Waterloo Warriors Win Semifinal Game, Championship Game Next
It was a controversial finish, but the Waterloo Warriors outlasted the Omaha Junior Lancers to advance to the championship game in the Midwest High School Hockey League championship tournament.
After a blow out quarterfinal win were Waterloo beat the Kansas City Jets 8-3, the Warriors were expecting a much tighter game against the Omaha Junior Lancers. That's exactly what they got in the 2-1 win to advance to the Midwest High School Hockey League Championship Tournament.
Waterloo dominated the opening period. The Warriors controlled things by forcing Omaha to play most of the opening 17 minutes in their own defensive end. The have assault was highlighted by a Coulter Dupree goal that came at 6:17 into the first period. The Warriors followed that up with a solid penalty kill a few minutes later. Waterloo controlled the Omaha transition game during the first period by stopping most attempts to move the puck into the Junior Lancers attack zone.
The only real highlight for Omaha in the first was the play of goalie Luke Weberg who stood on his head stopping 14 of 15 shots. to keep the score to 1-0 by the end of the first period. On the other end of the ice. Waterloo goalie Dawson Sturch stopped all 10 shots he faced.
Waterloo started the second frame with the same fury they ended the first period. The Junior Lancers did a much better job matching the Warriors, but frustration started creeping into the Junior Lancers' play as a series of penalties plagued Omaha. Waterloo made the most of the seven penalty calls including three 10:00 misconduct penalties.
Cade Saeugling put Waterloo up 2-0 at 14:01 into the second frame. The Warriors were skating with a two-man advantage, and Saeugling shot from the left faceoff dot, and he was able to push the puck between the legs of Weberg.
Sturch only saw six shots in the middle stanza, but they were all quality chances, and he fended off all six attempts.
Omaha started the third period more focused on the game, and dominated the final frame. They forced Waterloo to play several minutes in their own end. The Junior Lancers finally were able to get one past Sturch. Thomas Dyball fired the puck towards the net from the left point, and Larry Mercier was able to redirect it into the net to finally put Omaha on the board (trailing 2-1).
Omaha kept the pressure on bombarding Sturch. The Junior Lancers put the puck into the back of the net with 0:29 left in regulation, but the officials waived it off for what appeared to be a goalie interference call. The end results was a no goal call setting up a controversial finish to the game. Waterloo held on for the 2-1 win.