Black Hawks Beat Stars, Edge Closer to Playoff Spot
A wild sequence during the closing minutes of regulation was not enough to deny the Waterloo Black Hawks a road win against the team they are chasing in the playoff hunt.
The Lincoln Stars and Waterloo sat in the second and third place respectively in the USHL Western Conference standings going into Friday's (April 1, 2016) action. The two teams met at the Ice Box in Lincoln.
Waterloo had seemingly put the game out of each with 2:11 left to go. During a four-on-three power play, Jake Ryczek blasted a shot into the net from the left circle, boosting the Waterloo to a 5-2 lead.
However, the Stars scored twice in a ten second span at 18:18 and 18:28. Both goals came from Grant Jozefek during four-on-four time. Ludvig Hoff made the setup each time, with Jozefek first cutting across the netmouth from his right to left, then going the opposite direction for a similar follow up.
Garrett Metcalf kept everything else out during the waning moments, making 20 saves during the decision.
There are five teams trying to fight for the four Western Conference USHL playoff spots. After Friday's slate of games, the Tri-City Storm remains atop the standings with 70 points. Lincon holds second with 67 points. Waterloo has 65 points. ALl three teams have three games left to play. The Fargo Force is fourth with 62 points, and the Sioux Falls Stampede rounds out the top five with 60 points.
The Force and Stampede have four games left on their schedule, but one of those games pits the teams against each other, effectively eliminating the loser of that game from a playoff spot.
Waterloo needs to grab two more wins to secure a playoff spot regardless of what the other teams do. The Black Hawks still have a mathematical chance to secure the number one spot, but they need Tri-Center to lose their remaining three games in regulation and two Lincoln loses.
Friday’s game marked the final time the Black Hawks will stray from Young Arena during the 2015/16 regular season schedule. Waterloo returns home Saturday to open a three-game, season-ending home stand against the Sioux City Musketeers. Tickets for the 7:05 game are still available from the Domino’s Black Hawks Box Office by calling (319) 291-7680.