WATERLOO -- Jack Drury scored twice and the Waterloo Black Hawks feasted on the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, 5-2, Thursday for their fourth consecutive United States Hockey League victory.
Waterloo scored four times in the second period as it won its third straight at home after losing its first five games inside Young Arena.
"I thought we played well. It was a hard-fought game," Black Hawks head coach P.K. O'Handley said. "I don't think the score was indicative of how hard that game was."
After a scoreless first period, Waterloo (10-6-0) took control in the second period, but only after the Black Hawks had fallen behind.
Cedar Rapids (6-7-0) started the second period with a two-man advantage and just as a Waterloo player was coming out of the box to get the Black Hawks one man down, Marek Valach found the back of the net just 21 seconds into the period.
However, it was all Waterloo the rest of the period as the Black Hawks reeled off four unanswered goals.
"We had some guys make some plays in crucial moments," O'Handley said. "We talk about big moments, and I thought generally this week, in big moments, either defensively or offensively, we've made plays."
Garrett Wait finished a slick, tic-tac-toe play started by defenseman Kyle Koopman. He got the puck to Drury, who backhanded it to Bobby Trivigno, who then flipped it backhanded to Wait, who then fired a wicked wrist shot past Cedar Rapids goalie Blake Pietila.
Drury then put Waterloo ahead for good when he was pulled down from behind on a short-handed breakaway attempt and was awarded a penalty shot.
"They brought a good push at the start. I think everyone was a little nervous for the Thanksgiving day game, it's a big game," Drury said. "But it was good to see us get it done in the second period and push from there."
The Black Hawks extended their lead to 3-1 and then 4-1 on two more nice plays. Ethan Johnson stole a pass in neutral ice to create a two-on-one. His initial shot was saved, but Matej Blumel pounced on the rebound and buried it.
"We've been working hard on our offense, and it is good to see some guys get paid for their hard work," O'Handley said. "We have been moving the puck better from the back end to the front and that is what it is going to take."
Drury capped the second period scoring when he redirected a Jackson Cates shot for a power-play goal with 3:09 left in the period. Cates added his eighth of the season with 12:32 left in the third to extend Waterloo's lead to 5-1.
Black Hawks goaltender Jared Moe turned aside 20 shots for his sixth win.
For Waterloo, after a rough mid-October to early-November stretch that saw them go 2-5, the fourth win in a row shows that hard work is starting to pay dividends.
"I think during that rough patch we learned a lot about our team," Drury said. "It brought us closer together, and we worked hard in practice and the coaching staff did a great job of getting us back to playing the way we want to play."
The Black Hawks and RoughRiders tangle again Saturday in Cedar Rapids.