The idea of an All-Iowa USHL Clark Cup championship series hit a road block Friday night. Both Waterloo and Dubuque struggled on the road in their respective conference final openers.

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS:
The Waterloo Black Hawks traveled to Sioux City to play the 2017 USHL Anderson Cup winning Musketeers. Despite the Black Hawks out-shooting the Musketeers in the opening frame (12 shots on goal versus 7), it was Sioux City who ended up with the lead after the first 20 minutes. Goals from Connor Ford (DUB 04:07 1st) & Eeli Tolvanen (DUB 15:26 1st) helped put Sioux City up 2-0.

Tolvanen (DUB 11:24 2nd) put the Musketeers up 3-0 just past the halfway point of the Western Conference opening game, but Waterloo stormed back. Ben Copeland netted goals at 16:49 and 17:39 to put the Black Hawks back into the game as the second period ended with Waterloo only trailing by one goal, 3-2.

The Musketeers would add two more goals in the third (Odeen Tufto 9:03, Tarek Baker 18:30) to close out the won, 5-2. Game 2 is set for Sunday in Sioux City.

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS:
It was a defensive struggle through the first 40 minutes between the Dubuque Fighting Saints and the Chicago Steel. The Steel's Reggie Lutz scored at 8:20 in the second, and Quinn Preston tied it back up for the Fighting Saints with his goal about three minutes later (11:44).

The final 20 minutes featured an offensive explosion by both teams. Dubuque netted two goals in the first eight minutes (Eric McAdams 0:42, Scott Corbett 7:39) to jump out to a 3-1 advantage. Jack Badini pulled the Steel back within one goal (8:27). It was Chicago's Brannon McManus that stole the show. McManus evened the game at 9:05, and his game winning goal came at 15:39.

Game 2 is scheduled for tonight in Chicago.

Both Waterloo and Dubuque will host Game 3 in their respective series on Friday, May 5. If needed, both Game 4 contests will take place Saturday in Waterloo and Dubuque.