Special Teams Key in Black Hawks Game 1 Win
The Waterloo Black Hawks and Fargo Force did not score during 16 combined power plays and for more than 55 minutes at Young Arena Saturday before the Hawks claimed a 2-0 win in Game One of the USHL Western Conference Final series.
Waterloo’s Jared Moe and Fargo’s Strauss Mann kept the game in a deadlock throughout the evening. Entering the night, the netminders were responsible for three of the five shutouts earned by USHL goalies during the 2018 Clark Cup Playoffs. Moe picked up his second with 29 saves. Mann made 33 stops.
Each team had three unfruitful power plays in the first period. Fargo was turned away four more times in the second, while the Hawks were denied in three special teams situations. One last Waterloo advantage came in the opening minutes of the third, while Fargo had two as the period progressed, ultimately making the Hawks 0-for-7 and the Force 0-for-9.
Evan Dougherty delivered the breakthrough with 4:20 to go in regulation. With Mann and two Force defenders congregating behind the Fargo net, Dougherty swooped in and swiped the puck. Moving to the left wing circle and staring at an open net, the former Force forward missed the puck on his first attempt. Collecting himself, he fired it through scrambling defenders and past Mann who was swimming back to the crease.
Joey Cassetti sealed the win with 36.2 seconds to play. With the Fargo net empty, a blocked shot in the Black Hawks zone landed in front of Ben Finkelstein. He was able to shuffle it to center, and Cassetti caught up with it near the Force blue line to push it into the open net.
The series continues on Sunday when the Hawks and Force meet for Game Two. The puck drops at 5:05 p.m. For tickets, call the Domino’s Black Hawks Box Office at (319) 291-7680 or visit waterlooblackhawks.com.