The last thing the Indiana Ice wanted was a bus trip back to Waterloo, Iowa to win the Clark Cup.
After out-shooting the Black Hawks 15-2 in the first period to grab a 2-1 lead, the wheels fell off. The West Division champions scored six unanswered goals to send the series back to Waterloo for a decisive game five after a 7-2 victory at Pan Am Pavilion.
After Josh Jacobs and Mitch Hults potted first period goals, Indy had nothing left in the tank. Jacobs gave the hosts a 1-0 advantage when he buried a blast from outside the blue line 2:14 after the opening face- off.
Hults scored in his third consecutive game with a power play goal giving the Ice their last lead before Waterloo took control of the contest. Scott Conway and Denis Smirnov assisted Hults on their last tally of the game.
The visitor’s Tyler Sheehy sandwiched a first period score between the Indiana lamplighters before the Black Hawks seized control in the second period.
Waterloo reversed the one goal deficit into a 3-2 lead on a pair of scores by Zach Sanford. His first came at 3:10 of the middle stanza and the forward added another on a power play at 8:25.
The Black Hawks stepped on Indy’s throat by adding four more in the third period. Tim Lappin, Brandon Montour, Liam Pecararo, and Patrick Russell finished the scoring.
Nothing went well for the Ice after the opening surge. Jason Pawloski had a rare off-night as he started the contest with a postseason best 1.38 goals against average and seven playoff wins. He needed relief help from Hayden Stewart to finish off the evening.
With the series tied at 2-2, Indiana will have to win the cup Tuesday on enemy ice. The Ice rebounded from a similar letdown in a game-one, 4-2 loss to earn a split on the Black Hawks turf with a 3-2 double overtime victory.