A late flurry allowed the Waterloo Black Hawks to pull ahead of the Fargo Force for a 6-4 victory in Game Three of the best-of-five playoff series between the teams Sunday at Young Arena.
The victory gives Waterloo a 2-1 lead in the series. The goals which made the difference came with under eight minutes to play. Trailing 4-3, Chris Leibinger received a tipped pass at the left dot and lifted a shot past Brendan Harms as the goaltender scrambled from left to right. Ryan Papa put the Hawks ahead for good 1:23 later, stuffing in the rebound from a J.T. Stenglein chance at 13:43, before Vince Hinostroza sealed the contest, completing a hat trick into an empty net with 50 seconds left on the clock.
Fargo had capitalized in transition just after a successful penalty kill 15:20 into the game. Neal Goff swiped a puck at center after coming out of the box, and the rebound of his shot was put into the net by Brendan Harms. On a power play of their own with 13.2 seconds remaining in the period, Gavin Bayreuther was able to step toward the net and score off the glove of goaltender Cal Petersen.
Waterloo roared back in the second, but took the lead for just 35 seconds. Hinostroza started the comeback shortly after a power play had ended, playing a bounce off the end boards at 12:47 and stuffing a chance past the post at the right of Jensen. On a power play 1:26 later, Hinostroza struck again when Mark Friedman slipped a pass from the right point to the bottom of the left wing circle. On the ensuing shift, Taylor Fleming was given a major penalty and game misconduct for head contact, when he ran over Zach Stepan at the Waterloo blue line. It took Friedman just 25 seconds to put Waterloo ahead with a shot over Jensen's glove, but Fargo tied it shorthanded less than a minute after that, with Jordan Nelson flipping his own rebound over Petersen's left pad.
Austin Ortega put the Force ahead again for much of the third period, scoring at 1:56 after receiving Dave Gust's deflected shot.
The Hawks outshot Fargo 48-36. Petersen made 32 stops in the win, while Jensen turned away 42 opportunities. Hinostroza's hat trick was the eleventh in Waterloo postseason history.
Game Four in the best-of-five series will also be at Young Arena on Tuesday night at 7:05. Tickets for the matchup are available from waterlooblackhawks.com or by calling the Black Hawks Box Office at (319) 291-7680. If necessary, Game Five would be in Fargo Wednesday.