Black Hawks Clinch Playoff Spot
Thanks to a 6-3 win over the Sioux City Musketeers on Saturday at Young Arena, the Waterloo Black Hawks clinched a spot for the 2018 United States Hockey League Playoffs.
Three shorthanded goals helped make the difference in the Black Hawks win. The win guaranteed that the Black Hawks will finish among the top six teams in the USHL Western Conference. It also boosted Waterloo into sole control of first place in the conference. In addition, Waterloo's victory allowed the Fargo Force to secure a postseason bid.
Based on available league data, Waterloo’s three shorthanded goals during the game mark the 12th time a team has accomplished that feat. Eight of those instances have come since 2009, most recently by the Lincoln Stars in February 2017 against the Dubuque Fighting Saints.
Bobby Trivigno set up the first two shorthanded goals during the final three minutes of the first period. With the Hawks ahead 2-0, at 17:44, Trivigno swiped the puck below the icing line and fed a pass to Joey Cassetti in the slot. Cassetti’s a one-timer flew past relief goalie Matt Jurusik. Déjà vu struck less than two minutes later. Trivigno created another turnover in the same area and setup another score – this time by Jack Drury – with 34.7 seconds left before intermission.
Waterloo had seized the lead during the middle stages of the opening period. Trivigno was coming to the ice on a change and jumped into a scoring rush at 10:45. He took a cross-ice Ben Copeland pass and beat starting netminder Ben Kraws low to the glove side from the left circle. Less than four minutes later, Jack Drury’s faceoff win set up a Ben Finkelstein wrister from the deep slot that made the score 2-0.
Sioux City rallied in the second with two goals separated by 45 seconds. A quick shot to the top corner by Bobby Brink at 8:02 came after the Musketeers controlled an offensive zone draw. Cole Koeple followed up at 8:47, capitalizing a on a rush into the offensive zone as the teams skated four-on-four.
The Musketeers only power play goal was scored during a five-on-three situation at 8:41 of the third period when Sampo Ranta beat Jared Moe with a shot from the right point. Moe was screened by two of his defenders, and the goal brought Sioux City back within one.
However, with two seconds remaining on the second Waterloo penalty during the sequence, Garrett Wait added the third Hawks shorthanded goal, taking a pass from Solag Bakich just outside the crease and squeezing his shot through Jurusik’s pads.
Cassetti notched his second goal of the game at 15:42. He navigated traffic from the left circle across the slot to the right, while switching from forehand to backhand, before flipping in the puck.
The Hawks are on the road for their next game Friday. The matchup in Sioux Falls is one of three remaining head-to-head against the Stampede during the closing weeks of the schedule.