The Waterloo Black Hawks opened a busy weekend with a victory on their home ice Thursday night (Oct. 19, 2018).

The locals survived a late rally by Youngstown and defeated the Phantoms, 5-3, at Young Arena. The game's outcome was in doubt until the final minutes, despite Waterloo having a 3-0 advantage to start the final period.

Youngstown began its comeback with a power play goal. The breakthrough came at the 7:52 when Arsenii Smekhnov netted a shot from the left circle. Seconds later, Vladislav Firstov answered with what proved to be the winning goal for Waterloo, finishing a three-on-two rush after receiving a drop pass from Matt Koopman.

A five minute major penalty for Brock Paul’s check on Dalton Messina put the Phantoms in position to cut down the Waterloo lead, and the visitors whittled it to one. Early in the power play, Connor MacEachern scored on a wraparound. Then seconds before the Hawks came to full strength, Roman Kraemer stuffed in a loose puck following a Logan Stein save.

The game went to the final minute before Koopman scored into an open net from deep in his own zone, reestablishing a multigoal margin which the Hawks would hold until the end of regulation. During the third, the Phantoms outshot the Hawks 20-8. Stein finished the night with 31 saves.

Waterloo’s initial lead was established early. Less than a minute into the game, a Black Hawks power play began, and Waterloo cashed in at 1:36. Firstov connected with Matej Blumel moving across the slot. A quick touch by the veteran forward put the puck past goalie Justin Evenson. Six minutes later, the Hawks struck again. Koopman hustled to a puck on the right wing boards, turning to create a scoring chance for Connor Caponi. His low shot slithered into the net from the outside edge of the right circle.

The only goal of the second came in transition and built the Waterloo lead further. Joey Cassetti chipped a pass to Xander Lamppa crossing the line. Lamppa slowed long enough to bring Kyle Haskins into the play; streaking into the left circle, Haskens lifted his shot to the top corner at 7:23.

The weekend is just beginning for the Black Hawks, who go on the road Friday and Saturday (Oct. 19-20). The first of those games is against the Sioux Falls Stampede; then Waterloo catches the Sioux City Musketeers on the way home.

The Black Hawks' next home games are against the Fargo Force on Oct. 26-27.