Despite Losing in Game 5, Black Hawks Cap Off Spectacular Season
The Indiana Ice edged the Waterloo Black Hawks, 3-2, at Young Arena on Tuesday to win the United States Hockey League’s Clark Cup Championship. Despite the loss, it still was a banner year for the Black Hawks.
Waterloo’s defeat ended a season in which the Black Hawks were the USHL’s regular season champions and winners of the Anderson Cup for a second time. The Hawks set a franchise record with 44 victories during the 60-game schedule. Waterloo won eight more playoff contests and reached the postseason finals for the fifth time in the last eleven years.
Two third period goals allowed the visitors to tie the contest, then pull ahead. Trailing 2-1 with 8:48 remaining, Alex Talcott found a rebound at the front of the Waterloo net and slipped the puck around Cal Petersen’s right pad, across the goal line. Six-and-a-half minutes later, on a rush up the rink, Aiden Muir made a drop pass to Brian Pinho, and his low shot snuck inside the long-side post.
The win clinched the series, which was played to a full five games, giving the Ice the second Clark Cup during their franchise history. Without a home rink to play in during 2014/15, Indiana will become a dormant franchise next season, making it possible that Tuesday’s win could be the final game for the Ice in USHL competition.
The opening period was a stalemate. The Hawks’ Patrick Russell sent a rebound to the back of the net, recycling Liam Pecararo’s initial shot at 3:40. However, Mitch Hults answered for Indiana when the Hawks failed to clear their zone at 11:21. Hults batted a puck out of midair past Petersen. It was one of 18 Ice shots during the frame as Indiana out-chanced Waterloo 18-10.
The Black Hawks went back ahead in the second period, forcing a turnover at the Indiana blue line. Jake Horton swiped a puck and delivered a shot-pass to Zach Sanford. The Hawks’ hero of Game Four scored on one touch, past Jason Pawloski, at 11:35. Seconds later, Petersen made a glorious save with no rebound on a breakaway chance by Patrick Newell, knocking down the initial wrist shot and falling on the disc.
However, the Ice had too many opportunities in the third, despite being held below their first and second period shot totals. For the game, Indiana put 44 shots on frame and forced 41 saves by Petersen. Pawloski made 33 stops.