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USHL Hockey: Waterloo crushes Stars, win fifth straight

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The Waterloo Black Hawks' Garrett Schifskey deflects a puck on net Friday in a USHL game with the Lincoln Stars at Young Arena. 

WATERLOO — Waterloo dominated from start to finish to rout the Lincoln Stars, 6-2, and win its fifth straight United States Hockey League Game Friday at Young Arena, remaining perfect in the month of November.

Black Hawks head coach Matt Smaby said he was pleased with the way his team has responded to a 2-4-0 start and gotten better throughout the season.

“Our team game is starting to come,” Smaby said. “Our systems are starting to come together. When that happens and we match that with the work, this group plays some good hockey games. I have been really happy with the results, but also the process of how we have been getting better.”

The first period belonged to the Black Hawks.

After the Stars controlled the puck for the first minute of action, Waterloo took control of the puck and dominated possession for the remainder of the frame.

However, despite outshooting Lincoln 18-2, the Black Hawks did not find the back of the net including failing on a pair of power play opportunities.

In the second period, Waterloo’s momentum from the first period appeared to dry up completely as Lincoln took the lion’s share of early opportunities.


Waterloo Black Hawks forward David Klee (91) celebrates his second period goal with teammate Zach Bade. The goal was Klee's first United States Hockey League goal and helped the Black Hawks to a 6-2 win over the Lincoln Stars at Young Arena Nov. 18. 

Lincoln’s puck possession resulted in a two minute minor penalty for holding on Waterloo forward Garrett Schifsky.

The Black Hawks managed to kill the penalty off, but, before Shifsky could rejoin the play, Lincoln forward Jack Larigan slipped a pass behind Waterloo netminder Jack Spicer and with15:59 remaining in the period, Stars forward Daniel Sambuco managed to jam the puck into the net for a 1-0 lead

Smaby said he told his team to focus on “all the good things” that they were doing despite falling behind early in the period.

“We were out-chancing them by a ton,” Smaby said. “We had a ton of shots on net in the first period. We just got to stick with it. There was a lot of hockey left at that point. We had the feeling if we are going to get one, we are going to get a couple after that. It was just a matter of staying patient and not getting sick of playing our game.”

Trailing 1-0, Waterloo returned to first period form and knotted up the score three minutes later at the 12:17 mark of the frame. Shifsky, who had just exited the penalty box following a second minor, buried a feed from Owen Baker for Waterloo’s first tally of the game.

Waterloo continued to apply the pressure and, three minutes later, broke the 1-1 tie.

Zach Bade forced a Stars turnover at the top of the attacking zone. Bade lost control of the puck into the corner where Flynn corralled it. Flynn fed the puck to Rinzel in the high slot who sent the puck on net.

Forward David Klee cleaned up the rebound for his first goal of the season.

“It is pretty special,” Klee said. “I have been wanting that for a bunch of games now. For it to come is very nice and against [the Stars] too feels good.”


Waterloo Black Hawk David Klee punches his first USHL goal past Lincoln Star goalie Cameron Whitehead Friday during the second period at Young Arena. 

Four minutes later, facing a 5-on-4 man advantage in favor of Lincoln, Waterloo forward Myles Hilman beat Lincoln defenseman Cole Crusberg-Roseen to a loose puck. Hilman deked Whitehead and buried the short-handed backhand to put Waterloo ahead 3-1.

The Black Hawks scoring explosion continued as defenseman Aaron Pionk found the back of the net thanks to some pretty passing by Klee and Bade.

Leading 4-1, Waterloo earned a rare 5-on-3 man advantage as Lincoln defensemen DJ Hart and Crusberg-Roseen took minor penalties with 1:58 left in the second period.

After Lincoln managed to clear the puck with 20 seconds left on the clock, Spicer came out of the net to start the rush for Waterloo. Spicer made a pass to Rinzel who found forward James Hong knifing through the Stars triangle defense.

Hong took two strides into the attack zone before ripping a shot passed Whitehead low to the left side to put Waterloo on top 5-1 with 8.2 left in the period.


Waterloo's Patrick Geary (18) and goalie Jack Spicer keep an eye on a rolling puck Friday during the second period against the Lincoln Stars at Young Arena. 

Despite a four-goal advantage, Smaby said the Black Hawks did not enter the third period content with sitting on their lead.

“We do not play it safe,” Smaby said. “We do not sit back. Our systems are to develop pressure. When we are doing that, we are creating chances and offense. That is the game plan all the way through.”

Facing a new netminder as Lincoln bench Whitehead in favor of Lucas Massie for the final 20 minutes, Waterloo wasted no time extending its lead in the third period.

On a 2-on-2 rush, Shifsky took the outside and carried his defender into the corner. Gavin O’Connell managed to get some separation from his defender and buried a one-time pass from Shifsky to take a 6-1 lead with 17:46 remaining in regulation.

Lincoln added a goal at the 10:38 mark of the period as Carson Bydens found the back of the net off an assist from Marcellus and Antonio Fernandez.

However, Waterloo locked down the ice for the remainder of the game and hung on for a 6-2 win—its fifth in a row.


Waterloo Black Hawks' goalie Jack Spicer snares a puck of midair Friday during the second period against the Lincoln Stars at Young Arena. 

The Black Hawks turn right back around to take on the Stars on the road. According to Smaby, a repeat performance depends on the Black Hawks bringing the same level of energy.

“I thought we had a great first period because we were skating and working,” Smaby said. “That will be the challenge for us tomorrow—to match that energy level. When we are doing those things—skating and working—we usually put ourselves in a good spot.”

In addition to its fifth straight win, Friday night marked Waterloo’s first game since defenseman Tyler Procious was named the clubs captain. According to Smaby, Procious does a lot of the “right things” and has the respect of his teammates.

“We have given it some time to build—our leadership group,” Smaby said. “It was pretty resounding that he has the respect of all of his teammates. He has done a really good job.”

Waterloo 6, Lincoln 2


Lincoln 0 1 1 — 2

Waterloo 0 5 1 – 6

FIRST PERIOD – No scoring. Penalties – Marcellus, Lin (Interference), 11:00, Buckberger, Lin (Hooking), 15:46.

SECOND PERIOD – 1. Lincoln, Daniel Sambuco (Jack Larigan, DJ Hart), 4:01, 1. Waterloo, Garrett Shifsky (Owen Baker), 7:43, 2. Waterloo, David Klee (Sam Rinzel, Oliver Flynn), 11:00, 3. Waterloo, Myles Hillman (Owen Baker), 4:14, 4. Waterloo, Aaron Pionk (David Klee, Zach Bade), 1:58, 5. Waterloo, James Hong (Sam Rinzel, Jack Spicer), 19:52, pp. Penalties – Schifsky, Wat (Holding), 18:06, Shifsky, Wat (Charging), 14:12, Rinzel, Wat (Slashing), 14:10, Crusberg-Roseen, Lin (Hooking), 18:42, Hart, Lin (Slashing), 18:42.

THIRD PERIOD—6. Waterloo, Gavin O’Connell (Garrett Shifsky, Gavin Lindberg), 2:14, 2. Lincoln, Carson Buydens (Mason Marcellus, Antonio Fernandez), 9:23. Penalties – Sparkes, Lin (Elbowing), 13:32, Klee, Wat (Checking from Behind), 17:42.


Lincoln 2 13 13 — 28

Waterloo 18 14 11 — 45

Goalies – Lincoln, Cameron Whitehead (34 shots, 29 saves), Lucas Massie (11 shots, 10 saves). Waterloo, Jack Spicer (28 shots, 26 saves).


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