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By Nick Blaesser, 04/16/22, 11:45PM CDT


Another Solid Start By Tommy Heaney In Waterloo Lead The Lancers To A Two-Goal Victory.

WATERLOO, IA. – After falling at home to the now Anderson Cup Champion Tri-City Storm, the Lancers headed west to take on the Waterloo Black Hawks as they hope to clinch home ice advantage for the opening round of the 2022 Clark Cup Playoffs playoffs.

Waterloo is only 1-3-0-1 against the Lancers this season, with their lone victory coming in shootout fashion back at the halfway mark of the season. But with the Black Hawks battling it out for fifth place in the west with the Fargo Force and coming off three straight wins, they are bound to be a test for the Lancers who come into this game 2-8-0-0 in their last ten games.

The Lancers had a solid start in this one, applying pressure in the attacking zone in the opening minutes and putting up four shots on goal in the opening six minutes.

It was not until Tanner Rowe and Jared Wright picked up a penalty each in the same two-minute span, triggering the momentum change.

After the Lancers killed off both penalties, they no longer had control of the period. Outside of a handful of rushes into the attacking zone off blocked shots, it was all Waterloo as the period ended with a 10-5 shot count with the Lancers trailing.

The lone goal of the period came on the power-play, off the stick of Cooper Wylie after feeds from Gavin O’Connell and Sam Rinzel. A shot through traffic beat Omaha goalie Tommy Heaney down low, giving the Black Hawks the 1-0 lead.

Mateo Picozzi picked up a five-minute major for cross-checking and a game misconduct, leading to the goal by Wylie.

The Lancers found the back of the net just over eight minutes into the second period of play.

Right as it looked like Waterloo was starting a play setup in the offensive zone while shorthanded, Cam Mitchell broke up the play and took the puck end-to-end. He had the option to make a pass to Evan Werner on the back door, but opted to shoot and ended up beating Waterloo netminder, Emmett Croteau over the blocker hand, tying the game 1-1.

Omaha struck again with just 1:31 left in the second period as a shot from Alex Bump from the blue line was knocked down and tipped by Morgan Winters before Kennedy O’Connor picked up the loose puck and buried a wraparound to take the 2-1 lead as the teams headed to the second intermission.

Scoring was silent until the Black Hawks pulled Croteau from the net for the extra attacker.

18:42 into the third period, Tucker Shedd got the puck off a face off win by Winters and sent the puck 200 feet into the empty net to make it a 3-1 lead for the Lancers.

However, Waterloo was not throwing in the towel yet.

After pulling Croteau a second time, the Black Hawks got things going in the attacking end of the ice. John Waldron found Ray Fust near the blue line, who then made a tape-to-tape pass with Cooper Wylie. Wylie ripped a 58-foot shot through traffic that redirected into the far side of the net, making it a 3-2 game with 40 ticks remaining.

With the net still empty at the Waterloo end, the Lancers went for lengthy empty net shots, but missed both times, resulting in icing calls.

After some back-and-forth play in the neutral zone, Shedd got a pass from Mitchell at his own blue line and netted his second empty netter of the night, making it a 4-2 game with one second left on the clock, as the Lancers took the victory.

Tommy Heaney was stellar all night between the pipes for Omaha, stopping 28 of 30 shots faced. Very similar to his 3-2 victory in Waterloo back on March 13th where he stopped 34 of 36 shots faced.

With this win, the Lancers secured home ice advantage for the opening round of the 2022 Clark Cup Playoffs, as they now wait to find out if they will be taking on the Waterloo Black Hawks, or the Fargo Force who are still duking it out for fifth place in the western conference.

The Lancers enter their final weekend of the regular season with a home-and-home series with the Sioux City Musketeers, who clinched the first round bye tonight with their 3-1 win against the Des Moines Buccaneers. Puck drop for game one of the weekend will be on Friday, April 22nd at 7:05PM CST at Liberty First Credit Union Arena. That game can be caught on Mixlr and HockeyTV.