Black Hawks Split Over The Weekend – Remain Firmly In 1st Place
It was "Rivalry Weekend" in Party Town with the Hawks suffering a blow-out loss to Dubuque on Friday night, then turning around and beating Cedar Rapids on Saturday night. Waterloo sits on top of the USHL Western Conference at 12-4-1 (25 pts) and boasting a 4 point lead over Des Moines.
FRIDAY NIGHT VS DUBUQUE
The Fighting Saints scored multiple times in each period Friday at Young Arena, topping Waterloo 7-1.
Matthew Kopperrud recorded two first period goals as the Fighting Saints put 20 shots on net in the opening 20 minutes. His first came at 13:19 from the left circle off a behind-the-back pass by Ty Jackson. Kopperrud scored again from nearly the same spot 23 seconds before intermission after a Saints takeaway in the neutral zone. The Saints added two more in the second, including a power play goal by Antonio Venuto at 4:04, when the puck came his way with an open side. Luke Robinson rifled in the other, using a quick release to hit the top corner at 10:17.
Kyle Haskins gave the Hawks a moment of optimism in the third period. After killing off an early Dubuque power play, Ryan Drkulec forced a turnover and set up Ryder Rolston’s shot from the slot. That chance was denied, but Haskins put in the rebound at 1:51. Pressuring to draw closer, the Hawks got caught at 6:15 when a spring pass found Kopperrud at center; he flipped in a breakaway backhander to complete his hat trick. On another breakaway at 10:22, it looked like the Hawks had a reprieve when Ryan Beck hit the post, but Riese Gaber was the first one to the rebound and scored on the follow up. Dylan Jackson added the final goal two minutes later when a puck came from behind the net and found him at the top of the crease.
The Fighting Saints outshot the Hawks 40-25 for the night.
SATURDAY NIGHT VS. CEDAR RAPIDS
The Black Hawks won for the third time in four tries during a five-game sequence at Young Arena, doubling up the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 4-2 on Saturday.
The Hawks methodically built a 4-0 lead, beginning when Xander Lamppa’s pass from below the icing line set up the only goal of the first period. At 7:25, Lamppa looked like he was moving behind the net, but at the last moment, he dropped a pass to Griffin Ness. The Waterloo captain stick-handled and flipped a close-range backhander past Derek Mullahy, who had dropped to the butterfly position. The Hawks dominated most of the second period, limiting Cedar Rapids to two shots through the first 14 minutes and six total chances.
Connor Caponi build the lead to 2-0 at 7:37 of the second. Ethan Szmagaj’s shot was turned away, but came to Caponi near the bottom of the right circle, and his sharp-angled chance took a favorable bounce between the pipes. On a power play at the tail-end of the second, the Hawks struck again. Ness sizzled a pass across the slot to Ryder Rolston, who was waiting at the left dot; Rolston snapped home a wrister with 20.2 seconds to go before the break.
In the third, Ralston benefitted from a couple of bounces to score again 2:07. His shot from the left circle was blocked, but instead of going into the corner, it hit a second RoughRider in front of the net, zigzagging past Derek Mullahy on the two deflections. Not quite two minutes later, Cedar Rapids’ Jack Millar broke up Logan Stein’s shutout bid with a chance in transition from the left circle. The RoughRiders capitalized for their second goal at the end of a long sequence in the Waterloo zone at 14:21. A pass across the top of the crease found Jack O’Leary, who scored into an open side.
With under five minutes to play, Cedar Rapids went to a power play, which became a five-on-three advantage for nearly a minute when Waterloo was whistled for a second infraction. However, the Hawks made it through the short-handed situation, as well as 90 seconds of six-on-five time, to secure the victory.
THANKSGIVING NIGHT VS. CEDAR RAPIDS
The same two teams match up again at Young Arena Thursday to conclude the homestand. It will be the 20th consecutive time the two teams have played on Thanksgiving. Bring a teddy bear and participate in the annual Teddy Bear Toss after the Black Hawks’ first goal. For tickets, call the box office at (319) 291-7680 or visit waterlooblackhawks.com/tickets