A 4-3 Fargo Force win on Saturday at Young Arena sets up a return visit next weekend as the Waterloo Black Hawks host the opening leg of a first round Clark Cup playoff series.
The two teams became reacquainted in recent days, splitting a pair of games. The Hawks had won, 6-2, on Friday. Saturday’s Force victory allowed the visitors to finish third in the United States Hockey League Western Conference. Waterloo had already secured the second position and will host Games One and Two, plus Game Five, if necessary, in the best-of-five set.
The Black Hawks recorded the opening goal Saturday on a two-on-one rush at 10:38. Bailey Conger flipped a pass over a sprawling Fargo defender and Garrett Klee batted it into the net past a diving Matt Murray.
The Force responded during a power play at 13:11. Peter Thome made an all-out save to his left on an initial chance, but the Force were able to regain control of the puck. Moving it around the perimeter to Clayton Phillips at the left point, the defenseman drove his shot under the crossbar. Minutes later, Hawks defenseman Grant Gabriele denied a go-ahead goal, sweeping a trickling puck off the goal line.
The Force took the lead with a five-on-three power play goal at 10:35 of the second. Jack Adams positioned himself at the top of the crease, and the big forward knocked the disc across the goal line. Brian Hurley added to the lead at 16:48, scoring on a low shot from the right circle.
Third period goals came exclusively in power play situations. Alex Limoges stole a puck deep in Force territory and slipped a shot through Matt Murray’s pads at 1:37. Fargo reestablished a two-goal lead on Phillips’ second goal of the night, shooting from the high slot at 5:27. The Hawks added a final power play tally – a Conger tip on Mikey Anderson’s shot – at 13:32, but could not draw even.
The 2016/17 regular season wraps up with Waterloo’s second-highest win total. The Hawks go into the postseason after 40 victories.
The puck drops on the Clark Cup Playoffs Friday at 7:05 p.m. Playoff packages are on sale now, providing fans with seats for every home game during Waterloo’s postseason run. Individual postseason game tickets go on sale from the Domino’s Black Hawks Box Office on Tuesday morning at 11:30. To order or for more details, call (319) 291-7680.
For more photos from the Black Hawks’ 2016/17 season, visit Stephanie Lyn Photography.
Fargo 1 2 1 – 4
Waterloo 1 0 2 – 3
1st Period-1, Waterloo, Klee 10 (Conger, Craggs), 10:38. 2, Fargo, Phillips 7 (Crone, Lizotte), 13:11 (PP). Penalties-Adams Fgo (interference), 3:51; Klee Wat (high sticking), 4:30; Sorensen Wat (holding), 11:31; Johnson Fgo (interference), 15:58; Spaxman Wat (roughing), 19:38.
2nd Period-3, Fargo, Adams 36 (Crone, Lizotte), 10:35 (PP). 4, Fargo, Hurley 4 (O’Neil, Crone), 16:48. Penalties-Lizotte Fgo (hooking), 7:25; Tabor Wat (hooking), 9:43; Spaxman Wat (head contact), 10:14; Anderson Wat (slashing), 12:09; Lizotte Fgo (boarding), 19:43.
3rd Period-5, Waterloo, Limoges 22 (Samberg, Ohrvall), 1:37 (PP). 6, Fargo, Phillips 8 (Crone, Haiskanen), 5:27 (PP). 7, Waterloo, Conger 17 (Gabriele, Anderson), 13:32 (PP). Penalties-Conger Wat (cross checking), 4:33; Kalble Fgo (interference), 7:31; Musser Fgo (cross checking), 12:11; Anderson Wat (10-minute misconduct), 19:59; Conger Wat (10-minute misconduct), 19:59.
Shots on Goal-Fargo 14-16-7-37. Waterloo 6-8-11-25.
Power Play Opportunities-Fargo 3 / 7; Waterloo 2 / 6.
Goalies-Fargo, Murray 30-15-2-1 (25 shots-22 saves). Waterloo, Thome 21-8-1-1 (37 shots-33 saves).
Referees-Michael Zalcman (8).
Linesmen-Tyler Loftus (76).