Waterloo Black Hawks

At the midpoint of Friday’s game against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, the Waterloo Black Hawks knew they could return from Cedar Rapids Ice Arena with at least a share of the Anderson Cup championship, and the Hawks ultimately made the most of the opportunity with a 5-1 victory.

By the second period of Waterloo’s game, the Green Bay Gamblers had defeated the Indiana Ice, 4-2, in Indianapolis.  That result provided a chance for the Black Hawks to break a tie with Indiana for first place overall in the United States Hockey League.  With only one game remaining on the schedule for each team, the Hawks were in position to assure themselves at least a tie for the league’s regular season title.

However, the Black Hawks had been unable to capitalize during 87 secondsof five-on-three power play time late in the first period, giving the RoughRiders a chance to carry the lead to the first intermission.  Following the successful Cedar Rapids penalty kill, Frederik Tiffels found Andrew Poturalski alone in the right circle, and Poturalski flipped a shot past Cal Petersen’s glove 48 seconds before the break.

Waterloo special teams took over in the second period.  At 8:10 – during the opening seconds of a power play, and as the game in Indiana was concluding – Peter Krieger fired a shot to the top corner over the shoulder of Danny Tirone to even the matchup.  The Hawks went on to kill off three RoughRider power plays in the period, including a five-on-three advantage.  The visitors jumped ahead at 16:34 with another power play goal, blasted into the net from the high slot by Brandon Montour.

In the final period, the Hawks pulled away.  Patrick Russell swiped a clearing attempt at 10:47 and rapped a shot from the top of the circle into the net off of the crossbar.  In a four-on-four situation just over three minutes later, Tirone and Mark Friedman both dashed after a puck in the offensive zone, jousting the disc high into the air; it landed in the crease and bounced over the goal line just inside the post.  Derek Pratt sealed the win, scoring into an empty net from center with 28.8 seconds remaining.

Petersen made 15 saves for the victory as the Black Hawks’ defense clamped down, holding the RoughRiders to six shots or fewer during each period.  Waterloo successfully killed eight RoughRider power plays.  Tirone stopped 29 chances.

Waterloo and Cedar Rapids meet again to finish the regular season Saturday at Young Arena.  With a standings point of any kind or an Indiana loss, the Black Hawks would be the undisputed Anderson Cup champs.  Good seats still remain for the 7:05 contest and can be ordered online from waterlooblackhawks.com or by calling the Domino’s Black Hawks Box Office at (319) 291-7680.  During intermission, 500 lucky fans will receive a free playoff t-shirt courtesy of Next Generation Wireless.