A three-goal first period propelled the Lincoln Stars out of reach for the rest of the night as the Waterloo Black Hawks suffered an 8-5 home defeat at Young Arena.

Jackson Cates recorded a hat trick for the Black Hawks and three Stars players notched two goals apiece during the scoring barrage.

Lincoln’s lead was established thanks to the exploits of veteran Dominick Mersch. Mersch’s shot from outside the left circle was redirected into the net by Tristan Ashbrook for the game’s first goal at 6:27. Mersch scored himself during a power play, chopping in a shot from the left circle at 14:07. Then shorthanded at 17:06, Mersch sprang Paul Cotter into the Hawks zone on a breakaway; Cotter stickhandled Jared Moe down and slipped the puck across the goal line.

Cates got one goal back before intermission. At 18:44, he stepped across the Lincoln line and lifted a long range wrist shot past Tomas Vomacka.

In the second, the teams exchanged goals twice, with Lincoln reestablishing three goal leads which were subsequently whittled back to two. At 2:11 Josiah Slavin scored on a rebound, flipping a shot past Matej Tomek, on ice in relief of Moe. Cates tied it with his second of the game at 11:59, putting in a low shot from the slot during a power play.

At four skaters per side, Lincoln pounced at 15:20 with Cotter firing a try in off the rush. However, Waterloo answered just 27 seconds later. Cates jabbed the puck free on left wing when Lincoln failed to clear; Ben Copeland dashed from the boards to the front of the net and lifted a shot to the top corner.

In the third, Lincoln made the score 6-3 at 6:57 when Casey Dornbach knocked in his own rebound.

The Stars had the chance to put the game away beginning at 10:44 when they began a full two minutes of five-on-three power play time. Instead, Waterloo got the only goal during the sequence at 11:44. Cates shot a faceoff to center, and Copeland tracked the puck down in the offensive zone. Copeland and Cates combined to generate a shot on goal from the left edge of the crease. Vomacka misplayed the puck trying to start a breakout, leaving a tap-in for Cates to complete his hat trick.

Garrett Wait brought the Hawks within one at 6-5 with 3:11 remaining, converting a Bobby Trivigno pass originating behind the Lincoln net with a low shot from the left wing circle.

However, Ashbrook recorded his second of the night at 18:08 with a partially-stopped chance which rolled over the goal line. Mersch added an empty-netter with 30.6 seconds to go.

Waterloo’s next home game is less than 72 hours away. On Tuesday at 7:05 p.m., the Hawks host the Sioux City Musketeers on 90s Night at Young Arena. It’s a College Night, as well; to order $8 advanced college tickets, call the Domino’s Black Hawks Box Office at (319) 291-7680.

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