchup; the first 2,000 fans in attendance will receive a 2015/16 magnetic schedule presented by La Porte City Bakery and 1650 The Fan. Call the Domino’s Black Hawks Box Office at (319) 291-7680 or order online from waterlooblackhawks.com.
Waterloo 1 2 1 – 4
Bloomington 0 1 1 – 2
1st Period-1, Waterloo, Bowers 1 (Terao, Stillwell), 19:05. Penalties-Saccoman Wat (holding), 1:58; Lambdin Blm (hooking), 1:58; Ghafari Blm (interference), 2:20; Moise Wat (interference), 6:30; Stillwell Wat (high sticking), 8:09; Newhouse Wat (cross checking), 16:03.
2nd Period-2, Waterloo, Rossini 1 (Newhouse), 3:08. 3, Waterloo, Swaney 1 9:41. 4, Bloomington, Mehr 1 (Davies, Curry), 10:46. Penalties-Rafferty Blm (tripping), 0:36; Rafferty Blm (hooking), 13:01; Lambdin Blm (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 18:44.
3rd Period-5, Waterloo, Cotton 1 (Golovkovs, Rossini), 3:53. 6, Bloomington, Barr 1 (Davies, Slaker), 6:20 (PP). Penalties-Robert Wat (cross checking), 4:51; Curry Blm (hooking), 8:35; Luhmann Wat (tripping), 11:20; Risling Wat (roughing), 11:20; Lambdin Blm (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 11:20; Saccoman Wat (closing hand on puck), 13:36.
Shots on Goal-Waterloo 8-12-7-27. Bloomington 9-4-8-21.
Power Play Opportunities-Waterloo 0 / 5; Bloomington 1 / 5.
Goalies-Waterloo, Morris 1-0-0 (21 shots-19 saves). Bloomington, Halladay 0-1-0 (27 shots-23 saves).
Referees-Andre Barone (4), Lucas Martin (2).
Linesmen-Riley Bowles (92), Ian McCambridge (94).