WATERLOO — The Waterloo Black Hawks were already short-handed Saturday.
Without head coach P.K. O’Handley and leading scorer Jack Drury, and with injuries to three other forwards, Waterloo played the final 40 minutes with just nine forwards in a 4-2 loss to the Fargo Force at Young Arena in United States Hockey League action.
“That hasn’t happened in ... I can’t remember,” said Black Hawks Director of Player Personnel Shane Fukushima, who handled bench duties for O’Handley while he serves as head coach of Team USA at the Junior A World Challenge. “Guys went down during the game and we had five injuries to start the game.
“We had nine forwards to play the second and third period and I was really proud of those forwards.”
With Drury also at the World Junior A Challenge, and injuries already costing the services of Ian Malcolmson, Sam Huff and Bobby Trivgno, Waterloo lost Joey Cassetti and Danny DiGrande during first-period action Saturday.
Even after that, Waterloo hit several statistical markers that usually mean positive results. The Black Hawks had 30-plus shots (34), held Fargo to 20 or less (20) and scored first.
But the Force used three power-play goals to overcome their early deficit and beat Waterloo for the second consecutive night and fourth time this season.
“It’s not an excuse. Not a crutch, because we didn’t get the two points at the end,” Fukushima added.
For the second straight night, Waterloo scored first as a Matej Blumel’s outlet pass sprung Solag Bakich and Garrett Wait on a 2-on-1 break, with Bakich’s pass setting up Wait’s sixth goal of the season just 1:10 into the first.
The Force answered on a William Fallstrom power-play tally on a nice individual effort by Ty Farmer to set him up five minutes later. Then, Fargo took the lead when A.J. Drobot scored with Waterloo short-handed with 12 seconds left in the first.
The Force extended their lead to 3-1 when Jacob Nordqvist scored with 13:15 left in the second, before the Black Hawks answered with one of their own power-play goals by Ben Copeland with 4:53 left to the second intermission.
“There were a few details that cost us the game,” Fukushima said. “We had a couple of missed assignments on the kill off faceoffs and that ultimately cost us. We would’ve never been in those situations if not a couple of undisciplined penalties.
“I thought our discipline on stick penalties cost us tonight.”
Waterloo returns to action next Friday and Saturday at Fargo.
“It’s disappointing anytime you lose at home,” Fukushima said. “It doesn’t sit well with us. The only way to salvage it is to go back up there and take four points from them.”
Fargo 4, Waterloo 2
SCORE BY PERIODS
Fargo 2 1 1 — 4
Waterloo 1 1 0 — 2
FIRST PERIOD — 1. Waterloo, Garrett Wait (Solag Bakich, Matej Blumel), 1:10, 2. Fargo, Williams Fallstrom (Ty Farmer, Spencer Meier), 6:38, pp, 3. Fargo, AJ Drobot (Jaco Schmidt-Svejstrup, Fallstrom), 19:48, pp. Penalties — Peter Tabor, Wat (holding), 6:20, Spencer Meier, Far (holding), 9:59, Griffin Loughran, Far (spearing, 10-minute misconduct), 12:37, Calvin Pokorny, Wat (slashing), 15:16, Matt Kessel, Far (checking from behind, 10-minute misconduct), 16:09, Ben Copeland, Wat (tripping), 18:19.
SECOND PERIOD — 4. Fargo, Jacob Nordqvist (Fallstrom, Schmidt-Svejstrup), 5:50, pp, 5. Waterloo, Ben Copeland (Garrett Klee, Garrett Wait), 15:07, pp. Penalties — Mason Palmer, Wat (cross checking), 2:31, Fallstrom, Far (unsportsmanlike conduct), 2:31, Palmer, Wat (interference), 4:48, Schuldt, Far (hooking), 6:49, Pokorny, Wat (cross checking), 11:37, Nicholas Cardelli, Far (high sticking), 14:36.
THIRD PERIOD — 6. Fargo, Mark Senden (Loughran), 19:06, en. Penalties — Bartek Bison, Far (interference), 3:25, Bakich, Wat (slashing), 4:55,
SHOTS ON GOAL
Fargo 6 6 8 — 20
Waterloo 16 8 12 — 34
Goalies — Fargo, Strauss Mann (32 saves). Waterloo, Matej Tomek (16 saves). Referees — Jim White and Jake Rekucki. Linesmen — Kris Delaney and Chad Fulkr.