SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — There was going to be no lifting the foot off the gas pedal.
When the Waterloo Black Hawks play a fast, hard and simple hockey game for 60 minutes there is not much an opponent can do to stop them.
In evening a United States Hockey League Western Conference semifinal best-of-five series Saturday at 1-all, the Black Hawks put that type of performance together in a 6-0 win over Sioux Falls.
The challenge tonight at the Denny Premier Center in Sioux Falls in Game 3 will be to replicate that performance.
“We had to regroup and play a full 60,” forward Emil Ohrvall said of Saturday’s win which came 24 hours after a 3-2 overtime loss in Game One.
“That was an example of how our hockey team can put 60 minutes of good Black Hawks hockey together,” defenseman Mason Palmer added. “We have the capability of doing that every time we’re on the ice. It’s about finding that consistency and instead of putting 40 minutes together, 50 ... it’s every single guy on the bench, behind that bench doing it for 60 minutes.”
Waterloo has had a mixed bag of results inside the Premier Center this season, going 1-1-1 in three games, having won the most recent meeting there on Jan. 4, 6-4.
“We have to come up with something over there. They are a good hockey club,” Black Hawks head coach P.K. O’Handley said.
The Stampede are 2-0 at home in the playoffs and 23-5-2 during the regular season.
“We have played some good hockey up there in the past,” Palmer said. “We feel pretty good about going up there. It is a best of three now and we are going to take it just as that.”
The key in the game two victory for Waterloo was a strong effort in net by Evan Fear, who posted just the 14th shutout in junior era for the Black Hawks, and two outstanding special team efforts.
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Sioux Falls was 0-for-9 on the power play, while Waterloo scored four power-play goals on seven opportunities.
“Special teams is a big key in the playoffs, and I think we did a very good job both on the power play and penalty kill so far,” said Ohrvall, who has been a thorn in the Stampede’s side this year with eight regular-season goals, including a pair of hat tricks, and he has four assists in the first two playoff games. “So we have to keep working hard, put the puck on net, find rebounds and put them in the net.”
A second challenge will be to match an energized Stampede team that wants to flush the Saturday loss and try to end the series at home. Game Four is Wednesday in Sioux Falls.
“They will probably come out hard, excited to be at home,” Palmer said.
If the series is not settled in Sioux Falls, Game Five will be Saturday in Young Arena at 7:05 p.m.
NEW HAWKS: Waterloo selected a pair of defenseman during a dispersal draft of the Cedar Illinois Flying Aces players and affiliates Monday.
Both players the Black Hawks selected were affliate players.
Luke Bast is preparing to play for the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Doyle Cup with his Brooks Bandits team. In 45 regular-season games, Bast had seven goals and 28 assists and he appeared for Canada West during the 2018 World Junior A Challenge.
The 18-year old is a North Dakota recruit.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Marino turned 17 early this month and played this past season for the U16 Chicago Fury.
The Flying Aces announced they were disbanding midway through the regular-season