Waterloo Black Hawks

The Waterloo Black Hawks conceded three third period goals on the road Saturday, allowing the Sioux City Musketeers to rally for a 4-3 shootout victory at Tyson Event Center.

Joel L’Esperance scored the decisive shootout goal in the fifth round after Peter Krieger had converted Waterloo’s first opportunity and Waltteri Hopponen swatted in the Musketeers’ second chance.

The only silver lining for the visitors was that the standings point earned from the overtime loss moved the Hawks back into sole possession of first place, past the idle Omaha Lancers.  Waterloo has not lost in regulation during 14 consecutive road games.

The Black Hawks led 3-0 going to the third period and still with less than a dozen minutes remaining.  A hurried clearing attempt off the boards at 8:39 allowed Kyle Schmidt to set up Jake Montgomery alone at the front of the Hawks net, and Montgomery slipped a shot around Cal Petersen’s right skate.  Four-and-a-half minutes later, Sioux City tallied a power play goal on Neal Pionk’s shot with Joe Snively setting a screen in the slot. Back on the power play, the Musketeers equalized at 14:48 as Hopponen nestled a chance into the net from close range.

In the early going, the Hawks had chased Sioux City’s starting netminder Kyle Hayton to the bench after just five-and-a-half minutes.  A power play goal at 3:16 gave Waterloo the lead; Liam Pecarao kicked a puck across the crease, leaving Patrick Russell with an open side to Hayton’s left.  Just over two minutes later, Tim Lappin shot a long rebound into an open goal, following an initial shot by Blake Winiecki.  Collin Olson made his way to the Musketeer crease before the next faceoff.

Waterloo converted another power play for the only goal of the second period at the 8:12 mark.  Brandon Montour gloved down a waist high clearing attempt at the left point, feeding a pass to the front of the net for what proved to be his second assist of the contest.  Russell and Olson collided just above the crease, and as the Waterloo forward was falling to the ice, he swept the puck between the goal posts.

Olson made 26 saves in the relief victory.

Saturday’s contest was the first of three-in-a-row on the road against Western Conference foes.  Next weekend, the Black Hawks travel to meet the Fargo Force on Friday and the Omaha Lancers Saturday.