Posted 323 days ago ago by David Fine
Kearney, Neb. – The Tri-City Storm slammed the Waterloo Black Hawks, 5-3, in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals to advance to the Clark Cup Finals for the first time since 2004 on Tuesday at the Viaero Center.
Jake Wahlin had the Storm’s last two goals and Tri-City overcame a 2-1 deficit by scoring four of the last five. Wahlin’s empty-net goal sent the home crowd into a frenzy with one minute remaining.
Brandon Duhaime finished with a goal and two points for the second straight game. Wade Allison and Max Humitz also scored. Carson Meyer and Alex Limoges each added a pair of assists.
Jake Kielly had 35 saves in the win, while Cale Morris lost with 31 saves.
Tri-City is seeking its first Clark Cup, where it matches up against Dubuque in Game 1 on Friday, May 13. The Fighting Saints have won the Clark Cup twice since returning to the USHL in 2010.
Tri-City changed the game with a run of three straight goals from the early second until the early third, catapulting it to a two-goal edge.
The blast came quickly once the second began. Wade Allison, from a tough angle below the right circle, sniped a shot over Cale Morris’ glove hand. Alex Limoges earned the only assist by passing to Allison up the right wing. The goal tied the game at two 48 seconds into the second.
Tri-City took its second penalty, a Dan Labosky high sticking, but a Waterloo turnover at the point resulted in a 2-on-1 and a deking goal from Brandon Duhaime to seize the Storm’s lead back, 3-2. At 3:59 of the second and shorthanded, Duhaime and Carson Meyer gained the puck and broke in. Duhaime put the puck behind Anderson’s leg, swaggered around the defenseman in front of the net, reached and lifted it over Morris’s right shoulder.
Meyer took the only helper on Duhaime’s second of the postseason. The 18-year-old Duhaime is from Parkland, Florida and has six points in the playoffs.
At 17 seconds of the third, Wahlin seized the puck from Cale Morris and shot it by the goalie at the slot for his first of the game. The forward has four goals and eight points this playoffs. Duhaime and Meyer took the helpers. Meyer has five goals and 11 points this season, most on the Storm.
Michael Davies scored for Waterloo with 2:13 left, but 1:11 later, Wahlin shot it into the empty net, sealing Waterloo’s fate.
The building rumbled with the Storm’s opening goal at 1:37 from Max Humitz on a baseball shot. The left-handed shot teed it up just outside of the crease after Walker Duehr threw it in the air net front. Joe Cipollone received the second assist.
Humitz, 20, has three goals this postseason and five career Clark Cup Playoff goals. He is the most-experienced Tri-City player, playing in 206 combined games between Lincoln, Muskegon and Tri-City.
Liam Pecararo and Collin Saccoman struck back and took the lead in a 3:05 span. Pecararo scored at 9:01 on the power play, while Saccoman blasted a slap shot from Ronnie Hein through Kielly to give Waterloo the edge.
The first two games of the Clark Cup Finals are Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14 in Dubuque. The Storm is home for Game 3 at the Viaero Center on Friday, May 20 at 7:05 p.m. and Game 4, if necessary, on Saturday, May 21.
Storm postseason games can be heard on The Breeze 94.5 FM – kliqfm.com. Coverage begins 15 minutes before puck drop for games one and two with the Viaero Wireless Pregame Show.
Western Conference Finals Schedule:
#3 Waterloo Black Hawks vs. #1 Tri-City Storm
GAME 1: Friday, April 29, 7:05 p.m. (Viaero Center) – Tri-City 4, Waterloo 0
GAME 2: Saturday, April 30, 7:05 p.m. (Viaero Center) – Waterloo 3, Tri-City 1
GAME 3: Friday, May 6, 7:05 p.m. (Young Arena) – Tri-City 3, Waterloo 0
GAME 4: Saturday, May 7, 7:05 p.m. (Young Arena) – Waterloo 7, Tri-City 4
GAME 5: Tuesday, May 10, 7:05 p.m. (Viaero Center) – Tri-City 5, Waterloo 3
Purchase playoff tickets here (http://bit.ly/Storm_Tickets).