Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
alert top story
USHL

USHL: Black Hawks finish season with 6-3 victory

  • Updated
  • 0

WATERLOO – The Waterloo Black Hawks fell short of the postseason.

But that didn’t stop the proud and storied United States Hockey League team from turning in an inspired, hard-fought effort in their final game of the season.

The cowbells were ringing frequently as Waterloo charged out strong before downing Des Moines 6-3 in a penalty-filled matchup Saturday night at Young Arena.

“The effort our players gave the last two nights was exceptional,” Waterloo coach P.K. O’Handley said. “It’s unfortunate that the last three games were a snapshot of what we could have been. It was a good effort by our guys. There were a lot of penalties, but our grit and competitiveness carried us through.”

The Black Hawks finished the season with a three-game winning streak, including back-to-back wins over Des Moines. Young Arena fans gave their team a standing ovation following the victory.

“Our crowd was awesome the last two nights,” O’Handley said. “The young guys coming back saw that and it is something to build on. Our crowds have always been awesome and that’s what makes this place special.”

Waterloo finished the season with a 14-12-1 home record. The Black Hawks were 22-30-1 overall.

The Buccaneers finished 26-21 after dropping their last two games. Waterloo knocked Des Moines out of the playoffs Friday night.

The season finale was marred by an abundance of penalties, primarily in the third period, between two frustrated teams not terribly fond of each other.

The Black Hawks took a commanding 3-1 lead Saturday when David Gucciardi connected for a goal with just over seven minutes left in the second period.

“We finished it the right way and played well these last few games,” said Gucciardi, who is headed to Michigan State. “We had a lot of injuries this season and that made it hard to develop the chemistry we needed. We just kept battling and playing hard. We tried to make the best of it. I was glad we were able to put on a good show these last two nights.”

Shortly after Gucciardi’s goal, the teams were involved in a skirmish in front of the net. Waterloo’s Ryan O’Hara was ejected after being called for game misconduct. He was escorted off the ice by an official.

Two Des Moines players were assessed penalties during the same sequence. The Black Hawks quickly capitalized when Ethan Szmagaj scored on a power-play goal to stake his team to a 4-1 lead.

The lead grew to 5-1 just 20 seconds into the third period when Waterloo’s Alex Gaffney fired in a rebound for his second goal of the evening.

Just two minutes later, Waterloo’s Tucker Ness was ejected after fighting with Sam Renlund of Des Moines at center ice. Ness was kicked out for game misconduct. Renlund was not ejected, but assessed a five-minute penalty for fighting.

The Buccaneers responded with back-to-back goals to close within 5-3 with 11:34 left in regulation.

Waterloo added a Max Sasson goal with a minute left to lead 6-3 after Des Moines had pulled its goalie.

The Black Hawks had a young team that battled through its share of injuries and setbacks during the 2020-21 campaign. But the Black Hawks continued to battle in the regular season’s final days.

“This was as close to a full lineup as we’ve had,” O’Handley said. “We have to sort all of that out and dissect what happened. We felt we had a good team if we had all of our guys together. We were never able to do it for a bunch of different reasons.”

Waterloo struck first Saturday when Gaffney connected from close range. His early goal gave the Black Hawks a 1-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.

Des Moines tied the game 1-1 on an Alex Laferriere tally late in the first period, but Waterloo came right back to grab a 2-1 lead when Owen Ozar delivered with a goal.

Ozar found the net for the 15th time this season.

Black Hawk goalie Charlie Glockner was superb in net, stopping 15 of 16 shot attempts in the first two periods. Glockner is headed to Northern Michigan next season.

“These were our playoff games – we were playing for pride,” Glockner said of the final home series. “We came out really determined and wanted to finish strong. We jumped on them early and tried to outwork them. We had a blast out there – it was a fun way to end the season.

“The fans were unbelievable. They’ve been by our side all season. It was an awesome experience to play in front of them. Their support means a lot.”

Waterloo battled its share of issues with all of the protocols it had to follow this season during the Covid pandemic.

“It’s been a crazy, crazy year, that’s for sure,” O’Handley said. “What you make of it, I don’t know.

