Scott Conway and Josh Jacobs scored early to give the Ice a 2-0 lead, but Waterloo tied the game in the second and Blake Winiecki scored the game-winning goal off a rebound with 6:11 left.
Game 2 of the best-of-5 series is at 8:05 p.m. Saturday in Waterloo.
Conway's third playoff goal gave the Ice a 1-0 lead early in the game, scoring off Dwyer Tschantz's assist just 2:31 in. Things looked pretty good as the Ice had a solid first period, and then jumped ahead 2-0 when Brian Pinho drew the puck back to Josh Jacobs, whose point blast made it 2-0 at 5:09 of the second.
The two-goal lead lasted just 1:22, as Hayden Shaw scored in a goalmouth scramble. Four minutes later, Tyler Sheehy scored off some unfortunate puck luck for the Ice in front. The Ice appeared to take the lead later in the period, but the referee ruled that Waterloo goaltender Cal Petersen had covered the puck in a goalmouth scramble before the puck was jammed into the net -- despite the protests from the Ice coaches.
The Ice also had an early third-period power play, but were unable to take the advantage.
Winiecki's goal came off some more fortunate luck for Waterloo. Tied 2-2, the Ice had the puck and pressure in the Waterloo zone when an Ice player's helmet came off, forcing a stoppage and a faceoff in the Ice zone. Off the draw, Jason Pawloski made a save on Derek Pratt's shot, but Winiecki potted the rebound with 6:11 left.
The Ice generated a few chances, but Jake Horton scored a late empty-netter to seal it.
All three periods were evenly-played. Waterloo outshot the Ice 35-33. Each goaltender made 31 saves.
- The game came as advertised -- the two best teams in the USHL playing a close game, each pressing the advantage when able to get in on the forecheck and make things happen around the net.
- Two goals -- Jacobs' tally to put the Ice up 2-0 and Winiecki's game-winner -- came directly off offensive-zone faceoff wins. In a closely-contested series, faceoffs end up becoming critical because they're opportunities to generate rare good scoring chances off set plays.
- The Scott Conway line continues its hot play. Skating with Denis Smirnov and Dwyer Tschantz, it produced the game's first goal. Jake Pritchard-Brian Pinho-Aidan Muir also has been a puck-possession line in the playoffs and produced the second goal. Those two lines have provided the Ice's offense in the playoffs. Conway's goal was his team-high eighth point of the playoffs.
- Tonight marked the first time Pawloski had allowed more than two goals in a game this postseason. Waterloo has scored at least three in every playoff game.
- The Ice need to take one game in Waterloo to seize home-ice advantage. While a win tonight would've been nice, a split is what a team hopes to come away with in the first two games on the road. Game 2 is 24 hours away.
- Pinho and defenseman Timothy Shoup led the Ice with four shots each.
- For the most part, the Ice kept the game 5-on-5 -- taking two early penalties, and killing both off. The Ice had one unsuccessful third-period power play. Waterloo came into the game with a PP clicking at 32.5 percent in the playoffs (and a shade more than 25 percent in the regular season).
- For Waterloo, forwards Hayden Shaw and Tyler Sheehy each had a goal and an assist. They scored the second-period goals that tied the game. Sheehy had seven shots. 29-goal regular-season scorer Patrick Russell had five shots.
- Jacobs' goal made him the 12th different Ice skater to score a goal this postseason. The team has 21 total goals. Conway, Sam Kurker, Patrick Newell and Denis Smirnov lead the team with three each. His goal was the third of the 21 to come from a defenseman -- the other two coming off the stick of Matt Roy, both in the Game 2 loss to Green Bay.
- It was the first road loss for the Ice this postseason (3-1). Waterloo is now 5-0 at home in the playoffs. The two teams had virtually identical home and road records in the regular season.
- The Ice lineup and lines were pretty similar to the way the Dubuque series ended.
Patrick Newell-Joe Sullivan-Sam Kurker
Mitch Hults-Tyler Pham-Alex Talcott
Denis Smirnov-Scott Conway-Dwyer Tschantz
Jacob Pritchard-Brian Pinho-Aidan Muir
Austin Kosack-Josh Jacobs
Mike Preston-Matt Roy
Tim Shoup-Ryan Mantha
B: Hayden Stewart
Scratches: F-Tyler Andrew, Jason Salvaggio. D-Chris Martenet, Vince Pedrie.