Saturday night’s 6-4 Waterloo Black Hawks win against the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-17s at Young Arena moved the home team into sole control of first place in the United States Hockey League Western Conference.
Waterloo had started the night tied with the Omaha Lancers at 66 standings points. Omaha was idle Saturday.

The Hawks twice established leads in the first period, but the U-17s answered in both instances. For the second consecutive evening, Waterloo scored in the first minute of the game. At the 46-second mark, Sam Huff snapped in a shot from the top of the left circle, set up by Bobby Trivigno. The visitors got the goal back at 2:18; a blocked shot created an opportunity for John Farinacci to catch Jared Moe leaning the wrong way.

Jack Drury put Waterloo back ahead at 12:36. Jackson Cates found him with a diagonal pass across the slot during a power play, and Drury lifted his shot between the pipes from the right circle. The lead lasted until the period clock showed 13.6 seconds remaining. That’s when Drew Helleson stole a clearing attempt and scored through traffic on a wrister from the right point.

The back-and-forth continued in the second, beginning 28 seconds after intermission when Garrett Wait tipped in a shot out of the corner by Cates. Waterloo then established a two-goal lead for the first time at 5:03; Trivigno received a handoff and dashed to the net through the right circle, beating Cameron Rowe to the stick side.
In the middle of the period, the U-17s erased the lead in a 50-second span. Erik Middendorf cashed in on a two-on-one at 9:49. Less than a minute later, Trevor Zegras was sprung for a breakaway goal.

However, the Hawks wrestled their way back in front. At 12:07, Ben Copeland tied up the puck on the left wing boards, then gained control long enough to create a centering feed. Wait kicked the puck to his stick at the top of the crease and slipped a shot past Rowe after the netminder overcommitted. Evan Dougherty finished the scoring by finishing a fancy passing play. In transition at 17:09, Joey Cassetti moved the puck to Garrett Klee, who fired it across the top of the crease where Dougherty was waiting on the back side.

Waterloo held on during a scoreless third. Moe picked up the win with 28 saves.
The Hawks head out of town for one of three remaining road games Friday. After clinching the three-team Dupaco Cowbell Cup series earlier this month, Waterloo visits the Dubuque Fighting Saints hoping to add to their advantage in the Cup standings.

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