All the scoring came during the third period Saturday, with the Waterloo Black Hawks pulling out a dramatic late victory, 2-1 at Young Arena against the Dubuque Fighting Saints.
Through 40 minutes and more, Waterloo’s Peter Thome and Dubuque’s Jaxon Castor stopped everything. At the end of two periods, they had turned away 14 and 16 shots respectively, with offensive chances difficult to create in the stalemate.
The visitors broke through for the first goal at 8:11 of the final period. Zach Solow made his way up the rink during a shorthanded situation and held onto the puck in the right corner of the Waterloo zone. From there, the USHL’s leading scorer centered, finding Alex Steeves at the top of the crease; Steeves knocked in the opening tally.
However, during the same power play 1:15 later, the Hawks evened the game. Shane Bowers and Emil Ohrvall were able to seize control behind the Dubuque net. Ohrvall found room to scoot the puck to Alex Limoges between the right circle and the crease. Castor slowed Limoges’ shot, but lunged backwards futilely as the ricochet bounced off of him and into the cage.
Stalled at 1-1, the Hawks went back to the power play in the final two minutes of regulation. With seconds left until overtime, Mikey Anderson blasted a shot from the high slot, which made it through traffic to be parried away by Castor to his left. The disk landed perfectly for Bowers, who took a split second to size up the opportunity, and with 14.6 seconds to go, Waterloo’s top point producer flipped in the game winning goal.
Castor was the hard-luck loser with 24 saves, while Thome made 25 stops; both teams finished with 26 shots on goal.
With the victory, the Black Hawks have officially clinched a place in the 2017 Clark Cup playoffs, becoming the second USHL Western Conference team to hold that distinction. Waterloo has five regular season games remaining.
The Hawks go on the road to wrap up their weekend on Sunday. Waterloo meets the Des Moines Buccaneers in central Iowa for a 5:05 p.m. tilt.
For more photos from the Black Hawks’ 2016/17 season, visit Stephanie Lyn Photography.
Dubuque 0 0 1 – 1
Waterloo 0 0 2 – 2
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Cates Wat (holding), 2:32; Wait Wat (slashing), 12:28; Rueschhoff Dbq (roughing), 12:47; Guttman Dbq (holding), 15:58.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties
3rd Period-1, Dubuque, Steeves 6 (Solow), 8:11 (SH). 2, Waterloo, Limoges 21 (Bowers, Ohrvall), 9:26 (PP). 3, Waterloo, Bowers 21 (Anderson, Gabriele), 19:45 (PP). Penalties-Boyle Dbq (instigator, major-fighting, game misconduct – instigator, 10-minute misconduct), 5:56; Sorensen Wat (elbowing, major-fighting), 5:56; Sorensen Wat (10-minute misconduct), 6:00; Preston Dbq (slashing), 7:43; Staum Dbq (holding), 11:09; Wait Wat (high sticking), 11:09; Corbett Dbq (cross checking), 18:41.
Shots on Goal-Dubuque 6-8-12-26. Waterloo 8-8-10-26.
Power Play Opportunities-Dubuque 0 / 6; Waterloo 2 / 4.
Goalies-Dubuque, Castor 27-13-3-1 (26 shots-24 saves). Waterloo, Thome 20-7-1-1 (26 shots-25 saves).
Referees-Justin Keenan (11).
Linesmen-Nick Huff (58), Shane Gustafson (89).