Waterloo 6, Des Moines 3

SCORE BY PERIODS

Des Moines 1 0 2 — 3

Waterloo 2 2 2 — 6

FIRST PERIOD – 1. Waterloo, Alex Gaffney (David Gucciardi, Nic Belpedio), 4:20. 2. Des Moines, Alex Laferrier (Lucas Mercuri), 16:54. 3. Waterloo, Owen Ozar (Ethan Szmagaj, Max Sasson), 17:18. Penalties –Mercuri, DM (hooking), 8:31. Mason Reiners, Wat (tripping), 12:54.

SECOND PERIOD – 4. Waterloo, Gucciardi (Carter Batchelder, Szmagaj), 12:31. 5. Waterloo, Szmagaj (Sasson, Gaffney), 14:50, pp.

Penalties – Ryan O’Hara, Wat (tripping), :26. Jacob Jeannette, Wat (high sticking), 3:31. Laferrier, DM (head contact), 13:36, Josh Luedtke, DM (slashing), 13:45, O’Hara, Wat (major cross checking, game misconduct), 13:45.

THIRD PERIOD – 6. Waterloo, Gaffney (Sasson, Bast), :18. 7. Des Moines, Luedtke (Paul Davey, John Prokop), 2:29, pp, 8. Des Moines, Davey (Laferriere, Luedtke), 8:26, pp. 9, Waterloo, Sasson (Cooper Wylie), 18:59, en. Penalties – Sam Renlund, DM (major fighting), 2:19, Matt Argentina, Wat (major elbowing), 2:19, Tucker Ness, Wat (major fighting), 2:19. John Driscoll, DM (roughing), 5:38, Michael LaStarza, Wat (slashing), 7:56, Matt Choupani, DM (slashing), 12:49. Noah Ellis, DM (unsportsmanlike conduct), 16:00, LaStarza, Wat (unsportsmanlike conduct), 16:00.

SHOTS ON GOAL

Des Moines 9 7 18 — 34

Waterloo 17 12 11 — 40

Goalies – Des Moines, Derek Mullahy (34 Saves). Waterloo, Charlie Glockner (31Saves). Referees – Caleb Andrade, Tyler Hascall. Linesmen – Michael Ifkovits, Eric Arrigo.

Waterloo 6, Des Moines 3

SCORE BY PERIODS

Des Moines 1 0 2 — 3

Waterloo 2 2 2 — 6

FIRST PERIOD – 1. Waterloo, Alex Gaffney (David Gucciardi, Nic Belpedio), 4:20. 2. Des Moines, Alex Laferrier (Lucas Mercuri), 16:54. 3. Waterloo, Owen Ozar (Ethan Szmagaj, Max Sasson), 17:18. Penalties –Mercuri, DM (hooking), 8:31. Mason Reiners, Wat (tripping), 12:54.

SECOND PERIOD – 4. Waterloo, Gucciardi (Carter Batchelder, Szmagaj), 12:31. 5. Waterloo, Szmagaj (Sasson, Gaffney), 14:50, pp.

Penalties – Ryan O’Hara, Wat (tripping), :26. Jacob Jeannette, Wat (high sticking), 3:31. Laferrier, DM (head contact), 13:36, Josh Luedtke, DM (slashing), 13:45, O’Hara, Wat (major cross checking, game misconduct), 13:45.

THIRD PERIOD – 6. Waterloo, Gaffney (Sasson, Bast), :18. 7. Des Moines, Luedtke (Paul Davey, John Prokop), 2:29, pp, 8. Des Moines, Davey (Laferriere, Luedtke), 8:26, pp. 9, Waterloo, Sasson (Cooper Wylie), 18:59, en. Penalties – Sam Renlund, DM (major fighting), 2:19, Matt Argentina, Wat (major elbowing), 2:19, Tucker Ness, Wat (major fighting), 2:19. John Driscoll, DM (roughing), 5:38, Michael LaStarza, Wat (slashing), 7:56, Matt Choupani, DM (slashing), 12:49. Noah Ellis, DM (unsportsmanlike conduct), 16:00, LaStarza, Wat (unsportsmanlike conduct), 16:00.

SHOTS ON GOAL

Des Moines 9 7 18 — 34

Waterloo 17 12 11 — 40

Goalies – Des Moines, Derek Mullahy (34 Saves). Waterloo, Charlie Glockner (31Saves). Referees – Caleb Andrade, Tyler Hascall. Linesmen – Michael Ifkovits, Eric Arrigo.

0
0
0
0
0

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News