WATERLOO--Waterloo Black Hawks defensemen had a hand in all four of the team’s Thanksgiving night goals during a 4-1 win against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders at Young Arena.
The Hawks have now won seven consecutive games, the team’s longest streak since a run of the same duration to open the 2019/20 schedule. Thursday’s matchup also concluded an eight-game homestand. By posting a 7-1-0 mark during that time, Waterloo has climbed into a second place tie in the USHL Western Conference.
The annual Thanksgiving Teddy Bear Toss began sooner than ever before, thanks to defenseman Tyler Procious. His goal came just 24 seconds into the action, sparking the shower of bears. Myles Hilman set up Owen Baker on a rush, but netminder Bruno Bruveris turned away the attempt. Undeterred, Hilman got the puck back and connected with Procious trailing the play. The Hawks’ captain scored from the left circle, putting in his shot off a RoughRider defender.
Just over nine minutes later, Waterloo struck for another transition score. Gavin O’Connell and Gavin Lindberg dodged each other at the Cedar Rapids line and stayed just onside. O’Connell was the puck carrier and moved to the top of the right circle. Lindberg went to the net, tipping O’Connell’s pass up and in. Sam Rinzel had the second assist.
The Hawks added two more goals in the first seven minutes of the second period. The RoughRiders gave Waterloo space on a three-on-two rush, and that left Connor Brown with room to blast in an uncontested one-timer at 2:10. Jake McLean dished the pass to Brown above the right hashmark, and Aaron Pionk made the breakout pass.
Pionk later fired in the fourth and final Hawks goal at 6:26. His shot from the left point just missed Bruveris’ head and sent the water bottle behind him sailing into the end boards.
Goaltender Jack Spicer came within five-and-a-half minutes of his first USHL shutout. Zaccharya Wisdom put in a shot from the slot at 14:30 of the third period. However, Spicer stopped 22 other chances in the victory. Waterloo was also a perfect five-for-five on the penalty kill.
The Black Hawks’ only road game during a seven-week span is Saturday when Waterloo travels to meet Cedar Rapids. That rematch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. The Hawks then return home on December 2nd to host the Sioux Falls Stampede, also beginning at 7:05 p.m.
Cedar Rapids 0 0 1 - 1
Waterloo 2 2 0 - 4
1st Period-1, Waterloo, Procious 2 (Hilman, Baker), 0:24. 2, Waterloo, Lindberg 5 (O'Connell, Rinzel), 9:34. Penalties-Hong Wat (tripping), 6:31; Geary Wat (slashing), 11:05.
2nd Period-3, Waterloo, Brown 4 (McLean, Pionk), 2:10. 4, Waterloo, Pionk 5 (Rinzel, McLean), 6:26. Penalties-Lesakowski Cr (head contact), 7:52; Flynn Wat (kneeing), 10:54; Bassen Cr (roughing), 17:55.
3rd Period-5, Cedar Rapids, Wisdom 9 (Gross, O'Connell), 14:30. Penalties-Flynn Wat (slashing), 10:44; Bade Wat (tripping), 15:00.
Shots on Goal-Cedar Rapids 4-8-11-23. Waterloo 13-6-11-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Cedar Rapids 0 / 5; Waterloo 0 / 2.
Goalies-Cedar Rapids, Bruveris 7-4-1-0 (15 shots-11 saves); Scopa 0-3-1-0 (15 shots-15 saves). Waterloo, Spicer 6-0-0-0 (23 shots-22 saves).
Referees-Hunter Mottinger, David Lilly.
Linesmen-Reilly Hickey, Brent Gawlik.