Waterloo, IA—A goal with 0.6 seconds left in the second period broke a 2-2 tie and propelled the Waterloo Black Hawks to a 6-3 victory over the Stampede in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals. The Stampede trail the best-of-five series now 2 games to 0 with Game 3 set for this Thursday at the Sioux Falls Arena. Tony Calderone, C.J. Franklin and R.J. Majkozak all scored for the Stampede while Art Brey stopped 35 shots in goal.
The series picked up right where it left off Friday night as both teams skated well and provided end-to-end high pace action. The Herd grabbed the first goal of the game and the first lead of the series when Tony Calderone scored 14:20 in. Eduard Simun won a faceoff draw in the Waterloo zone back to Calderone who wristed a shot just inside the right circle past the glove side of Hawks netminder Cal Peterson. The lead didn’t last long though as Waterloo responded just 41 seconds later when Drew Melanson took the puck in the high slot and wristed a shot past the glove side of Stampede goaltender Art Brey to make it a 1-1 game. Waterloo outshot the Herd 14-13 in the first.
The second period proved to be just as entertaining as the first one as the tempo remained high and both teams had several good scoring chances. Sioux Falls regained their one goal lead just 3:45 into the period when C.J. Franklin cashed in with a power play goal. Garrett Cecere blasted a shot from the high slot that was stopped by Peterson, but Franklin was on the doorstep and backhanded the puck into the back of the net. Much like the first goal for the Stampede, the Hawks responded just seconds later scoring at 4:18 when Blake Winiecki’s wrister found the back of the net.
The rest of the period went back-and-forth with both teams exchanging some great scoring changes. Art Brey made a pad stacking save with 5:37 remaining in the period to keep the game 2-2 late into the period. Just as the period appeared to be over the Black Hawks took a page out of the University of Minnesota’s book and scored with just 0.6 seconds remaining to take a 3-2 lead into the locker room. Blake Winiecki chased down a loose puck in the right wing boards and sent a pass through the slot where Patrick Russell skated down and lifted the puck past Brey who tried to poke check it away.
That gave Waterloo momentum into the third period and they took advantage. The Hawks took a two-goal lead just 3:01 into the period when Jake Horton slapped in a pass from John Witala to make it 4-2. Three minutes later the Black Hawks went on their fourth power play of the night and this time they made the Stampede pay as Zach Sanford took a pass in the slot and sent the puck over the left shoulder of Brey and into the back of the net to give Waterloo a 5-2 edge. The Herd pulled back into the game at 7:29 when Eduard Simun drove down the right wing boards, wristed a shot that went off Peterson and bounced into the crease where R.J. Majkozak dove in and knocked the puck into the back of the net to pull the Herd within a goal. Sioux Falls pulled Brey with two minutes left for an extra attacker, but Tyler Sheehy tallied an empty net goal to seal the game at 6-3.
Waterloo outshot the Stampede 41-28 on the night and finished 1-for-4 on the power play while the Herd were 1-for-3.
The series now shifts to Sioux Falls this Thursday where the Stampede must win or their season will come to an end. Game time is 7:05 PM at the Sioux Falls Arena and tickets are available through the Sioux Falls Arena Box Office or any Ticketmaster location. The first 3,000 fans through the doors will receive a FREE Stampede playoff rally towel. A win on Thursday would force a Game 4 in Sioux Falls on Friday night.
Courtesy: Sioux Falls Stampede Jim Olander