A recap of Friday night playoff action in the USHL.
Waterloo Black Hawks 3 @ Sioux City Musketeers 4 (OT)
(Waterloo leads series 2-1)
Joel L’Esperance scored in overtime as the Musketeers took Game Three and pushed the Western Conference Final to a fourth game. It was a scoreless over the first 20 minutes of play as Sioux City goaltender Collin Olson and Waterloo netminder Cal Petersen combined to stop all 13 shots that came on net. The second period saw a flurry of action as the teams combined to score four goals in less than three minutes of game action. Adam Johnson started it just under five minutes into the period with his first goal of the series. Waterloo responded less than two minutes later with a Dane Cooper, the first playoff goal for the defenseman. Sioux City had a quick answer as Johnson scored his second of the night, and fourth of the playoffs, only 22 seconds later. Then only 50 seconds later, Waterloo tied the game on the third goal of the postseason for Liam Pecararo.
With just over seven minutes to go in the third period, Avery Peterson put the Musketeers on top with his fifth goal of the playoffs, tying him for the USHL lead in the postseason. Sioux City appeared to be on their way to victory, but Waterloo pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker in the final moments of the period and Brandon Montour buried the equalizer with just four seconds on the clock to force overtime. It was the fifth goal of the playoffs for the Waterloo defenseman. Both goaltenders made some incredible saves in the overtime session, but L’Esperance finally broke through nearly 17 minutes into extra time to keep the season alive for Sioux City. It was the first playoff goal for L’Esperance.
The teams return to the ice on Sunday night for Game Four in Sioux City.
Indiana Ice 3 @ Dubuque Fighting Saints 2
(Indiana wins series 3-0)
The first goal of the postseason for Joe Sullivan proved to be the game-winner as the Ice won Game Three and swept Dubuque in the Eastern Conference Final series. The Saints got on the scoreboard early as Seamus Malone converted on the power play just over four minutes into the contest. It was his third goal of the postseason. The second period would belong to the Ice as Scott Conway and Alex Talcott scored goals less than three minutes apart midway through the period to make it a 2-1 score. It was the second goal of the series for Conway and first career playoff tally for Talcott.
Just over five minutes into the third period, Joe Sullivan extended the lead for Indiana with his first career playoff goal. Dubuque pulled their goaltender in favor of the extra attacker near the end of the period and Jacob Benson scored with just over a minute to play, pulling the Saints within a goal. It was his third goal of the series and fourth of the playoffs. Indiana would hold off a final charge from the Saints to close out the game and win the series. Indiana was out-shot in the contest 24-14. Goaltender Jason Pawloski made 22 saves to record his fifth playoff win while Kevin Reich had 11 stops in the loss.
Indiana advances to the Clark Cup Final series for the first time since 2009 when they won the championship. They await the winner of the Western Conference Final.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 12th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2013-14. A record 32 players were chosen in the 2013 NHL Draft and more than 300 players on team rosters last season have committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com or visit the League’s social media platforms, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/ushlhockey), twitter (www.twitter.com/ushl), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/ushlinteractive). Fans can also watch USHL action all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com).
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