WATERLOO — There were a lot of similarities between the Waterloo Black Hawks and Green Bay Gamblers entering their USHL matchup at Young Arena Saturday night.
Both teams have 14 points on the season and they both sit in fourth place in their respective divisions — Waterloo (7-6-0) in the West and Green Bay (6-5-2) in the East. In addition, both teams have given up more goals than they have scored over the first 13 games, and last year’s series was a split with both games going into extra periods.
Something had to give.
The Black Hawks did not give in to the aggressive play of the Gamblers Saturday as they fought off a tough challenge and came away with a 3-1 victory and their second win in as many nights on their home ice.
“This was a good hockey game and we did enough of the right things to come away with the win,” Black Hawks coach P.K. O’Handley said. “I thought we played pretty good the last four games, but winning these two at home will really help with the confidence here. This is a tough league and parity is throughout, so you have to bring it every night.”
Waterloo gave its fans something to cheer about late in the first period as Matej Blumel made good on his short-range blast. Just coming out of the penalty box, Matej picked up a pass from Kyle Koopman and let fly his offering at point-blank range, finding the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
The Gamblers took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play to tie the game in a testy second period, but Hank Sorensen put the Black Hawks up 2-1 at the 15:01 mark.
Waterloo goalie Jared Moe fought off a handful of Green Bay threats in the final period, including three critical stops, before Garrett Wait’s empty net tally gave the Black Hawks a 3-1 lead in the closing seconds.
“Getting those three stops were very key to the win tonight,” Moe said. “You know if we let one of those in it is a whole new game. We expected a very physical game from them and we got it.
“I tell you it was really great to see Garrett get that empty netter. This is going to be a big confidence boost for us.”
Waterloo 3, Green Bay 1
SCORE BY PERIODS
Green Bay 0 1 0 — 1
Waterloo 1 1 1 — 3
FIRST PERIOD — 1. Waterloo, Blumel (Klee, Koopman), 19:16. Penalties — Green Bay bench (too many men) 8:03, Jennings-GB (tripping) 11:05, Jacques-GB (interference) 14:18, Charlesworth-GB (cross-checking) 16:11, Bakich-Wat. (slashing) 16:11, Blumel-Wat. (slashing) 17:03, Charlesworth-GB (roughing) 19:40, Wait-Wat. (roughing) 19:40.
SECOND PERIOD — 2. Green Bay, Moyle (Charlesworth, Bliss), pp, 10:35. 3. Waterloo, Sorensen (Cates), 15:01. Penalties — Bergmann-GB (slashing) 2:47, Cassetti-Wat. (slashing) 2:47, Verrier-GB (cross-checking) 7:20, Sorensen-Wat. (head contact) 9:30, Copeland-Wat. (slashing) 10:02, Charlesworth-GB (double roughing) 16:20, Cassetti-Wat. (boarding) 16:20, Pokorny-Wat. (roughing), 16:20, Cassetti-Wat. (roughing) 18:P20, Pokorny-Wat. (misconduct) 18:20.
THIRD PERIOD — 4. Waterloo, Wait (Palmer, Trivigno), en, 19:25. Penalties — Bergmann-GB (fighting, game misconduct) :04, Bakich-Wat. (fighting, game misconduct) :04, Moyle-GB (cross-checking) 6:57.
SHOTS ON GOAL
Green Bay 5 5 7 — 17
Waterloo 11 7 15 — 33
Power-plays—Green Bay 1-for-4. Waterloo 0-for-5.
Goaltenders—Green Bay, Zhukov (32 SOG, 30 saves). Waterloo, Moe (17 SOG, 16 saves).
Officials—Referee, Fleming. Linesmen, Wilkinson, Nedeljkovic.