Ralston, Neb. - Justin Kloos registered five assists and J.T. Stenglein pitched in four points of his own as the Waterloo Black Hawks overwhelmed the Omaha Lancers 8-1 Saturday evening in front of 3,863 fans at Ralston Arena. The loss snapped Omaha's five-game winning streak as the team moved to 22-17 on the year and maintained sole possession of fifth place in the Western Conference with 44 standings points. The Lancers remain just one point back of the Lincoln Stars for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West following Lincoln's 3-2 loss in Fargo. The standing room-only crowd marked the eighth sellout in 18 games for the Lancers at Ralston Arena.
Waterloo grabbed the game's opening goal just under nine minutes into the first period when, during the team's second power play of the opening frame, Kloos fed a cross-ice pass to the back door which was promptly punched in Mike Huntebrinker for his fifth goal of the season. Ian McCoshen earned the secondary assist on the man-advantage marker netted 8:46 into the first period, which produced the Black Hawks' league-leading 26th first goal this season. The power play goal against was the first such goal surrendered by the Lancers over the last six games. Omaha bounced right back and evened the game just over a minute later when Matt Gaudreau landed his fourth goal of the season from just atop the goal crease. Kyle Osterberg and Niklas Folin assisted on the even strength strike netted 10:07 into the opening period of play. Waterloo regained the lead just over four minutes later when a takeaway on the half boards by Kloos produced a centering pass into the slot which was quickly converted by Zach Stepan for his 18th goal of the year.
The Black Hawks swelled their lead and began to pull away with a trio of goals in the second period. First, in the midst of a five-minute major power play after a checking from behind penalty against Omaha's Nash Worden, Stenglein swept in his 20th goal of the season 7:42 into the middle stanza. Then, after forcing a takeaway in the attacking end, Waterloo claimed a 4-1 advantage 16:10 into the period after successfully converting a three-on-one opportunity that produced Taylor Cammarata's 24th goal of the year. The Black Hawks capped their explosive frame in the final minute of the middle stanza when Stepan spun a wrist shot from the half boards through traffic and past Lancers goaltender Alex Lyon for his second goal of the game and 19th of the season.
Waterloo then put the game away with another three unanswered goals in the third period. Ryan Papa notched the first two conversions with his 12th goal of the season 2:17 into the frame followed by his 13th goal of the year 9:11 into the period. The Black Hawks then landed the final salvo of the night 11:38 into the third when Huntebrinker redirected in another power play goal for his second conversation of the game and sixth of the year.
Waterloo's Eamon McAdam earned the victory in goal after 20 saves on 21 Lancers shots. With the win, the veteran goaltender improved to 13-4-1 on the year. Meanwhile, Lyon suffered the loss after 21 saves on 26 shots in 40 minutes of crease duty. In relief of Lyon in the third period, Cole Bruns took a no-decision after six saves on nine shots.
The Lancers are back in action this Wednesday evening when the team concludes its four-game home stand at Ralston Arena with a 7:05 PM showdown against the Sioux Falls Stampede.
Waterloo - Mike Huntebrinker (power play) (Justin Kloos, Ian McCoshen) 8:64
Omaha - Matt Gaudreau (Kyle Osterberg, Niklas Folin) 10:07
Waterloo - Zach Stepan (Justin Kloos) 14:12
Waterloo - J.T. Stenglein (power play) (Zach Stepan, Justin Kloos) 7:42
Waterloo - Taylor Cammarata (J.T. Stenglein, Justin Kloos) 16:10
Waterloo - Zach Stepan (Victor Newell, Justin Kloos) 19:04
Waterloo - Ryan Papa (J.T. Stenglein, Vince Hinostroza) 2:17
Waterloo - Ryan Papa (J.T. Stenglein, Vince Hinostroza) 9:11
Waterloo - Mike Huntebrinker (power play) (Victor Newell, Dane Cooper) 11:38
Waterloo - 12, 14, 9 - Total 35
Omaha - 6, 4, 11 - Total 21
Waterloo - Eamon McAdam (win) 20 (21 shots)
Omaha - Alex Lyon (loss) 21 (26 shots), Cole Bruns (no decision) 6 (9 shots)