Nick Swaney’s hat trick led the Waterloo Black Hawks to a playoff series-extending 7-4 win against the Tri-City Storm at Young Arena Saturday.
Entering the night trailing two-games-to-one in the best-of-five affair, the win was a necessity and forces a fifth and decisive road game on Tuesday.
It took Waterloo until the closing minutes to shake the pesky Storm.
Following a third period Tri-City goal, the game was tied 3-3 for just 47 seconds when Sam McCormick put Waterloo in front for good at 12:13. Coming up left wing, McCormick’s shot hit the heel of goaltender Jake Kielly’s glove, popping up over his shoulder before falling into the net.
The Hawks added to their new lead to extinguish hope for another rally by the visitors. At 15:56, Swaney flipped in his second goal of the night after Kielly had made an all-out stop on Liam Pecararo’s first chance. Mikey Anderson added another insurance goal at 17:12 during a power play, stepping in from the left circle to snap a wrist shot to the net through traffic.
While two first period goals had represented a strong start, four successful Black Hawks penalty kills are what allowed Waterloo to take the lead to the locker room at the first intermission. Shortly after killing Tri-City’s second power play, Yuri Terao redirected Jake Ryczek’s shot from the right point 9:12 into the game; the puck dipped down past Kielly to give Waterloo a 1-0 edge.
Shorthanded two-and-a-half minutes later, Swaney tied the puck up behind the Storm net. When it squirted from there to the top of the crease, Kielly stopped Swaney’s shot, but Ronnie Hein roofed the rebound for Waterloo’s second shorthanded goal of the postseason.
Tri-City rallied with two second period goals separated by 1:15. At 4:35 and with traffic in front of the Waterloo net, Brandon Duhaime swatted a loose puck between the pipes. Monte Graham followed up, taking Collin Rutherford’s pass from behind the Waterloo net and sending a low shot inside the long-side post.
However, Waterloo reassumed the lead at 8:31. In the midst of a power play, Ryczek stepped on the ice for a one-timer, which left a rebound in the left wing circle. Swaney picked up the loose puck and roofed a shot under the crossbar.
The second period was the only one in which the Storm outshot the Hawks, but Cale Morris made his best save of the night with just over a minute remaining before intermission. Alex Limoges carried the puck up ice on a two-on-one, then fed it across to Dan Labosky, but Morris moved from right to left, pouncing to smother the puck with his pad. He finished the game with 25 saves.
The Storm tied it 11:26 into the third period; Jake Wahlin made a strong move out of the right corner, setting up a second-chance strike for Carson Meyer.
After Waterloo’s string of three consecutive goals, the teams exchanged final tallies with just over two minutes to play. Limoges struck during a power play and with an extra attacker at 18:27, but Swaney finished his hat trick with a goal from the blue line into an empty net with 1:01 remaining.
Tuesday’s fifth game in Kearney will begin at 7:05. The winner will meet either the Dubuque Fighting Saints or Bloomington Thunder in the Clark Cup Championship Series, starting next weekend.
Tri-City 0 2 2 – 4
Waterloo 2 1 4 – 7
1st Period-1, Waterloo, Terao 3 (Ryczek, Bowers), 9:12. 2, Waterloo, Hein 3 (Swaney), 11:41 (SH). Penalties-Hein Wat (interference), 0:49; Labosky Tc (hooking), 2:57; Saccoman Wat (interference), 6:10; Terao Wat (high sticking), 9:56; Wahlin Tc (slashing), 13:19; McCormick Wat (throwing the stick), 15:42.
2nd Period-3, Tri-City, Duhaime 1 (Meyer, Dello), 4:35. 4, Tri-City, Graham 1 (Goransson, Rutherford), 5:50. 5, Waterloo, Swaney 3 (Ryczek, Davies), 8:31 (PP). Penalties-Labosky Tc (slashing), 7:14; Goransson Tc (roughing, 10-minute misconduct), 8:31; Hein Wat (roughing, 10-minute misconduct), 8:31; Labosky Tc (hooking), 16:24.
3rd Period-6, Tri-City, Meyer 5 (Wahlin, Duhaime), 11:26. 7, Waterloo, McCormick 3 (Hein, Davies), 12:13. 8, Waterloo, Swaney 4 (Pecararo, Ryczek), 15:26. 9, Waterloo, Anderson 3 (Pecararo, Lohin), 17:12 (PP). 10, Tri-City, Limoges 3 (Labosky, Allison), 18:27 (PP). 11, Waterloo, Swaney 5 (Cotton), 18:59 (EN). Penalties-Golovkovs Wat (hooking), 5:40; Labosky Tc (cross checking), 15:48; Wait Wat (roughing), 18:05; Charyszyn Wat (interference), 19:51.
Shots on Goal-Tri-City 10-10-9-29. Waterloo 20-8-12-40.
Power Play Opportunities-Tri-City 1 / 7; Waterloo 2 / 5.
Goalies-Tri-City, Kielly 5-2-0-0 (39 shots-33 saves). Waterloo, Morris 5-3-0-0 (29 shots-25 saves).
Referees-Walker Holton (19), Jonathon Sitarski (18).
Linesmen-Bill Hancock (91), JP Waleski (66).